Once in awhile, I am gifted a book to consider for the Global Read Aloud. This the book Eleven by Tom Rogers came to me at my school and I was immediately drawn to it. The cover told me that the story had something to do with 9/11 and yet I was not sure what to expect. After all, how do you write about an event that still is so raw in our history and yet do it in a way to capture middle grade readers?
It turns out you do it exactly like Tom Rogers did. The book follow Alex, a boy whose 11th birthday falls on 9/11, who lives in New York City. As we follow him throughout the day, we see the story slowly unfold as it dawns on him what is happening in his city. We also have a dual perspective from the man in the white shirt, which fills in some of the holes that our 11 year old protagonist would not know about. I cried when I read the book and then I smiled, because I finally found a book that I can hand to the generation of kids that I teach that will offer them a little slice of what it felt like that day.
I should have known that a book that is sold at the 9/11 memorial would be a great read, and it is. This book is a Global Read Aloud contender for 2016 and should be added to any classroom 3rd grade and up, but I know that my middle schoolers will love it as much as I did as well.