Sunday, September 11, 2016

Saved By the Boats

Saved By the Boats: The Heroic Sea Evacuation of September 11
By Julie Gassman
Illustrated by Steve Moors
Capstone Young Readers, 2016. Informational.

Like many others, I remember what I was doing when tragedy struck America on September 11, 2001. The passing of fifteen years, however, brings up the question of how to explain it to a small child who did not witness the events. Author Julie Gassman witnessed the events and was rescued by one of the hundreds of boats who heeded the call to help evacuate 500,000 people out of NYC and shares her account with simplicity that a child would understand and with the emotional impact to bring it to life. This picture book does not go into details about the thousands of lives lost (it actually doesn’t mention death); instead, it focuses on how a community was shaken and they rallied in support.

Steve Moor, who was also in Manhattan on that fateful day, uses black ink outline sketches, with touches of black, blue, and cream, to give the book a somber, reverent tone, and with such techniques as an interesting use of red on a life preserver on one of the boats brings home the message of the rescue. This look into a little known part of a bigger historical event shows how ordinary people can be heroes.

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