The best books about 9/11 (September 11th attacks) 📚

Browse the best books on September 11th as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of 102 Minutes: The Unforgettable Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers

102 Minutes: The Unforgettable Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers

By Kevin Flynn, Jim Dwyer

Why this book?

102 Minutes chronicles the critical moments of the 9/11 attack on New York’s World Trade Center, introducing us to characters whose survival, as often as not, turn on simple luck-of-location and early decisions made by them. Authors Dwyer and Flynn know that it’s necessary to occasionally “press the pause button” between chapters of stomach-tightening tension. They understand that the reader simply cannot sustain this story’s relentless pace without some relief. (It’s a technique that I borrowed for Killer Show, interspersing “lesson chapters” about the economics of rock tours, the science of pyrotechnics, and developments in burn medicine with the…

From the list:

The best books on disaster & survival that will have your heart pounding

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Book cover of The Eleventh Day: The Full Story of 9/11

The Eleventh Day: The Full Story of 9/11

By Anthony Summers, Robbyn Swan

Why this book?

With this year’s 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, this book, published on the 10th anniversary, is a useful reminder of the events of that day and the subsequent investigations of why it happened.

The civil case against Saudi Arabia for alleged complicity with the 19 hijackers, 15 of whom were Saudi, continues, albeit with little publicity. That is likely to change. Osama bin Laden’s own legal reckoning was less formal of course – the Saudi whose name has become synonymous with terrorism died in a hail of bullets from U.S. Navy SEALs. (I can…

From the list:

The best books to understand modern Saudi Arabia

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Book cover of Branches of Hope: The 9/11 Survivor Tree

Branches of Hope: The 9/11 Survivor Tree

By Ann Magee, Nicole Wong

Why this book?

The true story of the survivor tree—the pear tree that survived the 9/11 attack—is tenderly told by Ann Magee. As a mom of a veteran, it takes me back to that time. After this tragedy, my youngest son enlisted in the National Guard and was eventually deployed. His motivation? “There’s all the more reason now,” he replied. The tree’s resilience represents the strength of our nation and its helpers. This picture book is a beautiful tribute to all first responders and gives us hope for the future.

From the list:

The best hope-filled children’s books

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

I Survived the Attacks of September 11, 2001

By Lauren Tarshis, Scott Dawson

Why 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,…

From the list:

The best books for kids about 9/11

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Book cover of Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story

Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story

By Nora Raleigh Baskin

Why this book?

Nora’s book expands the story of 9/11 by going backward. Set in the days preceding the attacks, the book follows the lives of four boys and girls of varying means and ethnicities scattered around the country, as their seemingly disconnected lives are about to surprisingly intersect on this fateful day. 

I love how the book captures the innocence of that pregnant moment but also how the story focuses on what emerged from that tragedy: empathy, connection, humanity. Unfolding in the shadow of what we know is coming, the book is foreboding without being heavy, works best when kids already have…

From the list:

The best books for kids about 9/11

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Book cover of Just a Drop of Water

Just a Drop of Water

By Kerry O'Malley Cerra

Why this book?

As Nora Baskin’s book takes us backward in time, Kerry moves forward to capture the mood of the country after the attacks, as told through the eyes of a twelve-year-old boy whose best friend becomes the target of anti-Muslim rage. Like Alex in my book, protagonist Jake Green grapples with intense feelings of anger, confusion, and frustration as he tries to figure out how to be a patriot and what it means to be a hero, when everything he thought he understood about how the world should work has been shattered. I struggled with the same things after 9/11—still do,…

From the list:

The best books for kids about 9/11

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