Lesser-Known Stories of 9/11

Next month, we will once again mark the somber anniversary of the terror attacks of 9/11. By now, a lot of the stories surrounding that day have been told. However, a couple of lesser-known stories are now being told in picture book form, and they are stories of hope and inspiration, which made me lament the fact that they aren’t common knowledge. I hope that these books play a part in making that happen.

Saved by the BoatsSaved By the Boats: The Heroic Sea Evacuation of September 11 by Julie Gassman and Steve Moors (ill.). 9781515702696. 2016. Gr 2-5.

One of the most pressing issues on the minds of people in the city after the attacks was just how were they going to get out of the city to a safe place? Because of the uncertainty in the minutes and hours after the attacks, officials closed subways, bridges, and tunnels. This left boat transport as the only option for people who couldn’t walk across bridges to their homes or somewhere safe.

What unfolds in the pages of this book show the helpfulness and resilience of the men and women who captained all sorts of vessels in the harbor. Everyone pitched in to load and  transport people to safety, and when it was all said and done, this event was the largest sea evacuation in history.

In the author’s note in the back of this book, the author reveals that her inspiration for writing this book was a short documentary called Boatlift, which is well worth a watch:


Seven and a Half TonsSeven and a Half Tons of Steel by Janet Nolan and Thomas Gonzalez (ill.) 9781561459124. 2016. Gr 2-4.

Amidst the rubble of the fallen World Trade Center towers was a large steel beam, weighing in at 7.5 tons. This beam was later transported to a foundry in Louisiana, where it was melted down, re-molded, polished, and painted, to become the bow of the USS New York, an immense and powerful navy ship.

This process was not without tragedy as well, as the foundry was struck by Hurricane Katrina during the construction of the ship. This only strengthens the meaning of the ships motto, “Strength forged through sacrifice. Never forget.”

This is a story of inspiration and triumph in the face of adversity, and another “hidden” story of 9/11 that I hope becomes more well-known due to this book.

RyanBlogger: Ryan H.