September 11 Books for Elementary Students (1-5) in 2024

These September 11 books for elementary students are a great way to gently talk about what happened on 9/11 and the profound impact it had on the United States and world. Your students will enjoying listening to these age-appropriate read alouds while learning about our country’s history. This post will provide you with a list of September 11 books for elementary students in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th grade.

The Man Who Walked Between the Towers

by Mordicai Gerstein

The Man Who Walked Between the Towers tells the story of Philippe, a street performer who walked on a wire between the twin towers in New York City. Philippe loved to ride a unicycle and juggle fiery torches, but his true passion was walking and dancing on a rope between two trees.

One day, he looked at the towers and thought that the space between them would be a perfect place to walk across a wire. He disguised himself and friends as construction workers, and snuck into the towers to set up the rope. After a long night of preparation, Philippe walks out onto the wire.

The people below are amazed at this man walking across the wire, but the police arrest him when he gets off. A judge sentences him to perform for children, and Philippe continues to spend his time doing what he loves. This is one of my favorite September 11 books for elementary students!

Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of John J. Harvey

by Maira Kalman

Another one of my favorite September 11 books for elementary students is Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of John J. Harvey. This story is about a real-life fireboat called John J. Harvey. It once was a fast and shiny fireboat, but became old overtime and eventually retired. This book shares the story of how it came out of retirement on September 11, 2001 to fight roaring flames in New York City.


14 Cows for America

by Carmen Agra Deedy and Thomas Gonzalez

14 Cows for America shares the true story of how one small African village was so moved by the tragic events of September 11th, that they decided to send the United States a gift to show their support during tragic times. This was a gift of 14 cows. Check out the 14 Cows for America activities if you plan to read this book aloud to your students!

Saved By The Boats

by Julie Gassman

Saved by the Boats is a nonfiction account (told in the form of a story) of what happened in the aftermath of September 11th.

It’s a good book for a literature-based social emotional learning lesson on empathy and emotion.

The Survivor Tree

by Cheryl Somers Aubin

The Survivor Tree is one of several September 11th picture books I’ve included in this post that is specifically about the pear tree that survived the 9/11 attacks. It’s a great choice for younger students because it allows you to honor Patriots Day in the classroom, but it does not go into detail about terrorists. The focus of the book is on healing and peace.

Branches of Hope

by Ann Magee

This story of the Callery Pear tree that survived the events of 9/11 uses beautiful language combined with the parallel story told through the illustrations.  The result is a powerful combination for telling the story of September 11th to 1st-4th grade students. Branches of Hope is a great read aloud choice because it gives children room to process their thoughts and emotions of an American tragedy, while finding hope for the future.

The Little Chapel That Stood

by A.B. Curtiss

The Little Chapel That Stood is a children’s book based on a the St. Paul Chapel located one block from the twin towers.  Despite the heavy topic, this book is uplifting. The chapel has been described as, “A symbol of the past stretching into the future, American courage and freedom, and overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

30,000 Stitches: The Inspiring Story of the National 9/11 Flag

by Amanda Davis

In the days immediately following 9/11, a 30-foot American flag hung torn and tattered across from Ground Zero. It was later taken down by construction workers and put into storage for almost seven years. This book tells the story of the grassroots restoration effort that brought American people together…stitch by stitch.

Seven and a Half Tons of Steel

by Janet Nolan

Seven and a Half Tons of Steel tells the story of one beam taken from the remains of the World Trade Center and used to build the bow of a U.S. warship called the U.S.S. New York. The illustrations are gorgeous, however the book does not provide background on September 11th.

Survivor Tree

by Marcie Colleen

Survivor Tree is another September 11th picture book that tells the story of the Callery pear tree. The tree stood at the base of the World Trade Center for several decades. It was pulled from the rubble, cared for and has since been replanted as part of the 9/11 memorial.



Grab the FREE Monthly Reading Resources

In closing, we hope you found this list of September 11 books for elementary students helpful! If you want to get more book ideas to read aloud to your students, then grab this reading freebie.

It includes:

  • read aloud books lists for each month
  • reading logs
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It’s perfect for elementary classroom teachers because it will have you covered for the entire school year! Grab this free elementary reading packet now!

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