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on September 11, 2005
My daughter was only 3 months old on 9/11 and with the 4th anniversary of the tragedy upon us, I am at a loss as how to explain to her what happened. I was recently in NYC and visited Ground Zero and St. Paul's Chapel. The author of this book was seated at a table in the Chapel but I was a bit overwhelmed by the memorials and the enormity of what had happened there to pay her much attention. On our way out I noticed the book again and thought it might be the way to make my daughter aware of the awful historical event without terrifying her or making her feel that she is not safe.

As this book explains, the Chapel was built in 1766 and has ties to George Washington and Alexander Hamilton but will now be know forever as the refuge for the rescuer workers faced with the grim task of picking up the pieces so that we could all go on. The author, A.B. Curtiss, tells what happened as gentle as possible without leaving out important details. Another example of the text:

"Two planes hi-jacked by a terrorist crew

Struck the Twin Towers: no warning, no clue!

Who thought it could happen, or knew what to do?

Fireman came and New York's Men in Blue."

I asked about the proceeds of the book and the cashier indicated that all proceeds go to the Chapel, although I don't know if that holds true for the book sold here on Amazon. Nonetheless, it is a crucial historical children's book.
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on September 14, 2010
Many parents of children (too young to remember the events of the day) struggle knowing how to talk to their kids about 9/11... or whether to at all. The Little Chapel That Stood is one answer to this very common dilemma.

The Plot:

St. Paul's Chapel is a tiny historic chapel built in 1766, but it probably only seemed tiny because it was situated next to the World Trade Center. This is a place - made of "bricks and God" -- that has seen some very historic, and nation-defining, moments. For example, after George Washington was inaugurated the first president, he walked down Broadway to this church to pray for the new nation; Alexander Hamilton is buried in the churchyard nearby. On September 11, St. Paul's became a make-shift service area for firemen and policemen trying to save the victims.

Some lines in the book refers to the firefighters who hung their shoes on the old iron fence as they

"Pulled on their boots and raced to the Towers,
Climbing melting steel to flaming showers.
Oh, what gallant men did we lose
Who never came back to get their shoes."

The title of the book, "The Little Chapel That Stood" refers to the fact that -- at the end of that awful day -- not a single pane of glass had been broken from that little Manhattan church.

The Bottom Line:

This book broaches the subject of the terrorist attacks in an honest manner, while avoiding unnecessary sentimentality. And the conclusion is realistically hopeful. We aren't left to falsely believe that all evil in the world has been vanquished, based on the survival of this little building. However, in the midst of sadness and absolute evil - something good transpired. People gathered, steeled their nerves, and did the unthinkable -- they went inside the burning buildings to try to save as many as possible.

For Mom and Dad To Consider:

Many of you, as you sat transfixed in front of the television, made a conscious decision to shelter your children from the horrors of the day. But so many years later, do we still have the same tactics? Do we cry openly about this tragedy? Do we act like this anniversary is too complicated to talk about, considering the consequent wars and politics that - frankly - we don't quite understand? How do we teach our children that evil exists, while also providing hope and security in the midst of it?

If you haven't already, this year might be the time to break your silence on the subject. Number one, things are generally less scary when they are dealt with openly and honestly. Number two, our children need to understand the truth about our history and how their lives might play into the next chapter of the story.

To Talk to Your Kids About:

You are not going to have all the answers, but your kids will be exposed to this historical event at school, on the endless news cycles, or in conversations... so you might as well get talking.

First, try to gauge how much they already know about that happened that day. Gently ask questions to determine where you should start.

Second, talk to them whether it is important to remembering bad events. Why would we want to talk about this day?

Thirdly, talk to them about history in general. The Wall Street Journal, in reviewing A Patriot's History of the United States, wrote, "History is in part a tale of grand passions and great ideas - of conflict, politics, and war - but it can also be a quieter chronicle of particular people following their own sense of purpose or, to use an old fashioned word, virtue."

On 9/11, the choices of thousands of individuals were brought into the bright light of history. How did the choices of the terrorists affect the world that day? How did the choices of the firefighters affect us?

Sometimes you don't have time to really deliberate over a decision -- and the choices you make are the ones that come from the heart. How did the police officers and the firefighters make such courageous decisions, even though they were forced to make them so quickly? What kind of thoughts and virtue prepared them for the role they played that day?

How can we be people of virtue and courage?

(originally published at [...])
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on August 29, 2003
In spite of the devastation of 9/11, this beautifully illustrated book shows hope for better days as the Little Chapel survives amidst the rubble of the twin towers. An excellent reminder for children and adults.
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on July 27, 2008
The Little Chapel That Stood is a well-written historical account of September 11th that is sensitive to the perception of young children concerning those events. The facts are presented in rhyming text with softened, non-threatening illustrations. The content meets several early educational social studies standards, especially citizenship rights and responsibilities. Several lines speak to our social and emotional development, and how we respond to bullies. I am so glad to have this account of 9/11 to share with young children the spirit of Freedom that permeated those events.
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on March 10, 2005
I read this title today to a group of children who were just toddlers at the time of 9/11. They were very moved by the story and the illustrations are marvelous. This was a well written account of the day in New York for children to grasp the events that occurred. The ties of the chapel from the past to the present demonstrate to children that there is a future in America despite that terrible day in history.
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on August 30, 2003
This book is inspiring for both children and adults. After facing the terror and horror of 9/11, there suddenly appeared an image that said, " All is well with me. I braved the terrible attacks. I and many others stand firm against those who would bring terror to our land." This symbol of strength and hope remained strong admidst all the destruction. I felt a miracle in the telling, enhanced by the author having beautifully written the story of the little chapel.
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on September 17, 2003
A beautiful book in all ways; spiritually, historically, and artistically, The Little Chapel that Stood proves that faith and belief can withstand the terrors of a modern day world, engulfed in its own fear and chaos. A must read for anyone strugling to come to terms with the horror of 9/11, especially our younger more tender spirits.
Matt P.
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on January 19, 2004
My sister and I visited St. Paul's Chapel in NYC-- our first visit to Ground Zero. I purchased this book and found it extremely emotional... It gave me a much better insight into 9-11.. Thank you... The line that said "Oh what gallant men did we lose, who never came back to get their shoes"....brought a tear to my eye. Thank you A. B. Curtiss for this inspiring book and please thank Mirto Golino for incredibly beautiful illustrations. I plan to loan this book to my daughter to read to her 2nd grade class - but this will stay in my home library to share with my first grandchild who will be arriving this fall... Sheila Pierri
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on October 21, 2003
The latest A. B. Curtiss book is another literary, emotional treat. A special way to share the experience of 9/11 with children, The Little Chapel That Stood is the story of the resilience of the small St. Paul's Chapel and the symbol of hope it represents to us. Before 9/11, the Chapel stood across from the Twin Towers and when the dust cleared, it remained standing intact, not a window was broken.
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on September 1, 2003
The Little Chapel That Stood was the perfect vehicle for discussing the complicated subject of 9-11 with my young nieces and nephews. The story was informative and inspiring, and the beautiful illustrations captivated the kids. We all learned a lot. Most importantly, when they ask me to reread it, I'm just as eager to read this lyrical history as they are to hear it. What a gem!
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