100 books like Ground Zero

By Alan Gratz,

Here are 100 books that Ground Zero fans have personally recommended if you like Ground Zero. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Nine, Ten

By Nora Raleigh Baskin,

Book cover of Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story

Jacqueline Jules Author Of Smoke at the Pentagon: Poems to Remember

From the list on for ages 8 to 12 about September 11th.

Who am I?

I am the author of over fifty books for young readers including the Zapato Power series, the Sofia Martinez series, My Name is Hamburger, Never Say a Mean Word Again, and Tag Your Dreams: Poems of Play and Persistence. On September 11, 2001, I was living in Arlington, Virginia and working as a librarian. Like anyone else who lived through that tragic day, September 11th evokes strong memories for me. Yet I know that subsequent generations have little knowledge of that day, even those who live in Arlington, where the Pentagon is located.  By recognizing the wounds of the past, we can help young readers understand the present. 

Jacqueline's book list on for ages 8 to 12 about September 11th

Why did Jacqueline love this book?

This novel follows four adolescents in the 48 hours preceding September 11, 2001.

The characters are two girls and two boys living in different parts of the United States in very different families. By fully depicting the lives of each character before the world abruptly changed, Baskin shows us how a watershed event changes one’s perspective forever.

My favorite moment comes at the end when a character remembers “that day, a year ago, when nothing else was important to her except fitting in.” Without violence or direct loss to the main characters, Baskin brings home the point that September 11th affected Americans from all across the country.

In the face of tragedy, Baskin shows us how we are all interconnected.

By Nora Raleigh Baskin,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Nine, Ten as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the critically acclaimed author of Anything But Typical comes a "tense...and thought-provoking" (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) look at the days leading up to the tragic events of September 11, 2001, and how that day impacted the lives of four middle schoolers.

Ask anyone: September 11, 2001, was serene and lovely, a perfect day-until a plane struck the World Trade Center.

But right now it is a few days earlier, and four kids in different parts of the country are going about their lives. Sergio, who lives in Brooklyn, is struggling to come to terms with the absentee father he…


This Very Tree

By Sean Rubin,

Book cover of This Very Tree: A Story of 9/11, Resilience, and Regrowth

Jacqueline Jules Author Of Smoke at the Pentagon: Poems to Remember

From the list on for ages 8 to 12 about September 11th.

Who am I?

I am the author of over fifty books for young readers including the Zapato Power series, the Sofia Martinez series, My Name is Hamburger, Never Say a Mean Word Again, and Tag Your Dreams: Poems of Play and Persistence. On September 11, 2001, I was living in Arlington, Virginia and working as a librarian. Like anyone else who lived through that tragic day, September 11th evokes strong memories for me. Yet I know that subsequent generations have little knowledge of that day, even those who live in Arlington, where the Pentagon is located.  By recognizing the wounds of the past, we can help young readers understand the present. 

Jacqueline's book list on for ages 8 to 12 about September 11th

Why did Jacqueline love this book?

The September 11th terrorist attack is a difficult history to introduce.

Picture books can be a good way to start the conversation, especially with 8 and 9-year-olds. In This Very Tree, Sean Rubin broaches the topic through a remarkable Callery pear tree in the Twin Towers plaza which survived the 9-11 terrorist attacks.

Rubin’s poignant artwork conveys both the destruction of that terrible day in New York City and the rebuilding efforts afterwards. Informative and lengthy back matter provides more information to complement the brief illustrated text. This picture book leaves the reader with an ultimately hopeful outlook of resilience and renewal. 

By Sean Rubin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked This Very Tree as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A deeply moving story about community and resilience, from the point-of-view of the Callery pear tree that survived the attacks on September 11, from Eisner Award-nominated author-illustrator Sean Rubin.

* "A resonant, beautifully rendered testament to life and renewal." ―Kirkus, starred review

In the 1970s, nestled between the newly completed Twin Towers in New York City, a Callery pear tree was planted. Over the years, the tree provided shade for people looking for a place to rest and a home for birds, along with the first blooms of spring.

On September 11, 2001, everything changed. The tree’s home was destroyed,…


Book cover of America Is Under Attack: September 11, 2001: The Day the Towers Fell

Jacqueline Jules Author Of Smoke at the Pentagon: Poems to Remember

From the list on for ages 8 to 12 about September 11th.

Who am I?

