Friday, September 13, 2019

Fact Friday: Seven and a Half Tons of Steel by Janet Nolan

Image: Peachtree Publishers
Seven and a Half Tons of Steel by Janet Nolan. Illustrated by Tom Gonzalez. unpgd. Peachtree Publishing Company, August, 2016. 9781561459124. (Own.)

Sometimes, a book is so enduring or important that it needs to be read multiple times. Sometimes, it is for a happy occasion, such as my yearly read aloud of The Polar Express, Herschel and the Hanukkah Goblins, or Casey at the Bat. In this case, it's for a more somber occasion. I shared this with my classes this week.

The steel that was removed from the rubble of Ground Zero was claimed by a variety of institutions. In the town that I live in, an Eagle Scout created a memorial next to one of our fire houses using two beams. In the town that I work in, a marble slab faces east and there is a hole in it that allows the rays of sun at 8:42 AM on September 11 to pour through to land on a bit of steel from the towers. 

In Seven and a Half Tons of Steel, Janet Nolan succinctly relates the story about a huge beam that was transported to a shipyard in Louisiana, melted down and molded into a bow that was meant for the USS New York. That journey was not without tragedy as Hurricane Katrina left many of the shipbuilders homeless. 

This is a gut-wrenching story that is stunningly illustrated by Tom Gonzalez. His oversize, double-page watercolor illustrations grab the eye and don't let go. Readers will linger over each spread. 

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