Friday, September 8, 2017

The Daily Booktalk: Fact Friday: The Red Bandanna by Tom Rinaldi

The Red Bandanna by Tom Rinaldi. (Young Readers Adaptation) 176 p. Penguin Young Readers Group, September 5, 2017. 9780425287620. (Arc received courtesy of publisher)

This is the moving story of Welles Crowther and how one man's actions can make a difference. When Crowther was seven-years-old, his father gave him a red bandanna similar to the blue one he carried. Welles always carried one from then on. He used it as a headband when he played lacrosse in high school and college. He carried one in his suit pocket when he worked as an investment banker in the Twin Towers. And he wore it on his face to protect himself from smoke inhalation the day the towers fell. Twenty-four-year old Welles Crowther led a group of people out that day, including one severely burned lady he carried downstairs to safety. After he pointed the way out, he turned and ran back up the stairs to rescue more people. He never made it back out but quite a few people credited the man in the red bandanna with their rescue.

Crowther got out of the World Trade Center that day. He could've joined those fleeing the burning buildings and continued on with his life and pursue his dreams of becoming a New York City fireman. Instead, he turned around and went back in. What makes a person do that? Rinaldi tries to give the reader a glimpse into the childhood and too short life of a hero and the story of how "the man in the red bandanna" was eventually identified giving a grieving family some closure.

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