Thursday, July 21, 2016

Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes

ARC, 227  pages
Release Date: July 12, 2016
Published by: Little, Brown BYFR
Read from: July 18-21, 2016
Source: TLA 2016
For fans of: Historical Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Children's, Diverse Reads, #OwnVoices, Contemporary, DEAR, 

     From award-winning author Jewell Parker Rhodes, a powerful novel set fifteen years after the 9/11 attacks.
     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 Parker Rhodes tells a powerful story about young people who weren't alive to witness this defining moment in history, but begin to realize how much it colors their every day.


     When I first heard about this book I was mostly interested in it because to me, September 11, 2001 doesn't seem like history. I was in seventh grade and able to watch the live reportings as they happened. I never even thought about children who were not alive when it happened and what they might have to learn about it. This book takes a closer look at all of that. As a future librarian, I can definitely see myself recommending this to teacher and students alike.
"Sappy like syrup. [...] Better than sour."
pg. 20
     Deja and her two friends, Ben and Sabeen, have gotten a strange series of assignments from their teacher. It talks about home and then goes on to talk about Americans in general and so on. When Deja is forced to ask her family questions, it brings up events that her father doesn't want to talk about. Together Deja, Ben, and Sabeen complete the project and find out more about themselves and America.
"Before I was born is ancient history. It's enough figuring out now. Who cares?"
pg. 34
      September 11th is a touchy subject. It's something that not many people have had the courage to write about, so I'm very glad that Rhodes did. (Especially with the 15th anniversary coming up, this event deserved to be talked about.) And to do it in the manner she did makes this story even better. She went over the "lessons" that they should have covered first instead of attacking it head on. It helps that she gave a bit of an introduction before going into the meat of the subject. This will mostly help the students who may not have any idea that this happened.
"Family makes home."
pg. 63
     Also, as someone that is not the biggest fan of historical fiction, I really enjoyed this book. Maybe because I don't consider it history so much because I lived through it, but still I really enjoyed it. I tried reading it as someone Deja's age who probably knew nothing about the situation before it came up in their lessons. By trying to read it from this point of view I still felt like I was learning alongside them, This shows me that this book would make a perfect companion to anything about 9/11 being taught in public schools. This book is ideal for teachers and librarians looking to give a little more insight on the subject of 9/11.
"American circle. [...] Different but still American."
pg. 88
     Having lived through it (even only through television) this was a hard subject to read about. Even fifteen years after the fact, I still remember exactly what I was doing, where I was, and how scared I felt. Although history wasn't my favorite subject, it's always interesting to say you lived through it and watch others learn about it.
Overall, I give this 


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