I Survived the Attacks of September 11, 2001 is the sixth book in the I Survived series. These books are fantastic for teaching kids about historical events and I especially like to read this one with my students because there are so many questions surrounding this unforgettable event.
One thing I particularly like about this series is that each book begins with a flashback. The main character is in the midst of the traumatic event that is the topic of the book. This makes for a perfect way to grab children’s attention and keep them reading. It’s also a perfect time to teach them about this great literary device. For some of our younger readers, I would recommend reading the first couple of chapters with them and walking them through this event. It can be tricky to understand what is happening since it is not sequential.
The other reason I appreciate these books besides the external problem of the historical event, is that the main character has an internal conflict they are also working to overcome.
This book focuses on one boy named Lucas who is desperately trying to find his family in the aftermath of two planes flying into the World Trade Center buildings. He initially heads into New York City in order to meet with a family friend, Uncle Benny, and talk about his favorite sport, football. Uncle Benny and Lucas’ father are both firemen in the City.
Lucas’ parents have decided not to let him play because it’s too dangerous of a sport. He battles with this idea; not wanting to respect his parents’ wishes, but comes to see that they have decided this because of their love for him.
This book is a great way to introduce the 9/11 attacks to students who are in 3rd through 5th grade. If you have a child who is in 2nd grade, you might consider reading it with them if they have questions about this historical event.
What Parents Need to Know
The I Survived series (there are 19 books in all) can be appreciated for its historical accuracy. The author does a great job captivating children’s attention and showing the emotional state of each event. In this story, Lucas does find himself alone in this devastating situation. However, he receives help from other people that he encounters along the way. The book is optimistic as Lucas is able to reunite with his family. It really shows the great unity our country experienced in the months after this event as people showed their support for one another.
The Attacks of September 11, 2001 also answers the questions of who committed the attacks and the response of our country. I also appreciated her description of the memorial and museum now at the site of the former tower in New York City.
- Discuss the genre of historical fiction. Why does this particular book fall into that category?
- How do you think Lucas felt as he was searching for his family?
- What do you think you would have done in his situation?
- Why did this attack occur? What changes have taken place in our country because of it?
- What is terrorism?
- Discuss the importance of not stereotyping people of a similar religion or ethnic group as someone who has committed a terrorist attack. Just because they have the same beliefs does not mean they agree with the acts that took place.
- What can you do to show support towards others during difficult times?
In the past, I have used this wonderful interactive timeline to show my students all of the events that occurred both before and after the 9/11 attacks. I would recommend previewing it before using it with your own child. It is very powerful:
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