7 Books for Kids About 9/11: Helping Children Understand This Historical Event

9/11 children's books

Looking back at our past is important for young people because it helps them understand where we come from and how events have shaped the world today. Learning history gives them a sense of identity, awareness, and critical thinking skills. It also helps them learn about the good and bad times society has faced, fostering empathy and understanding.

Why is this important? Young people can learn valuable lessons from history, seeing both the successes and mistakes made by those before them. This knowledge helps them make better decisions and become more thoughtful citizens. A study by the UCLA History Public History Initiative found that students who read historical texts develop stronger analytical skills and a deeper appreciation for their civic duties.

One of the most remembered events in recent history is the September 11 attacks, or 9/11. Understanding this event is crucial for young readers because it had a huge impact on the world, affecting politics, security, and social dynamics. Many stories for young adults and children have been created to remember this event, making it easier for younger generations to learn about this important moment in history.

What Was the 9/11 Event?

The 9/11 event refers to terrorist attacks carried out by the extremist group al-Qaeda on September 11, 2001. On this tragic morning, 19 terrorists hijacked four commercial airplanes. Two of the planes were flown into the North and South Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, causing the towers to collapse within hours. A third plane hit the Pentagon, the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense, in Arlington, Virginia. The fourth plane, United Airlines Flight 93, was headed towards Washington, D.C., but crashed into a field in Pennsylvania after passengers tried to take control from the hijackers.

The term “9/11” comes from the date of the attacks, September 11. This event is very important because it had a huge impact on the world. Nearly 3,000 lives were lost, and it led to major changes in security policies both in the U.S. and around the world. The attacks also led to the War on Terror, which included military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Stories about 9/11 are created to help us remember the victims, honor the heroes, and understand the wider effects of the attacks. These stories teach young readers about resilience, unity, and the importance of being vigilant and compassionate during tough times.

Teaching Through Stories: 7 Best Books About 9/11 for Young Readers

Helping children understand important past events can be challenging, but creative storytelling makes it easier. Here are seven popular and engaging books about 9/11 that teach kids about the event through captivating stories:

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

This book is about a pear tree planted between the Twin Towers in the 1970s. After surviving the 9/11 attacks, it was found under the rubble and nursed back to health. The “Survivor Tree” was replanted at its original site and became a symbol of hope and resilience. The story gently introduces young readers to the events of 9/11 and shows how something beautiful can grow from a tragedy.


This Very Tree
Preview from the book, This Very Tree

2. Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey by Maira Kalman

The John J. Harvey was an old fireboat that had retired from service. But on September 11, 2001, it was brought back into action to help fight fires at the World Trade Center. This true story demonstrates how ordinary people can do extraordinary things in times of crisis. It highlights bravery, teamwork, and the spirit of helping others.


fireboat 9/11 book

3. Saved by the Boats by Julie Gassman and Steve Moors

This book tells the true story of the largest sea evacuation in history. On 9/11, nearly 500,000 people were evacuated from Manhattan by a fleet of civilian boats. Organized by regular people, this operation showed incredible bravery and solidarity. The story emphasizes hope, compassion, and how people can come together to help one another during tough times.

4. 14 Cows for America by Carmen Agra Deedy and Thomas Gonzalez

After the 9/11 attacks, the Maasai tribe in Kenya sent 14 cows to America as a gesture of friendship and condolence. This touching story shows how different communities across the world came together to support each other. It teaches children about kindness, empathy, and the power of global friendship.

5. The Red Bandanna by Tom Rinaldi

This book tells the story of Wells Crowther, a young man who worked on the 104th floor of the World Trade Center. During the attacks, he chose to stay behind and help others escape, saving many lives but losing his own. He was identified by the red bandanna he wore. Wells’ story is one of heroism, bravery, and selflessness. It reminds young readers of the impact one person can have.

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

This novel follows four different children from various backgrounds in the days leading up to September 11, 2001. Their lives intersect in unexpected ways, providing multiple perspectives on the impact of the attacks. The story teaches empathy, understanding, and how interconnected our lives can be. It helps young readers grasp the wide-reaching effects of such an important event.

7. I Survived the Attacks of September 11 by Lauren Tarshis

Part of the popular “I Survived” series, this book focuses on a young boy named Lucas who experiences the events of 9/11 firsthand. Through his eyes, readers get a sense of the chaos and bravery of that day. The story is a compelling way for children to understand what happened and learn about the resilience and courage shown by many people during the attacks.

The Value of 9/11 Children’s Books 

Reading books about 9/11 is a great way for kids to learn about history and improve their reading skills at the same time. These stories make a complicated event easier to understand and relate to, helping children develop empathy and a deeper understanding of the world.

These books also help kids improve their vocabulary, critical thinking, and comprehension skills. As they read about bravery, resilience, and unity, they learn how to process information and see the connections between past events and today’s world.

Using 9/11 children’s books in reading lists is a smart way to teach young readers about an important moment in history while boosting their literacy. Through these engaging stories, kids not only gain important knowledge but also develop the skills they need to think critically and participate thoughtfully in society.