“I still don’t understand. How can ‘history be alive’?”

Towers Falling

A powerful novel by award-winning author Jewell Parker Rhodes set fifteen years after the 9/11 attacks.

When her fifth-grade teacher hints that a series of lessons about home and community will culminate with one big answer about two tall towers once visible outside their classroom window, Dèja can’t help but feel confused. She sets off on a journey of discovery, with new friends Ben and Sabeen by her side. But just as she gets closer to answering big questions about who she is, what America means, and how communities can grow (and heal), she uncovers new questions, too. Like, why does Pop get so angry when she brings up anything about the towers? Award-winning author Jewell Parker Rhodes tells a powerful story about young people who weren’t alive to witness this defining moment in history, but begin to realize how much it colors their every day.

As the fifteenth anniversary of September 11th nears, Towers Falling explores the thought-provoking question of how kids born after 2001 can find meaning in events they have no personal memory of, but which still have a monumental impact on their families, educators, and communities. In the tradition of her revered body of middle grade work including Ninth Ward, Sugar, and Bayou Magic, once again Jewell Parker Rhodes deftly weaves historical and socio-political layers into a story that is at its heart about friendship, family, and finding your way in a complicated world.

Want to own an autographed copy of Towers Falling? Order one straight from Jewell!



Introducing Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes


Recognition and Accolades awarded to Towers Falling

2019 Louisiana Young Readers Choice List

State Library of Louisiana

Rhode Island Children’s Book Award Nominee

Rhode Island Children’s Book Award

Maryland’s Black-Eyed Susan Award Nominee

Baltimore County Public Library

Keystone to Reading Elementary Book Award for Intermediate School Nominee 

Keystone State Reading Associaiton

Maine Student Book Award

Maine Library Association

Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List

Texas Library Association

Books Matter Book of the Month: January 2017

Anti-Defamation League

Capitol Choices List

Capitol Choices

Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People Selection

Children’s Book Council

Notable Books for a Gobal Society Winner

International Reading Association

Best Young Adult Books of 2016

Seventeen Magazine

Mirrors & Window Winner

Books Inc.

2016 Nerdies: Middle Grade Fiction Winner

Nerdy Book Club

Junior Library Guild Selection

Junior Library Guild

Best Books of the Month July 2016: Ages 9-12


Summer Kids’ Indie Next List


The Best Kid Lit on Bias, Diversity and Social Justice (Anti Defamation League)

Books Matter


Words of praise for Towers Falling from the press and authors

“Powerful, cleareyed… Rhodes doesn’t assume her readers know the magnitude of 9/11; she walks them tenderly through it.”

New York Times Book Review

“In Dèja, Rhodes has created a curious, resilient character whose journey can help other children process the horrible events that shape the world into which they are born.”
Time Magazine

“Towers Falling is a poignant and heartbreaking lens on our history and our future.”
Seventeen Magazine

“Rhodes approaches a complex, painful topic with insight and grace, providing context to an event distant to the book’s audience.”
Publishers Weekly

“Rhodes excels at shining a meaningful, if teacherly, light on tragedy—as she did for Hurricane Katrina in Ninth Ward (2010)—and instructors and librarians will appreciate her sensitive but candid approach to the September 11 attacks, as well as her diverse cast of characters.”
Linda Sue Park, NY Times Bestselling author


Interviews and articles on Towers Falling

Towers Falling NCTE Teachers’ Guide

Leap Into Reading: Examining September 11 Through a Multifaceted Literate Ecosystem

School Library Connection

Remembering 9/11 with Author Jewell Parker Rhodes

MackinVIA Community

Jewell Parker Rhodes Interview

Texas Bluebonnet Award

Towers Falling Author Jewell Parker Rhodes on Writing for Children, Diversity in Lit, and How Books Can Heal

Barnes & Noble

Ep. #22 — Interview with Jewell Parker Rhodes

Overdrive Professional Book Nerds

Teaching Sept. 11 To Students Who Were Born After The Attacks Happened


‘Towers Falling’: An Author Explores Challenges In Teaching 9/11

Here & Now

Jewell Parker Rhodes Talks With Roger

The Horn Book

Towers Falling Jewell Parker Rhodes Interview

VOA American Cafe

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