Book Review: Seven and a Half Tons of Steel

September 6, 2016

Seven and a Half Tons of Steel by Janet Nolan
From Miss Mary at Main Library

“There is a ship, a navy ship.  It is called the USS New York.  It is big like other navy ships, and it sails like other navy ships, but there is something different, something special about the USS New York.” 

This begins the true story of how seven and a half tons of steel, which had once been a beam in the World Trade Center, was melted down and made into the bow of a navy ship in New Orleans. Many children today do not know the story of what happened on September 11, 2001 and this book will give them a better understanding of the tragedy and what eventually rose from the ashes.

The story line is simple with emphasis not on destruction but instead focusing on America’s power to recover.  On September 11, 2011, the tenth anniversary of the collapse of the twin towers, the USS New York returned to the harbor in New York City.  People from all over the country came to see the ship’s crest that read: “Never Forget.” 

Seven and a Half Tons of Steel is a good example of a literary non-fiction book.  It tells a true story and also includes two pages of facts about the USS New York.  What adds to the power of this book are the amazing illustrations by Thomas Gonzalez.  He manages to capture a moment in history through his illustrations that are both captivating and honest and also incredibly beautiful.  The recommended ages for this book are 6-10, but older children and adults will also find it a worthwhile read.

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