14 Best Books About 9/11 Update 05/2022

The Library invites you to join us in commemorating the anniversary of September 11, 2001. A remembrance of our recent history is a time for many New Yorkers to teach and discuss our past with readers who have not yet come of age. There are many methods to address 9/11 with children and teenagers, both in the classroom and at home, as seen by the book discussion, recommendations, and resources listed below.

Three authors, Gae Polisner, Nora Raleigh Baskin, and Shauntee Burns-Simpson, Associate Director of School Support at the Library of Congress, discussed their novels for children and young people on the events of September 11, 2001, on the 20th anniversary of that day. For younger readers who are interested in learning more about the events of September 11, 2001, here are some additional books in addition to those already mentioned.


America Is Under Attack: September 11, 2001: The Day the Towers Fell by Don Brown

Insightful and heartfelt recounting of the events of September 11, 2001. This illustrated nonfiction book gives information about the attacks, the recovery, and the first responders in a thoughtful and approachable way for children ages 8 and up.

Saved by the Boats: The Heroic Sea Evacuation of September 11 by Julie Gassman, illustrated by Steve Moors

On September 11, 2001, courageous boat captains and crews saved the lives of thousands of people by rescuing them from the burning buildings. An easy-to-understand introduction to the events of September 11, 2001, as well as a story of hope and humanity for young readers.

This Very Tree: A Story of 9/11, Resilience, and Regrowth by Sean Rubin

The narrative of a tree that survived the 9/11 attacks and became a symbol of light and hope is portrayed in a sympathetic manner from the perspective of the tree. Introduction to 9/11 and the World Trade Center is included. Suitable for youngsters aged 5 to 7 years.

What Were the Twin Towers? by Jim O’Connor

The Twin Towers’ construction and the events of September 11, 2001, are covered in this beginner’s guide. Children ages 8 and older are recommended.


Branches of Hope: The 9/11 Survivor Tree by Ann Magee, illustrated by Nicole Wong

The account of the day itself, the rescue efforts, the memorials, and the survival tree are all told from the perspective of a family of firemen. Suitable for youngsters aged 5 to 7 years.

Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Deja, a fifth-grader, has relocated to Brooklyn and begun a new school. The first time Deja’s teacher introduces a lesson on the events of September 11, 2001, she realizes how little she actually knows. After meeting a new group of students at school, she embarks on a journey to discover more about the events of September 11, 2001. Recommended for those between the ages of nine and twelve.

Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story by Nora Raleigh Baskin

This is the narrative of how children in various sections of the United States reacted to the events of September 11, 2001. After coping with the loss of a parent in Ohio, California, Pennsylvania, and New York City, four middle schoolers set out on September 10 with a heavy burden of their own. In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, they have no idea that they will all come together as their families and towns are touched. Recommendation: 9–12 years old

The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner

16-year-old Kyle Donohue was awakened by the crash of the first tower on September 11, 2001. While running to safety, he encounters an unconscious girl coated in ash. Ages 12 and up recommended.

I Survived the Attacks of September 11, 2001 by Lauren Tarshis

Younger readers will be drawn into this fast-paced novel about a boy’s search for his missing father and his firefighter “uncle” after the September 11th attacks on New York City. Recommendation: 9–12 years old

Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11

Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster

After years of research and interviews with approximately 500 government officials, first responders, witnesses, survivors, friends, and family members, Graff’s oral history has been widely acclaimed and is a New York Times best-seller.. “A 360-degree overview of the day told through firsthand” is the goal of the nonfiction work.

The Rise and Fall of Osama bin Laden by Peter Bergen (Simon & Schuster)

At the time of the 9/11 attacks in 2001, little was known about their mastermind, Osama bin Laden of al Qaeda. Bergen had met and interviewed bin Laden for television in 1997. “The key question regarding bin Laden is,” Bergen says, “Why did he form an organisation dedicated to the mass murders of civilians?” There was no single event that converted bin Laden from the shy scion of one of the richest families in West Asia into the architect of the 9/11 attacks, says Bergen. Since his adolescent years as a religious fanatic, al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has been gradually radicalized. On his own, Bergen presents an assessment of al-founder Qaeda’s and the man who sparked the United States’ long-running conflicts with al-Qaeda and its offspring.

Ghost Wars and Directorate S by Steve Coll (Penguin):

During his time as managing editor of the Washington Post, Coll published a book about the CIA’s involvement in covert operations in Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989, which led to the rise of Islamic militancy and the Taliban as well as al Qaeda. There were numerous attempts to arrest or kill Osama bin Laden after 1998 by CIA officers, agents, and contractors. Many questions are raised, including: how well did American intelligence officials understand the threat posed by Islamic radicalism prior to September 11th, and why did those efforts fail? This year, he published Directorate S, a follow-up to his 2004 bestseller, which details the U.S. government’s counterterrorist operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan since September 11th, 2001.

The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright (Penguin):

Spreading it out over five decades, Wright, a staff writer for TheNew Yorker, examines in detail the emergence of Islamic fundamentalism, the rise of al-Qaeda, and the intelligence errors that resulted in the attacks on the World Trade Center. He narrates the story by tracking the lives of four men: two leaders of al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri; the FBI’s counterterrorism chief, John O’Neill; and the former head of Saudi intelligence, Prince Turki al-Faisal. O’Neill, he says, had detected the developing menace from al Qaeda in the 1990s but struggled to track this new threat. “The most alarming feature of this new threat,” he says in the prologue, “was the fact that almost no one took it seriously.”

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