(Middle-grade reading level, no content concerns)
Rabia, a girl fleeing Afghanistan after the arrest of her father, and Colin, a boy traveling home from London, are the two fictional protagonists of this 9/11 story. They were both aboard a plane that was diverted to Gander, Newfoundland on 9/11. In each case, the two are worried about family and their ability to find their way home. While the true history from the event is an easy setup for drama and emotion, the tale lacked much of what made the true history intriguing. Many of the detail is caught up in the minutia and are devoid of authentic emotion. If a student is already interested in stories about 9/11, this book would be a good pick. Otherwise, teachers are better served by choosing other books on this list.
From the publisher, “Thirteen-year-old Rabia, along with her mother and younger brother, flees Afghanistan and the brutal Taliban for Pakistan. Some months later, they take part in a program that is relocating refugee widows and orphans to America. However, their flight falls on the fateful morning of 9/11. After the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City, their plane is diverted to Gander, Newfoundland. Also on the plane is a boy named Colin, who struggles with his prejudices against Rabia and her family after they are all stuck in Gander. The people in the small community open their hearts and their homes to the stranded passengers, and their kindness might be the bridge to bring Rabia and Colin’s families together.”