A few weeks ago, I wrote here about wanting to read some of the latest young adult fiction coming out about 9/11 in order to frame conversations with my students and my youngest son. I have started with this one — Nine,Ten: A September 11 Story by Nora Raleigh Baskin. I’m glad I did. It’s the perfect kind of story — weaving together the fictional lives of four young people whose world was touched by the 9/11 attack.
There is a moment at the end of this story, where the characters’ stories finally connect (sort of like the movie Crash in this way) that had my eyes watering and my heart pounding. I won’t give the moment away. I’ll just say that Baskin ups her game with the ending here, bringing her story to a close that not only makes sense, but also creates a large understanding of the world … and the tapestry of ourselves.
Her writing style is engaging in this novel, and compassionate. Each of the four characters is facing different dilemmas and challenges — from being Muslim in America to losing a family member who acted heroic to coming to grips with changes in the family and school. I believed in these characters, and how the 9/11 event slowly draws them together. What more could you ask for a novel aimed at upper elementary and middle school readers? For a story for those readers born after the event?
When I was through with Nine,Ten: A September 11 Story, I continued to believe in the goodness of people, even in the long shadow of horrific tragedy. That’s a gift that only a book can give.
Peace (threads come together),