Posted Date: 02/25/2021
West Elk School District held an engaging online event that was introduced by Janice Prinner, Children's Event Coordinator at Watermark Books & Cafe in Wichita, Kansas. Junior High students had the pleasure of meeting Alan Gratz, a New York Times bestselling author of several highly acclaimed books for young readers. Students were introduced to his work, Refugee, during their sixth grade classes. His historical fiction novel, Ground Zero, released last week and has been awarded #1 on the New York Times Bestseller List.
2021 marks the twentieth year since 9/11. The book covers past and present experiences as well as differing viewpoints surrounding the event and what followed as a result. Gratz is well-known for writing from multiple perspectives. Students who read his novel will gain insight on what it was like for a survivor of the attack on the Twin Towers, while also being able to understand what it is like to grow up in Afghanistan where experiencing generations of war is normal. Gratz explained to students how he intensely researched, revised numerous times, and put all his effort into the publishing of this book for over a year and a half. Although it is a topic that is covered extensively, it is important to revisit it with readers that were born after 9/11 occurred. By teaching about and opening up to contrasting perspectives by revealing parallel struggles, students can work together as empathetic human beings to reshape and redefine the world that we have come to know since 9/11.