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Writing for Children: Talking About 9/11

The terrorist attacks on September 11 shocked even the most worldly adults. But for parents, trying to explain the crime to children has been particularly hard. Brian Mann found that many new books for young people are addressing tough, painful issues. But even the best children's writers say this crisis will be a daunting story to tell.
Listen to story. (6:12)

For families looking for children's books that might address some of the anxieties since Sept. 11, kids authors suggest the following titles. Parents should review the books first for age-appropriateness. Also, given the subject matter, parents are encouraged to read the books with their children. The following selections are generally suitable for older children and young adults.

  • The Giver, Lois Lowry (1994 Newbery Medal Winner)
  • Number The Stars, Lois Lowry (1990 Newbery Medal Winner)
  • A Summer To Die, Lois Lowry
  • Habibi, Naomi Shihab Nye
  • Bridge to Terabithia,Katherine Paterson
  • Sacajawea, Joseph Bruchac
  • The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963, Christopher Paul Curtis
  • Dragon's Gate, by Laurence Yep

For a more extensive reading list, visit the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators website.
Gary Bowen's woodcuts— handcarved in blocks of pear wood—bring alive intimate moments in American history.

Modern children's authors use words and images to put kids in the midst of other lives and other times. A study from Gary Bowen's illustrated book Stranded at Plimoth Plantation 1626.


Lois Lowry's Number The Stars won the 1990 Newbery Medal. It's a striking example of a new children's literature that addresses tougher, grittier topics.