Ground Zero
Ground Zero
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Annotation: Brandon is visiting his dad on the 107th floor of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 when the attack comes; Reshmina is a girl in Afghanistan who has grown up in the aftermath of that attack but dreams of peace, becoming a teacher and escaping her village and the narrow role that the Taliban believes is appropriate for women--both are struggling to survive, both changed forever by the events of 9/11.
Catalog Number: #217832
Format: Perma-Bound from Publisher's Hardcover
Copyright Date: 2021
Edition Date: 2021
Pages: 304 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-338-24575-9 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-8163-1
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-338-24575-2 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-8163-3
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2020041442
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
Kirkus Reviews
Parallel storylines take readers through the lives of two young people on Sept. 11 in 2001 and 2019.In the contemporary timeline, Reshmina is an Afghan girl living in foothills near the Pakistan border that are a battleground between the Taliban and U.S. armed forces. She is keen to improve her English while her twin brother, Pasoon, is inspired by the Taliban and wants to avenge their older sister, killed by an American bomb on her wedding day. Reshmina helps a wounded American soldier, making her village a Taliban target. In 2001, Brandon Chavez is spending the day with his father, who works at the World Trade Center’s Windows on the World restaurant. Brandon is heading to the underground mall when a plane piloted by al-Qaida hits the tower, and his father is among those killed. The two storylines develop in parallel through alternating chapters. Gratz’s deeply moving writing paints vivid images of the loss and fear of those who lived through the trauma of 9/11. However, this nuance doesn’t extend to the Afghan characters; Reshmina and Pasoon feel one-dimensional. Descriptions of the Taliban’s Afghan victims and Reshmina's gentle father notwithstanding, references to all young men eventually joining the Taliban and Pasoon's zeal for their cause counteract this messaging. Explanations for the U.S. military invasion of Afghanistan in the author’s note and in characters’ conversations too simplistically present the U.S. presence.Falters in its oversimplified portrayal of a complicated region and people. (author’s note) (Fiction. 9-12)
School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 4-7 Gratz ( Refugee ) writes a searing indictment of America's involvement in Afghanistan, told through two gripping parallel narratives. On September 11, 2001, nine-year-old Brandon accompanies his father to his job at New York City's World Trade Center. The two are separated during the ensuing terrorist attack, and, with help from others, Brandon survives. Eighteen years later, 11-year-old Reshmina, living in a remote Afghan village, sees her country and family devastated by the Taliban and the U.S. military, despite both armies' claims of protection. Brandon's and Reshmina's lives intertwine in a fateful encounter that challenges America's policies as well as its presence in Afghanistan, and puts a human face on the resulting suffering. Vivid details immerse readers in the two disparate settings. The plot starts at a heart-pounding pace and never relents: Brandon and Reshmina's lives are in danger at every turn. In a superbly structured plot, the two protagonists experience similar perils, and both respond with determination and hope. Gratz provides readers with a brief history of Afghanistan and its occupation by foreign powers. Speaking through Reshmina, he concludes "the United States had surely destroyed Afghanistan." The book includes extensive back matter, making it an excellent choice for classroom discussion. VERDICT A contemporary history lesson with the uplifting message that humanity's survival depends on us working for, not against, one another. A must-have. Marybeth Kozikowski, Sachem P.L., Holbrook, NY
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* With his signature accessibility and insight, Gratz tackles events on both U.S. soil and abroad in Ground Zero. Juxtaposed narratives alternate between September 11, 2001, New York City and September 11, 2019, Afghanistan, linked by destruction, death d hope. Brandon, out of school due to a fight, finds himself in the North Tower when it's hit. Separated from his dad, he alternately helps and is helped by those trying to escape the terror they don't yet understand. Miles and years away, Reshmina's life has been disrupted by the terror of warring forces for as long as she can remember, but on this day she brings it closer than ever by aiding a wounded American soldier. Subtexts and well-developed secondary characters give readers fuller perspectives surrounding the political, religious, and sociological factors that contribute to the horrors Brandon and Reshmina are living through. The pace is quick (don't blink or you'll miss something!), its emotions deeply authentic, and the highly visual settings resonate with accuracy. With a moving author's note, pertinent back matter, and a surprise twist that brings the book full circle, Gratz delivers another winning read. Ground Zero will appeal to middle-grade readers, who were born after the events of 9/11, and to those adults who lived through it and will never forget.
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Starred Review ALA Booklist (1/1/21)
School Library Journal Starred Review (2/1/21)
Kirkus Reviews
Word Count: 60,520
Reading Level: 4.8
Interest Level: 4-7
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.8 / points: 9.0 / quiz: 510304 / grade: Middle Grades
Lexile: 690L

The instant #1 New York Times bestseller.

In time for the twentieth anniversary of 9/11, master storyteller Alan Gratz (Refugee) delivers a pulse-pounding and unforgettable take on history and hope, revenge and fear -- and the stunning links between the past and present.

September 11, 2001, New York City: Brandon is visiting his dad at work, on the 107th floor of the World Trade Center. Out of nowhere, an airplane slams into the tower, creating a fiery nightmare of terror and confusion. And Brandon is in the middle of it all. Can he survive -- and escape?

September 11, 2019, Afghanistan: Reshmina has grown up in the shadow of war, but she dreams of peace and progress. When a battle erupts in her village, Reshmina stumbles upon a wounded American soldier named Taz. Should she help Taz -- and put herself and her family in mortal danger?

Two kids. One devastating day. Nothing will ever be the same.

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