Monday, June 27, 2016

Happy Book Birthday to Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story

I was so excited to meet Nora at the Hudson Book Festival this past May.

In Judaism because days begin at sundown, we call the night of a holiday "erev". So, in my family when the day before a birthday finally comes around we start celebrating.  I'm celebrating now, Nora Raleigh Baskin--Happy Erev Book Birthday, Nine Ten: A September 11 Story!

This September 11 marks the 15th anniversary of the day that changed our lives forever. We can all tell you where we were and what we were doing while we looked up into that "robin's-egg blue" sky, the same color as Naheed's first hijab and her eyes. The hijab that represents who she is, where she comes from and how much it matters to treat people right. 

But as much as you always want things to remain constant, they don't.  Things changed for Naheed once she got into middle school and things changed for all of us as the days leading up to 9/11 fell into line. Nine, Ten... gives us a snapshot into September 9, the Erev, and the day of from the point of view of four middle school kids spread out across our nation. This is the story of not only Naheed in Columbus, OH but of Aimee in LA, whose mom just got a job at Cantor Fitzgerald and Will in Shanksville, PA who is trying to come to terms after losing his truck driver dad who died late at night when trying to help someone and Sergio, who is navigating life while living with his grandma in Brooklyn.  No matter who you are or where you were on the morning of September 11, your life changed.  Maybe it was already changing before then, like these adolescents, and maybe this event just made those changes stronger.  Whatever it is, we will never forget.

And then it happens.  "It was clear that the world was about to blow apart, if it hadn't already, and suddenly nothing else mattered but getting home. It was a primitive instinct, a drive, a need to find family no matter how far."  We called.  We hugged.  We visited.  The world did fall apart that day and ever since then we have been working to piece it back together.  The world "was screaming out loud." Our job is to help get it to inhale and exhale.  Thank you, Nora Raleigh Baskin for giving us the opportunity to share a book with students that will help bring that scream down to just a murmur.

I was even more excited when she agreed to LEAP with me!

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