In this episode, award-winning author Alan Gratz discusses the 9/11 attacks and the complicated fallout in the United States and abroad after that fateful day. Alan’s latest book, Ground Zero: A Novel of 9/11, helps young readers understand what it was like to be in Lower Manhattan when two airplanes struck the Twin Towers, and how the attacks led to a 20-year war in Afghanistan.
Ground Zero features nine-year-old Brandon, who finds himself in an elevator in the North Tower when an explosion jolts him and the other passengers sideways. His father is working at Windows on the World, a restaurant that occupies one of the top floors of the building.
The novel also introduces readers to Reshmina, an 11-year-old Afghan girl who, in 2019, is living with her family in a remote, mountainous region of the country, where U.S. and Afghan National Army soldiers are battling the Taliban.
“Afghans did not do this attack,” Reshmina says to a U.S. soldier when he recalls 9/11. “You are seeking revenge against the wrong people.”
In Ground Zero, Alan deftly explores the parallels between Brandon and Reshmina’s lives, and shows why we, as a country, need to ask tough questions about our actions, both past and present. Alan is the New York Times best-selling author of Refugee, Allies, and Code of Honor, among several other titles.
Meet Alan Gratz: In his latest middle-grade novel, the best-selling author of 17 titles for young readers spotlights the September 11 attacks.
Encountering History: In this webinar, Scholastic Magazines+ editors and a classroom teacher offer ways to address the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks with upper-elementary students.
Resources for Teaching 9/11 for Grades 3 - 12: Articles, videos, and lesson plans from the editors of Scholastic Magazines+ help teachers discuss the 9/11 attacks in the classroom.
Anniversary in the Schools Webinar: Join students and teachers from around the world to commemorate the 20th anniversary of 9/11 by registering for the 9/11 Memorial & Museum’s free Anniversary in the Schools program.
“Empty Sky”: Read a 2011 essay recalling the 9/11 attacks in Lower Manhattan by Scholastic Reads host Suzanne McCabe.
Producer: Bridget Benjamin
Associate producer: Constance Gibbs
Sound engineer: Daniel Jordan
Music composer: Lucas Elliot Eberl
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