Four children of diverse ethnicities, unknown to one another, are at Chicago’s O’Hare airport on Sept. 9, 2001.
Sergio, an African-American boy, is about to fly home to New York City. Naheed, a Muslim-American girl, awaits the arrival of relatives from Iran. Aimee, a white, Jewish girl, is on the way to a new home in Los Angeles, where her mother has a new job with Cantor-Fitzgerald; instead of returning with her after a family trip, her mother travels to New York City for a meeting at the World Trade Center. Will, a white boy who has recently lost his father, is on the way home to Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Baskin follows each of them over the 48 hours prior to 9/11 and recounts their experiences on that day as well as their participation in the first anniversary ceremonies. An author’s note explains her decisions to emphasize “the division between ‘before 9/11’ and ‘after 9/11’ ” for children who were not yet born then, to spare all her characters the loss of a loved one, and to depict the post–9/11 spirit of community that existed for at least a short time. Readers will have different reactions to the work depending on their ages and how much prior knowledge they bring to it. Adults may be chilled by key names and places and what they portend, but children may gain a small sense of the magnitude of the changes that day wrought on our world.
Tense, disturbing, and thought-provoking. (author’s note, acknowledgements) (Historical fiction. 10-14)