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Cover image for America is under attack : September 11, 2001 : the day the towers fell
America is under attack : September 11, 2001 : the day the towers fell


First edition.
New York : Roaring Brook Press, 2011.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 24 cm.
Series title(s):
Number in series:
v. 4.
General Note:
"Book design by Andrew Arnold"--Col.
Narrates the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, from the plane hijackings to the collapse of the World Trade Center.

On a beautiful September morning four planes crossed the sky on a deadly mission. Two crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City; one crashed into the Pentagon building in Washington, D.C.; and the fourth plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. The impact of the events of September 11, 2001 changed the world forever. This book moves chronologically through that tragic morning to capture the emotion and pathos of the day for young readers. -- from Book Jacket.
Reading Level:
Elementary Grade.

840 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader 5.8.

Reading Counts! 5.5.
Geographic Term:


Call Number
J 973.931 Brown
973.931 BROWN
J 973.931 Brown 2011

On Order



One of School Library Journal 's Best Nonfiction Books of 2011
One of Horn Book 's Best Nonfiction Books of 2011

On the ten year anniversary of the September 11 tragedy, a straightforward and sensitive book for a generation of readers too young to remember that terrible day.

The events of September 11, 2001 changed the world forever. In the fourth installment of the Actual Times series, Don Brown narrates the events of the day in a way that is both accessible and understandable for young readers. Straightforward and honest, this account moves chronologically through the morning, from the terrorist plane hijackings to the crashes at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and Pennsylvania; from the rescue operations at the WTC site in New York City to the collapse of the buildings. Vivid watercolor illustrations capture the emotion and pathos of the tragedy making this an important book about an unforgettable day in American history.

Author Notes

Don Brown is the author and illustrator of many highly praised picture-book biographies and histories for children, most recently, He Has Shot the President . He lives on Long Island, New York.

Reviews 4

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-4-The events of that fateful September day are told through solid factual reporting and stylized watercolors. Brown's art vividly conveys the devastation and horrific loss, as well as the selfless heroism and valor of the responders and everyday citizens in this moving, accessible account for young readers. (Sept.) (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Explaining the events of September 11, even 10 years afterward, is a task fraught with emotion. Brown's sturdy yet empathetic tone seems just right. Winnowing through the day's thousands of stories to focus on a representative few, he conveys suspense while maintaining respect, and pays understated homage to the heroism of the rescuers. Individuals who were inside the Twin Towers that day, or who went in to help-fire captain Jay Jonas, who led a team aiding an older woman whose bad feet made their exit agonizingly slow; Chris Young, who was trapped in an elevator and walked out unscathed-are studied in clear and telling detail. The worst moments-"at 9:59 AM the South Tower came down"-are recorded with journalistic calm. Brown's courtroom-style artwork draws little attention to itself; he focuses on the anguished faces of spectators as they watch from the ground, pans across the Manhattan skyline, and portrays a crew of firefighters huddled in a corner, engulfed in smoke. An invaluable resource for educators and parents, it's also unexpectedly comforting: "We got through it," Brown seems to say, "and we are still here." Ages 9-12. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Review

Odd to think that the audience for this book consists mainly of people who had not yet been born on September 11th ten years ago, but even to them this tragedy must seem closer than the subjects of Brown's previous Actual Times books: 9/11 began a war we are still fighting. The approach is solid and journalistic, emphasizing the facts of what happened on that day rather than considerations of its causes or effects, and the account is chronological, moving from 8:46 a.m., when the North Tower was struck, to 9:03 a.m. (the South Tower), to 9:37 a.m. (the Pentagon), to 10:03 a.m., when the fourth plane "smashed into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania," and beyond to the collapse of the Towers. The text is continuous, weaving the events of the morning with the experiences of some of the victims and survivors: "Eighty-nine-year-old Moe Lipson climbed down eighty-eight floors, walked a mile, and then hailed a cab to take him home." (If there is any larger statement being made in this book, it is one about the arbitrary nature of fate.) Illustrated on every spread with line-and-wash pictures that are forthright but never sensational, the book is superbly focused and completely honest. An author's note supplies grim statistics; a bibliography and source notes for quotations are appended. roger sutton (c) Copyright 2011. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Booklist Review

A treatment of the attacks of September 11 relying heavily on illustration was inevitable, and something readers could anticipate with a mixture of hopefulness and trepidation. Thankfully, Brown's take, an entry in his Actual Times series, is a model of straightforward, earnest nonfiction writing that brings things to many an uncomfortable point that cannot be avoided without going too far. This is not a book about motives. Al-Qaeda hated America's power and influenc. is about all we get for a backdrop. Brown instead focuses upon the minute-by-minute progression of the attacks, from the initial pandemonium to the firefighters' attempt at rescue, along the way working in mini stories of various survivors and heroes. Brown's emotive watercolors keep faces indistinct, though there is no doubt that some of the images are frightening: the fireball blooming in the lobby of the North Tower, people hanging out of blasted upper windows, the two-page spread of black smoke that blots out all else. This is not transcendent, but that is all right; that this solid, well-sourced book makes no major missteps is a wonderful thing in itself.--Kraus, Danie. Copyright 2010 Booklist