I am the author of over fifty books for young readers including the Zapato Power series, the Sofia Martinez series, My Name is Hamburger, Never Say a Mean Word Again, and Tag Your Dreams: Poems of Play and Persistence. On September 11, 2001, I was living in Arlington, Virginia and working as a librarian. Like anyone else who lived through that tragic day, September 11th evokes strong memories for me. Yet I know that subsequent generations have little knowledge of that day, even those who live in Arlington, where the Pentagon is located.  By recognizing the wounds of the past, we can help young readers understand the present. 

Jacqueline's book list on for ages 8 to 12 about September 11th

Why did Jacqueline love this book?

This nonfiction picture book is a straightforward account of what happened on September 11, 2001. Students desiring information for a report or personal knowledge will find an excellent chronological overview.

Illustrations depict the events with muted colors in a tasteful, not graphic manner. Readers are introduced to the stories of individuals who survived the collapse of the Twin Towers and those who did not. Direct quotes from eyewitnesses and first responders provide an immediacy in the retelling of events.

Presented as one long narrative, the compelling text invites the reader to read the full story without interruption.

By Don Brown,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked America Is Under Attack as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of School Library Journal's Best Nonfiction Books of 2011One of Horn Book's Best Nonfiction Books of 2011

On the ten year anniversary of the September 11 tragedy, a straightforward and sensitive book for a generation of readers too young to remember that terrible day.

The events of September 11, 2001 changed the world forever. In the fourth installment of the Actual Times series, Don Brown narrates the events of the day in a way that is both accessible and understandable for young readers. Straightforward and honest, this account moves chronologically through the morning, from the terrorist plane hijackings to…


Towers Falling

By Jewell Parker Rhodes,

Book cover of Towers Falling

Jacqueline Jules Author Of Smoke at the Pentagon: Poems to Remember

From the list on for ages 8 to 12 about September 11th.

Who am I?

I am the author of over fifty books for young readers including the Zapato Power series, the Sofia Martinez series, My Name is Hamburger, Never Say a Mean Word Again, and Tag Your Dreams: Poems of Play and Persistence. On September 11, 2001, I was living in Arlington, Virginia and working as a librarian. Like anyone else who lived through that tragic day, September 11th evokes strong memories for me. Yet I know that subsequent generations have little knowledge of that day, even those who live in Arlington, where the Pentagon is located.  By recognizing the wounds of the past, we can help young readers understand the present. 

Jacqueline's book list on for ages 8 to 12 about September 11th

Why did Jacqueline love this book?

Towers Falling takes place in New York City fifteen years after the terrorist attacks.

Fifth grader Deja has no idea what happened in 2001 or the impact it has had on the present. When her teacher begins a unit on September 11th, Deja’s father becomes angry. He doesn’t want Deja to know what happened to the Twin Towers. With the help of classmates, Deja unravels the history of her city and her family.

The perspective of a child learning about the September 11th attacks from the distance of time is made all the more powerful by Deja’s personal circumstances, living in a homeless shelter with an ailing father. This is a poignant story with a strong main character learning to live with the past and move forward. 

By Jewell Parker Rhodes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Towers Falling as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When her fifth-grade teacher hints that a series of lessons about home and community will culminate with one big answer about two tall towers once visible outside their classroom window, Deja can't help but feel confused. She sets off on a journey of discovery, with new friends Ben and Sabeen by her side. But just as she gets closer to answering big questions about who she is, what America means, and how communities can grow (and heal), she uncovers new questions, too. Like, why does Pop get so angry when she brings up anything about the towers?

Award-winning author Jewell…


Severance

By Ling Ma,

Book cover of Severance

Joe Milan Jr. Author Of The All-American

From the list on coming-of-age while Asian.

Who am I?

The heights of American literature are crowded with coming-of-age tales like Huckleberry Finn and Catcher and the Rye. It’s probably because for us, as Americans, figuring out what it means to be American is something that isn’t as clear as what it means to be from another country with thousands of years of existence behind it. Yet, the stories I was given rarely had people who looked like me (Asian) or lived lives that weren’t solely defined as being “foreign.” These books tell coming-of-age stories in different ways that I wish I had read when I was coming up to broaden my own mind with what was possible.

Joe's book list on coming-of-age while Asian

Why did Joe love this book?

A child of immigrants 20-something professional selling bibles, Severance is about Cadence Chen’s story of completing her early career job during a pandemic before setting off into the dystopian horror of society’s collapse.

Severance is a satire everyone needs to read after our own worldwide pandemic.

It’s funny: the prologue starts the band of survivors that Candence joins learning to start campfires in the wilderness from youtube and how to shoot. It parodies our materialistic culture that treats occupations like destinies and shares the feeling of estrangement many of us children of immigrants feel too.

