Review: The Memory of Things by Gail Polisner

28220960

For people over a certain age, it’s hard to remember a time when September 11 wasn’t part of our shared history. We’ll never forget where we were that fateful Tuesday morning fifteen years ago. But for younger people, it’s been relegated to an event found in history books. That’s why books like this one are so important.

When that first plane hit, Kyle was sitting in class just like any normal teenager. It soon become clear, however, that this was more than just an accident. Released from school, making his way home across the Brooklyn Bridge, he comes across something. At first glance, a bird. But upon closer inspection, a girl covered in ash and wearing a pair of feathery wings. And was she trying to jump off the bridge? Nevertheless, he saves her from herself, from the crowd of people walking across the bridge, from the chaos that ensued in those first days.

When he gets home, he realizes that she has no idea who she is and no memory of what happened. So this becomes his focus while at the same time trying to manage in such a time of tragedy. His mom and sister are stuck on the west coast. He doesn’t know where his police officer dad is or if he’s even still alive. And his Uncle Matt needs constant care after a tragic accident months ago. All this falls on Kyle’s young shoulders.

This is such a beautifully written story. Kyle’s story is our main one, with the girl’s voice told in poetic bits and pieces interspersed throughout. There’s a lot going on-fear of the unknown, a confusing teen romance, family dynamics, and just pure resilience. An excellent pick for both young and old!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  The Memory of Things

Review: Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story by Nora Raleigh Baskin

26875689

There’s no shortage of stories about the greatest terroristic attack to ever take place on American soil.  Fifteen years after the date, you can still find a few on some bestseller list somewhere.  But stories about this tragic event geared toward young readers and written in a sensitive, thoughtful manner?  Not so much.

The story begins a few days before the event that changed the world.  Four kids leading four very different lives in different parts of the country.  Each has their own struggles to deal with, but they have no idea how small those struggles will seem in a matter of days.

Sergio is a young boy in Brooklyn.  Raised by his grandmother, tormented by the infrequent  appearance of his absentee father, he’s confused about who he is and what path he’s supposed to take in life.  Will is dealing with a different kind of sorrow after the tragic death of his dad.  He just can’t seem to move on.  Aimee doesn’t know where she fits in after she and her family move across the country so that her busy mom can start a new job.  And then there’s Nadira.  As she gets older, she’s confused about her identity as a Muslim and is unsure how to handle the stares and comments she’s starting to get from both strangers and friends.

As September 11 draws closer, these four young people will find their lives crossing paths in a way that none of them could have imagined and in a way that nobody will ever be able to forget.

This is such a well-told, thoughtful story about a time in our history that changed the world as we know it. Many young people today have no understanding of the scope of the tragedy and how it altered everything.  The author does an outstanding job of telling the story through the eyes of four very different people but still drawing them together.  A must-read!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story