________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 15 . . . . March 20, 2009

cover Escape From the Towers. (Crabtree Contact).

Andra Serlin Abramson.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2009.
24 pp., pbk. & hc., $10.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (hc.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-3836-7 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-0-7787-3814-5 (RLB).

Subject Headings:
September 11. Terrorist Attacks, 2001-Juvenile literature.
World Trade Center (New York, N.Y,)-Juvenile literature.
Terrorism-United States-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Allison McDonald.

*** /4


Outside on the streets and in nearby buildings, people watched in horror.

The North Tower was in flames.
Parts of the building were falling to the ground.
Thick, black smoke was filling the sky.

Across New York City, fire alarms and police radios were calling police, firefighters and ambulance crews to the scene.

Author Andra Serlin Abramson recounts the story of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade centre through simple facts and the personal stories of two survivors, Greg Trevor and Florence Engoran, who were in the North and South towers respectively when the airplanes hit. The book begins with explaining the ordinariness of the day followed by the chaos and destruction that ensued, and the aftermath of attempting to rescue survivors.

     Escape From the Towers provides a well-constructed treatment of heavy subject matter so that young readers and reluctant readers may grasp the basic facts of how the events of 9/11 took place. It does not give detail about the nature of the attackers, only naming them as terrorists, which might cause young readers to wonder further about who did this and why. Using the stories of the survivors is an interesting medium through which to present the story. It will allow readers to understand what happened from a personal perspective which will, in turn, provide a more realistic understanding of the events.

     The text is highlighted with pictures of the twin towers before and after they were hit by the airplanes, as well as some action photos of people running from the buildings. These will be of great interest to young readers and will help to emphasize the text. Some of the images are “reconstructions” of events being discussed, such as survivors running through stairwells. These have an outdated feeling to them and might not be as interesting as actual photography of the events. The layout of the book is somewhat confusing, resulting in the text’s not having a natural directional flow to it, which could be distracting and require help in making sure the reader follows the proper path.

     The book includes a miscellany of further material at the back, including a glossary of terms which will be invaluable to readers, useful websites to do further research, and various factoids about the other planes that were re-routed.

     Escape From the Towers is a useful book for students wishing to do research for a project or a book report, and would be a practical teaching aid for instructors and parents alike who wish to inform young people about the events of 9/11. The story is recounted in an honest and realistic manner but is relayed appropriately for the intended reading level.


Allison McDonald is a freelance editor and writer living in Richmond Hill, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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