Among the many memorials to mark the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11, is a new wave of novels aimed at readers who were either too young to remember the events, or were born since they took place.
In a feature on the trend, the NYT reports “the first major wave of children’s literature that explicitly deals with the terrorist attacks” is now forthcoming. “The stories range from tame middle-grade novels for 8- to 12-year-olds, which center on the tragedy but keep the horror mostly at a distance, to young-adult novels with unflinching descriptions of the mayhem and bloodshed that unfolded as the towers burned and fell.”
It has taken so long to see a concentrated group of titles, writes the the NYT‘s publishing reporter, Alexandra Alter, because editors and publishers have been too jittery to publish books set during that era, fearing the material would be overly traumatic for readers or seem exploitative.
Authors, worried that teens have no clear idea of what actually happened and that they themselves were becoming too removed from the events to write about them with truth and power, pushed back against those concerns, reports the NYT, quoting one author as saying of the 10 editors who rejected her novel for fear it was too raw and painful that “they’re not the audience for the book, and the teens that are going to be reading this book are not going to have that visceral reaction.”
The story highlights a number of titles:
All We Have Left, Wendy Mills (Macmillan/Bloomsbury USA Childrens; OverDrive Sample).
Love Is the Higher Law, David Levithan (PRH/Knopf Books for Young Readers; OverDrive Sample). An early outlier from 2009.
Somewhere Among, Annie Donwerth-Chikamatsu, illustrated by Sonia Chaghatzbanian (S&S/Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books; OverDrive Sample).
Towers Falling, Jewell Parker Rhodes (Hachette/Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample).
Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story, Nora Raleigh Baskin (S&S/Atheneum Books for Young Readers; OverDrive Sample).
The Memory of Things, Gae Polisner (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Griffin; OverDrive Sample).
The Christian Science Monitor has a similar story, offering annotations of some of the titles.