Thursday, October 4, 2018

Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes was published in 2016. Because I hadn't read anything about this book, I thought it would be set in 2001. It is set in current time. 

Deja, the main character, and her family live in a homeless shelter. She has a little brother and sister, a mother, and a father who is always sick, coughing, and it sounds like he has a bad case of PTSD. 

At school, her teacher tells them their essays will all connect with the missing twin towers. Deja doesn't understand why they need to learn about something that happened before she was born. It's old history, and it doesn't matter to her, or so she thinks. 

Deja has her defenses up. The shelter is in the nicest neighborhood she's ever lived in, and at least two of the kids at the school are determined to be her friends. I enjoyed seeing the changes in Deja and her friends. I loved how they helped one another. Every person needs friends like Ben and Sabeen. 

I love this story of friendship and connections and how we are all one family. I liked that the kids were not just white and that the author was realistic in her representations of different cultures. Children need to read about people who look just like them and about people who don't. 

I think this is an important book for children who don't know about 9/11. Know that this book may make them curious enough to do more research and some of what's online about 9/11 isn't for younger readers. 

I listened to the audio version and nearly gave up on it because Deja sounded too angry, unlikable, and full of hate for everybody and everything, but I didn't have any other audio books to listen to that day, so I stuck it out. I may have liked the book more if I had read it, but I loved it anyway. Be warned that if you remember 9/11, this book will make you weep. 

I look forward to reading more of Rhodes' work. She's an excellent author. 

Link to our NICU book registry if you'd like to donate books to babies in the newborn intensive care unit so their parents can read to them while they grow. You can also donate gently used books to our project by sending them to me or to Angie. Email me for a mailing address. We can use both English and Spanish books. If you have a graduate of the NICU, or if you have a baby whose life you would like to honor by donating books to this project, let me know, and I can make a book plate with their name for the books you donate.

Read to a child today even if that child is you. 

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