Don’t miss The 9/11 Report

The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon; published by Hill and Wang, a division of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 2006; 115 pages.

9_11_report_a_graphic_adaptationThis is a graphic adaptation of the Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.  In the book’s preface, both the Chair and Vice Chair of the 9/11 Commission express their interest in making sure that their report is accessible to all Americans.  Indeed, creating a graphic representation of the report’s findings is a stroke of genius.  How many Americans have the ability or wherewithal to read the report in its original form—an immense document in small type?  So many of us are visual learners and the task of reading a report of that size is overwhelming.  The illustrators have done a remarkable job portraying the events in realistic rather than “cartoony” images.  The writers also did a remarkable job in condensing the report to its most essential information without losing the impact of the account.  By the end of the book, I had learned quite a bit about the background events, had relived the day itself, and had a better understanding of the events immediately following the attacks.

I cannot say enough positive things about this nonfiction, graphic novel account of the events of 9/11.  I remember my fifth grade teacher passing out “Classic Comics” in an attempt to introduce some classic literature to emerging readers.  I read The Count of Monte Cristo and was so mesmerized that I checked the book out of the public library (our elementary library did not own a copy) and read it cover to cover twice before returning it.  What if social studies, or science, or math, teachers had graphic novels as tools to teach concepts that are often too ethereal to grasp in early lessons?  Imagine a middle school, or better yet, a high school, social studies teacher using this book to discuss September 11, 2001, and how it changed all of our lives.  The visual connections would make the story accessible to students of all learning styles.  Facts are presented with images that are attractive to teens—aren’t we all more likely to remember a fact when we use a mnemonic device like an image?  I know Mr. Averill, were he still around, would be on the bandwagon for The 9/11 Report.

I think the subject is still interesting to teens, who were in elementary school when the events of 9/11 transpired.  For that reason, I think the appeal of a graphic depiction of the events and the inclusion of back-story will make this book a popular teen selection among non-fiction readers.  However, I think that the format also will appeal to adults as well.

3P     5Q     Grades 8-12+

Cover Art: Iconic images of 9/11 are transformed into graphic art.  That alone will increase its appeal among teens.  However, the subject is still a hot-topic and just the red “9/11” in the title will attract attention to the graphic novel.

From Reading List: Too Good to Be True Non-fiction

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