twin towers

The Potato is a post-9/11 kid, born in 2003. I mention it, because one of his favorite books lately is Mordecai Gerstain’s The Man Who Walked Between the Towers. It’s a delightful book, about Phillipe Petit’s walk on a wire between the towers in 1974. We’ve been great fans of Gerstain’s work since the Bee fell in love with his The Old Country. His picture books, including this one, are great.

It’s raised, though, the question of how to describe the fate of the Towers to our kids? The Bee was only two when it happened–she doesn’t have any memory of the event. She has a vague notion of terrorism, mostly from airport security measures, and she knows about the war, but she has no sense of the horror of that day.

I was born the year that both Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy were assassinated. I’ve often wondered what it was like for my parents, feeling like the world was falling to pieces around them, and trying to decide how they would one day describe it to me. I suppose my grandparents had the same feeling about Pearl Harbor, and how they would make my parents understand the horror of the attack.

Of course, for both of my kids, the Towers will always be gone, just as for me, Dr. King has always been killed. It’s not just the big tragedies of life that pass into history, it’s also the little things, but the tragedies seem so much more important.

I’m glad, in a way, that there are years between the events and the telling. There’ll be a lot of seasons in which to figure out how to tell them.

January 7, 2007. books for kids. 9 comments.