Rhodes, Jewell Parker Towers Falling, 223 pages. Little Brown, 2016. $17. Language: G; Mature Content: G; Violence: PG (talks about the people in the towers jumping to escape the fires).
What happened on September 11, 2001? Deja, a fifth grader, has no idea, because she wasn’t born yet, and all she cares about is trying to keep her family together as they move from place to place, ending up now it a homeless family shelter. Her new school is kind of weird; everyone is nice enough, but the classwork seems to be skirting around a bigger issue. Deja is befriended by two classmates, whether she wants to be or not, and with their help she learns what the big secret is and finally learns how this secret has been affecting her own family.
What a great way to introduce students to the events and the bigger issues of 9/11. If you teach elementary school, you should read this before deciding to read it to your students or not, if just because you should decide your own thoughts when it comes to the kids watching the videos of the towers on fire and the people jumping. While Rhodes very carefully made the descriptions more factual than graphic, it is still a bitter sight to read about. As a slightly older student, I would be fascinated.
EL – OPTIONAL; MS – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher