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Sept. 11: One year after

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Globe and Boston.com coverage from September 11, 2001

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Children's books about Sept. 11 try to explain the unexplainable

By Samantha Critchell, Associated Press

There really are no words to describe the events, the emotions and the repercussions of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, but a new book of children's illustrations that interpret the destruction of the World Trade Center reminds us that a picture is worth a thousand words.

The 83 colorful pictures by 5-to-18-year-old artists from the New York metropolitan area featured in "The Day Our World Changed: Children's Art of 9-11" (Abrams) also might fuel discussion between parents and youngsters about how they are personally coping with the aftermath.

The images, simple but wise beyond their young creators' years, also seem to give the attacks some historical perspective. Pictures depict the planes ramming the buildings, the hole left in New York's skyline, the collective mourning of an entire region and how a tragic event brought people together.

"The Day Our World Changed" is the result of a joint project by the New York University Child Study Center and the Museum of the City of New York. A companion exhibit is planned at the museum.

Former mayor Rudolph Giuliani wrote the book's introduction, quoting Pablo Picasso on how art can help people understand the inconceivable.

He also says the tone of the children's artwork should be an inspiration to all. "That our children can express their hopes for a peaceful world in their drawings encourages us all to look forward with optimism," Giuliani writes.

The New York Times deals with Sept. 11 by combining straightforward reporting with compassionate photos and commentary in "A Nation Challenged: A Visual History of 9-11 and Its Aftermath" (Callaway). A "Young Reader's Edition" of this(Scholastic Nonfiction) is available with more visual aids and fewer wordy explanations. There are detailed graphics to show how the towers fell, the layout of the Pentagon and what the inside of a mountain bunker used by al-Qaida looks like.

A glossary in the children's version addresses formerly unfamiliar words such as "Koran" and "reconnaissance aircraft." The book also offers suggestions on what youngsters can do to help in the aftermath, including planting a tree to commemorate the victims and befriending someone who looks different from them.

"On That Day" (Tricycle Press) by Andrea Patel, with its origami-style illustrations, also focuses on whatever positive messages can be taken from the tragedy.

The book, which clearly targets a young audience, urges children, depicted in different races and backgrounds, to play ball together, take care of the environment and be kind to people.

"With Their Eyes" (HarperTempest) is for a different audience: the peers of Stuyvesant High School students, whose personal accounts of the New York attacks are the basis of the book.

The school, located just four blocks from ground zero, offered these teenagers a front-row seat. Many reported hearing the bang when the first plane hit one of the twin towers and feeling the ensuing tremble.

"I saw the whole thing, I saw something hit the building, and then everyone was just laughing. Everyone was laughing. So, I -- I went back up to class, and then the teacher was just teaching a lesson like nothing happened. I was talking to some of my friends," writes sophomore Kevin Zhang of the first collision.

"I was ... I was asking if they saw the plane. They're like `yeah' `n' (sic) they were like, laughing, and it was like: `This guy was blazed. This guy was just totally stoned. Some moron hit the building.'

"And then we went to Spanish class and then, the second plane hit. I actually saw a guy. He threw a chair out the window, and then ... That's when everyone started caring. Yeah, before everyone was just thinking it was a joke."

Some of the students' monologues, which also have been turned into a play, evoke tears while others will make readers smile.

Mary Pope Osborne's "New York's Bravest" (Knopf), illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher, doesn't directly deal with Sept. 11, but the author says the book wouldn't exist if the terrorist attacks hadn't happened.

The picture book resurrects the character of Mose Humphreys, who was featured in Osborne's "American Tall Tales." He is based on a real firefighter in New York during the 1840s.

In this story, Mose is missing after rescuing all the civilians inside a burning building. His colleagues honor him as a hero and carry on as Mose would want them to.

Today's news:
Ceremony at Ground Zero
Mass. remembers victims
Silence, tears mark day at Logan
Under alert, Mass. carries on
Bush faces day with resolve
World remembers attacks in US
Memorial in Shanksville, Pa.
Updated wire coverage

Photo galleries:
Families mourn, remember
Ceremony at Ground Zero
Ceremony at the Pentagon
Ceremony at Pa. crash scene
Remembrances worldwide
Remembrances in Boston

NECN RealVideo:
Moment of silence observed
Ceremony at State House
Gettysburg Address read
Procession at Ground Zero
A somber travel day at Logan
Images of Sept. 11, 2001

 THE SERIES

 DAY ONE   SEPT. 3

Preparing for the worst
Security has become the new norm in Greater Boston.

 DAY TWO   SEPT. 4

Fear and children
Children's responses may shed light on human anxiety, resiliency.

 DAY THREE   SEPT. 5

Muslim minds
The US effort to win over Muslim hearts and minds is failing.

 DAY FOUR   SEPT. 6

Science vs. terrorism
New chemical, biological threats spur nation's top minds.

 DAY FIVE   SEPT. 7

Detainees
For those deported after Sept. 11, the losses are wrenching.

 DAY SIX   SEPT. 8

A special Magazine issue
A Sept. 11 narrative by former Massport chief Virginia Buckingham, plus an essay by Christopher Hitchens.

A special Arts section
How culture has changed since Sept. 11, including a gallery of art inspired by the attacks.

A special Focus section
A look at how the lives of six Americans were altered.

Everywhere USA
Terrorism comes to God's country.

 DAY SEVEN   SEPT. 9

Where is Al Qaeda?
How have bin Laden and his terrorist group eluded US forces?

 DAY EIGHT   SEPT. 10

Two cities
New York and DC one year later.

 DAY NINE   SEPT. 11

America remembers
The US looks back at the terrorist attacks.

Victims and survivors
A year later, still hurting.

A time for bells and remembrance
A clash of views on terror
Limited damage to the economy
Families build support system
NYC's healing process
Finding comfort in the kitchen
Bailey: A day of atonement


From the Associated Press:
Tribute paid with tattoos
Charities changed by 9/11
White House calls home
9/11 stole innocence, love
Man escaped earthquake, 9/11
Update on 9/11's famous faces
Firemen still burying dead
A mother's note to a lost son
9/11 created heroes in death
Voice mails bring comfort
Little things hold memories
87th floor survivor copes
Sampling of 9/11 memorials
Pentagon survivors move on
Moments of silence on Sept. 11
Survivors try to move forward
Families cling to chances
Sept. 11 widow trying to forgive
Widow becomes an advocate
Workplace response varies
Graphic: Funds offer relief





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