Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story

by Nora Raleigh Baskin (Author)

Reading Level: 4th − 5th Grade
From the critically acclaimed author of Anything But Typical comes a touching look at the days leading up to the tragic events of September 11, 2001, and how that day impacted the lives of four middle schoolers. Ask anyone: September 11, 2001, was serene and lovely, a perfect day--until a plane struck the World Trade Center. But right now it is a few days earlier, and four kids in different parts of the country are going about their lives. Sergio, who lives in Brooklyn, is struggling to come to terms with the absentee father he hates and the grandmother he loves. Will's father is gone, too, killed in a car accident that has left the family reeling. Naheed has never before felt uncomfortable about being Muslim, but at her new school she's getting funny looks because of the head scarf she wears. Aimee is starting a new school in a new city and missing her mom, who has to fly to New York on business. These four don't know one another, but their lives are about to intersect in ways they never could have imagined. Award-winning author Nora Raleigh Baskin weaves together their stories into an unforgettable novel about that seemingly perfect September day--the day our world changed forever.
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Publishers Weekly

For a generation of readers born and raised after 9/11, Baskin (Ruby on the Outside) offers a powerful account of how the events changed lives. Her cast is made up of four middle-school students who briefly cross paths at Chicago's bustling O'Hare Airport two days before the Twin Towers fall. Characters include Will, a Pennsylvania boy still grieving his father's death; Aimee, settling into her new home in Los Angeles while her mother is on a business trip in New York City; Brooklyn native Sergio, who has just won a national math award; and Nadira, a Muslim girl from Ohio who is trying to fit in by not wearing her "beliefs on her sleeve." Hours before the hijackings, the children are preoccupied with family and peers, but after learning about the terrorist attacks, all are deeply and personally touched in some way, their problems put in new perspective. There are no graphic displays of violence; Baskin focuses on how her characters emerge wiser, worldlier, and more sensitive to others' pain after surviving a profound and tragic piece of history. Ages 8-12. Agency: Nancy Gallt Literary Agency. (June)

Copyright 2016 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

Gr 4-6—Four children from different parts of America go about their lives just days before the events of 9/11. Nadira is a Muslim girl struggling to balance her commitment to religious customs with her desire to fit in with the public school culture of Columbus, OH. Sergio lives in a low-income area with his grandmother in Brooklyn. Aimee is at home in California, missing her mother, who is on a business trip to New York City. Finally, there's Will in Pennsylvania, who has recently lost his father. The novel slowly follows the children through their days, failing to ever build any kind of page-turning tension. When the events of September 11, 2001, do occur, Baskin successfully depicts the reality from the perspective of the four protagonists. This is the story's greatest strength. Because of the sensitivity of the topic and the lack of a baseline understanding among most students, this book is best used as an in-class, facilitated read. Jewel Parker Rhodes's recent novel, Towers Falling, is a more engaging title that serves a similar purpose.

Copyright 2016 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

* "Readers will have different reactions to the work depending on their ages and how much prior knowledge they bring to it. . . children may gain a small sense of the magnitude of the changes that day wrought on our world. Tense, disturbing, and thought-provoking."— "Kirkus Reviews, starred review"
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication date
June 28, 2016
BISAC categories
JUV039050 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Emotions & Feelings
JUV039180 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Violence
JUV016190 - Juvenile Fiction | Historical | United States - 21st Century
JUV030060 - Juvenile Fiction | People & Places | United States
Library of Congress categories
September 11 Terrorist Attacks, 2001

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