It’s a maturation story with a different flavor: coming of age out of the material sensibilities that sometimes overwhelm our own good sense.

By Ling Ma,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Severance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Maybe it’s the end of the world, but not for Candace Chen, a millennial, first-generation American and office drone meandering her way into adulthood in Ling Ma’s offbeat, wryly funny, apocalyptic satire, Severance.

"A stunning, audacious book with a fresh take on both office politics and what the apocalypse might bring." ―Michael Schaub, NPR.org

“A satirical spin on the end times-- kind of like The Office meets The Leftovers.” --Estelle Tang, Elle

NAMED A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY: NPR * The New Yorker ("Books We Loved") * Elle * Marie Claire * Amazon Editors * The Paris Review…


Hawk

By James Patterson,

Book cover of Hawk

Scott W. Kimak Author Of I call him HIM

From the list on a post-apocalyptic world.

Who am I?

I remember finding an old Edgar Rice Burroughs book on my grandfather’s bookshelf when I was nine years old. I opened the pages and started to read. From that moment, I was hooked on anything that had to do with fictional worlds. Books became my passion, gobbling them up by the hundreds. Also, attending a private Catholic elementary school, I constantly heard the tales of Revelations and the End Times. These two reasons instilled in me a passion for post-apocalyptic books and led me to write in the same genre. I hope you enjoy these books on the list as much as I have!

Scott's book list on a post-apocalyptic world

Why did Scott love this book?

The new version of Maximum Ride is fantastic!! I ate this book up in one weekend. I haven't read like this since I read the Maximum Ride series. I think there were some parallels drawn from real life into the book. With everything over the last few years, a lot of things seem hopeless and lost, just like in Hawk. I can’t wait for the next book!

By James Patterson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hawk as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Maximum Ride lost her fight to save the world. But from the ashes of the old world, a phoenix has risen... she calls herself Hawk.

Hawk doesn't know her real name. She doesn't know who her parents were, or where they went. The only thing she remembers is that they told to wait on a street corner until they came back for her.

That was ten years ago.

The day that she finally gives up waiting is the moment her life changes for ever. Because the promise becomes reality: someone is coming for her.

But it's not a rescue. It's…


Enclave

By Ann Aguirre,

Book cover of Enclave

Michael Poeltl Author Of The Judas Syndrome

From the list on apocalyptic.

Who am I?

Apocalyptic fiction is my go-to genre and a theme that got me started in my own writing. I love the human stories of struggle in an aftermath that encompasses the world. There is truth in apocalyptic fiction – and a warning to us all. I've been writing since I was a child, creating stories and comics of my own, binding them and circulating them to family and friends. I went to school for visual arts, where I thought my passion was taking me, but returned to writing as my main creative outlet. As of 2022, I've 14 books published. Creativity keeps me sane, and without it I'm not me.

Michael's book list on apocalyptic

Why did Michael love this book?

This book has a unique take on the apocalyptic genre and the interest the story and characters offered.

In old New York, living in the tunnels of the ancient subway system, the book documents what might happen to those left to fend for themselves in a city whose social and political construct collapsed due to a violent strain of some virus. (Sound familiar?)

The way the female lead, Deuce, discovers this new world where the sun is a threat and the wide-open spaces, claustrophobic, is a testament to the way the author captured the character’s innocence. Aguirre expertly relates Deuce’s apprehension when discovering anything could be different from the darkness she’d grown up in.

By Ann Aguirre,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Enclave as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ann Aguirre's thrilling young adult novel Enclave is the story of two young people in an apocalyptic world--facing dangers, and feelings, unlike any they've ever known.

New York City has been decimated by war and plague, and most of civilization has migrated to underground enclaves, where life expectancy is no more than the early 20's. When Deuce turns 15, she takes on her role as a Huntress, and is paired with Fade, a teenage Hunter who lived Topside as a young boy. When she and Fade discover that the neighboring enclave has been decimated by the tunnel monsters--or Freaks--who seem…


Peak

By Roland Smith,

Book cover of Peak

Terry Lynn Johnson Author Of Ice Dogs

From the list on featuring an adventurous journey.

Who am I?

I’ve spent my life journey so far in the outdoors of northern Ontario, Canada. Before I became a conservation officer, I worked for twelve years in a wilderness park as a canoe ranger. I also had eighteen sled dogs and taught dogsledding and winter survival. I’ve always been drawn to reading adventure stories, so when I finally became an author (in my forties. It’s never too late), I naturally wrote the kind of books that I grew up reading. Now I love that I get to share my passions with readers.  I hope you find some books of interest on this list and join me on a journey into a new adventure.

