30,000 Stitches: The Inspiring Story of the National 9/11 Flag by Amanda Davis, illustrated by Sally Wern Comport

 30,000 Stitches: The Inspiring Story of the National 9/11 Flag by Amanda Davis, illustrated by Sally Wern Comport. Worthy Kids, 2021. 9781546013693

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

Format: Hardcover

What did you like about the book? This non fiction picture book tells the story of the American flag that originally hung over the wreckage of the twin towers in the aftermath of 9/11/01. When a tornado destroyed the small town of Greensburg, Kansas six years later, volunteers from New York brought the flag with them. There began the flag’s second life, when citizens of Kansas painstakingly repaired the flag by hand and had the idea to send it around the country. Each place it went, people told stories and added their stitches. Veterans in Hawaii, civil rights activists in Georgia, and Navajo Code Talkers in New Mexico were just a few of the places the flag went on its journey. Finally, the flag was retired in 2011, on the tenth anniversary of 9/11. I had not heard about this remarkable feat, and was impressed with the diversity of groups whose hands touched the flag.

Beautiful collage illustrations on a textured flag-like background ably show Ground Zero and other scenes of disaster in the U.S., as well as the many hands and stories around the country that participated in the flag’s journey. The images show a diverse country united in healing. The simple text tells the story quietly, with an emphasis on the stories each group would share. Back matter adds detail to the story of the restoration and the people behind it, as well as sharing sources and other information.

Anything you didn’t like about it? There are small banners of cheesy sentiment, such as “The fabric of America remained” which are superfluous. Other than that, the book is wonderful.

To whom would you recommend this book? A great book to share on 9/11 anniversaries and in studies of U.S. disasters, for ages 5-10.

Who should buy this book? Elementary school and public libraries

Where would you shelve it ? 929.92

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA

Date of review: September 10, 2011

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