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For Kids, Books That Deal With Sept. 11

September 02, 2002|MIMI AVINS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Parents were faced with several daunting tasks when terrorists attacked the Pentagon and the World Trade Center.

They had to quell their children's fears as well as try to explain the philosophical and historic aspects of a situation that they, in many cases, didn't understand themselves.

As the world focuses on the first anniversary of those attacks, about 20 books for children of different ages will be in stores to help kids work through the disaster and its aftermath.

Picture books for young children usually make their points through allegory. The titles for older children mirror the range in the adult book market, from oral histories to spiritual anthologies on coping with loss.

* For young children

"And God Cried Too: A Kid's Book of Healing and Hope," by Marc Gellman (Harper Collins). This is a "why bad things happen to good people" parable to help children deal with loss and fear. The attack on America and its aftermath are the setting for several chapters.

"Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey," by Maira Kalman (Putnam). The true story of a 70-year-old fireboat brought back from the scrap yard to help fight the World Trade Center fires.

"New York's Bravest," by Mary Pope Osborne (Knopf). The exploits of Mose Humphreys, a legendary 19th century firefighter. For 4-to 8-year-olds.

"9/11: A Book of Help" (Cricket Books). Children's authors offer ways to digest tragedy.

"There's a Big, Beautiful World Out There," by Nancy Carlson (Viking). The message is that kids will miss the good aspects of life if they hide from the things that scare them, like fierce dogs or bad news on TV.

"Bravemole," by Lynne Jonell (Putnam). A parable of Sept. 11, with brave moles attacked by dragons.

"Even Firefighters Hug Their Moms," by Christine Kole MacLean (Dutton). A tribute to rescue workers that shows no one is macho all the time.

"September 12th: We Knew Everything Would Be All Right" by first-graders at the H. Byron Masterson Elementary School in Kennett, Mo., (Scholastic). Essays and illustrations that express the children's faith in the future.

* For middle-schoolers and teens

"Understanding September 11: Answering Questions About the Attacks on America" by Mitch Frank (Viking). Current history, explained for middle-school students.

"The Day Our World Changed: Children's Art of 9/11" (Abrams). Seventy-five works by children, 5-18 years old, all from the New York area, were selected for the book and accompanying juried exhibition, scheduled to open Sept. 11. Commentary by the children about their art is included.

"A Nation Challenged: A Visual History" (Scholastic). A young reader's edition of the coffee-table size New York Times book that is similar, but more effective than its bloated parent. It is designed to help children comprehend how and why the attacks occurred while teaching them about how the U.S. responded.

"Let There Be Light: Poems and Prayers for Repairing the World," by Jane Breskin Zalben (Dutton). Collection of prayers from various faiths, plus inspirational quotes.

"With Their Eyes: September 11th--The View From a High School at Ground Zero," compiled by Annie Thoms (Harper Collins). Students at Stuyvesant High School, the public school for intellectually gifted students that lies in the shadow of the World Trade Center, share their thoughts about the day they say they'll never forget.

"The Day the Sky Fell: A History of Terrorism," by Milton Meltzer (Landmark Books). An examination of the historical context of terrorism by the author of nearly 100 young adult books about history and social issues.

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