Terry's book list on featuring an adventurous journey

Why did Terry love this book?

Peak is a climbing addict in trouble with the law. But he gets to join his estranged father on an expedition to climb Mount Everest. The catch is that his dad just wants to use Peak as a promotion for his climbing company. Peak has to navigate complex relationships, all while trying not to die. I loved the adventure, but also the window into why so many risk it all to reach the top.

By Roland Smith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Peak as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

After Peak Marcello is arrested for scaling a New York City skyscraper, he's left with two choices: wither away in juvenile detention or go live with his long-lost father, who runs a climbing company in Thailand. But Peak quickly learns that his father's renewed interest in him has strings attached. Big strings: He wants Peak to be the youngest person to reach the Everest summit - and his motives are selfish at best. Even so, for a climbing addict like Peak, tackling Everest is the challenge of a lifetime. It's also one that could cost him his life.Roland Smith has…


These Broken Stars

By Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner,

Book cover of These Broken Stars

Nichole Giles Author Of Water So Deep

From the list on YA fantasy you should have read ten years ago.

Who am I?

I’m an author of Young Adult Fantasy fiction. When my oldest was six, I started reading Harry Potter to him. It was such a bonding experience that we both cherish. We still talk about the stories, even though he's all grown up and lives away from me most of the time. The thing about fantasy is that stories set in worlds or with people that don’t actually exist make it easier for us to swallow deep meanings, storylines with which we can identify, and that crawl deep down into our souls and nest there. It’s not just about escaping into a fantasy world, but about finding human experience in otherworldly situations and characters. 

Nichole's book list on YA fantasy you should have read ten years ago

Why did Nichole love this book?

You know that question about being stranded on a desert island with only one other person and a spaceship? Oh, wait. I think that’s supposed to be a sunken ship. This story has a bit of a similar feel, only instead of an island, it’s a deserted planet, and no one is coming to save Lilac and Tarver—so they have to save themselves instead. This one is a good mix of the rich-girl/poor-boy dynamic, (think Pretty in Pink, flip-flopped) with a hint of mystery, all in the style of Survivor. The depth of feeling is strong in this one.  

By Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked These Broken Stars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"One of the most intense, thrilling, and achingly beautiful stories I've ever read."--Marie Lu, New York Times best-selling author of the Legend trilogy

The first in the New York Times bestselling author duo Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner's sweeping science fiction trilogy, These Broken Stars is a timeless love story about hope and survival in the face of unthinkable odds.

It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen are the only survivors. 

Lilac is the…


I Survived the Attacks of September 11, 2001

By Lauren Tarshis, Scott Dawson (illustrator),

Book cover of I Survived the Attacks of September 11, 2001

Tom Rogers Author Of Eleven

From the list on books for kids about 9/11.

Who am I?

I’m a screenwriter and novelist who loves writing stories for kids! (And long-suffering parents.) I mostly write and produce animated movies and TV shows, am currently executive producer of The Chicken Squad for Disney, and won an Emmy® Award for children’s TV writing in 2020. A few years ago, my nephew stopped me in my tracks with a question: “Uncle T, what’s the big deal about 9/11?” His confusion opened my eyes to the fact that many schools don’t teach about this momentous event. “Never forget” has been our national refrain, but how will future generations remember if we don’t tell them the story? 

Tom's book list on books for kids about 9/11

Why did Tom love this book?

For those of us who lived through 9/11, it’s easy to forget that kids in school today weren’t even born in 2001; to them, the events of 9/11 are ancient history. I Survived is the kind of book that can jump-start their interest by dropping them right into the thick of the events of that day. Lucas is a football-obsessed teen who makes a series of completely relatable bad decisions that leave him right at Ground Zero just as the planes hit the towers. Told in age-appropriate but heart-stopping detail, this book captures a perfect snapshot of the confusion, fear, heroism, and resolve on display that extraordinary day. 

By Lauren Tarshis, Scott Dawson (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Survived the Attacks of September 11, 2001 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On the day that shocks the world, one boy just wants to find his family. A powerful addition to the gripping I Survived series.

The only thing Lucas loves more than football is his Uncle Benny, his dad's best friend at the fire department where they both work. Benny taught Lucas everything about football. So when Lucas's parents decide the sport is too dangerous and he needs to quit, Lucas has to talk to his biggest fan.So the next morning, Lucas takes the train to the city instead of the bus to school. It's a bright, beautiful day in New…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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