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In recognition of the 20-year anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, we've compiled a list of books that tackle the dark day in American history.

Here are a few librarian-recommended titles on the topic, including several for kids to help them understand in age-appropriate ways.

Book River
Book River Items

The Only Plane in the Sky : an Oral History of 9/11 (2019)

by Garrett M Graff

This heartwrenching nonfiction book contains first-person accounts of 9/11 from first responders, survivors, government officials, airline employees, the media and others. I recommend the audiobook version since this is an oral history that contains interviews, voicemails and quotes. I learned a lot and relived my own memories of that day while listening to this moving, well-researched book. — Allison Riggs, Teen Librarian

In the Shadow of the Fallen Towers : the Seconds, Minutes, Hours, Days, Weeks, Months, and Years After the 9/11 Attacks (2021)

by Don Brown

This nonfiction graphic novel informs the reader not only of the events of the day of 9/11, but the devestating aftermath. This powerful book is a good choice for teens and adults who want to learn more about that part of American history. — Allison Riggs, Teen Librarian

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2005)

by Jonathan Safran Foer

After the devastating loss of his father in the World Trade Center attacks, nine-year-old Oskar goes on a quest to find a lock that fits a mysterious key found in his father's belongings. His search brings experiences and knowledge that proves to be more cathartic than he could have ever imagined. — Emily Vinci, Fiction Manager

Doxology (2019)

by Nell Zink

As the 1990s draw to a close, friends in an unsuccessful punk band Pam, Daniel, and Joe face unexpected, happy surprises, one of which is a daughter for Pam and Daniel. We follow their daughter, Flora, as she comes of age in the aftermath of September 11, growing up in a charged political climate and uncertain future. — Emily Vinci, Fiction Manager

United 93 (2006)

by Universal Pictures

On Sept. 11, 2001, a group of terrorists took control of United Airlines Flight 93. This powerful film presents viewers with a clear timeline of events from the boarding the plane to its tragic end. At times it is hard to watch but it is important to recognize the heroic efforts of passengers and crew to reclaim the aircraft and save countless lives. — Dina Ragano, Fiction, Movies & Music Department Coordinator

Escape from the Twin Towers (2020)

by Kate Messner

Ranger, a golden retriever trained in search and rescue, is on the job trying to find 5th-graders Risha and Max, who are missing in the wreckage of the Twin Towers. Will Ranger find them in time so they can be reunited with Risha's mom?  It is a harrowing day, one they will never forget. — Vicki Heller, Collection Development Librarian

I Survived The Attacks of September 11, 2001 (2012)

by Lauren Tarshis

Part of the I Survived series, The Attacks of September 11, 2001 tells the story of that fateful day as Lucas decides to skip school and take a bus into New York City.  Meeting a family friend who is a firefighter, Lucas' life is changed forever once he arrives at the firehouse. — Vicki Heller, Collection Development Librarian 

Nine, Ten : a September 11 Story (2016)

by Nora Raleigh Baskin

Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story by Nora Raleigh Baskin is the story of 4 kids living in different parts of the country and how their lives intersect on the day that changed the world.  They don't know each other, but this day will unite them. — Vicki Heller, Collection Development Librarian

All We Have Left (2016)

by Wendy Mills

Going between present day and the morning of the September 11 attacks, we follow two girls: Jesse in the present day whose brother was killed in the 9/11 attacks, and Alia, a Muslim teenager trapped inside one of the buildings during the attacks. This historical fiction book gives a heart-wrenching account of what happened that day and how the events continue to impact us today. — Gail Tobin, Hanover Park Branch Manager