Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story by Nora Raleigh Baskin captures the days before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 for four very different children: a girl whose mother travels to New York, a Muslim girl, a boy who lives in New York, and a boy who lives Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Two days before, all four children’s paths cross as they wait for their airplane in Chicago, and their paths cross once more when they all attend the Ground Zero memorial in New York City the following year, September 11, 2002.Continue Reading
Saved by the Boats by Julie Gassman is a picture book about September 11, 2001 and the ways the boats in New York Harbor came to the rescue of thousands of stranded New Yorkers. For me the most striking aspect of this book is the illustrations, as they so nicely capture the sense of togetherness that occurred during the tragedy.Continue Reading
Nest by Esther Ehrlich (Random House Children’s Books; published today!) is an emotionally charged novel about a young girl facing stark change after her mother develops a serious disease. Naomi, “Chirp” to her family and friends, is a bird-loving sixth grader on Cape Cod in the early 1970s. Her life is full of nature and her loving family. As her family struggles with her mother’s degenerative condition, she must grow up faster than she intended. Continue Reading
The stories of Elizabeth Smart and Stephanie Nielson are not that similar. Yes, both had a hard year that they wrote about in a memoir, and both are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). But there the similarities end.
Elizabeth Smart was abducted from her bed at knife point as a 14 year old and raped repeatedly before being reunited with her family 9 months later; Stephanie Nielson is a mother who was burned on over 80% of her body, and yet lived to experience the pain and joy of rejoining the world afterwards.
But despite the differences in their stories, both memoirs celebrate the strength of the human spirit to overcome adversity. Reading the two books at this time of year seems just right. It’s helped me appreciate the blessings I do have and to prepare myself to enjoy this next year of my life as well as I can. The human spirit is strong in the face of adversity.
After all, a lot can happen in one year.Continue Reading