Yusuf Azeem is not a hero like his dad who talked down a gun man in their small-town A-Z Dollar Store. But his dad’s heroism doesn’t prevent him from getting worsening hateful notes in his locker telling him to “Go Home.” Yusuf and his friend Danial had expected that this would be their year — their entry into middle school and a chance to compete in a robotics contest. However, when some of the townspeople, including a group called the Patriot Sons try to stop the construction of their town’s mosque and begin to target Yusuf and other Muslims in the community, they are forced to take a stand.
On this list you’ll find September 11 stories for tweens told from the perspectives of NYC residents, an Afghan boy, a Pakistani-American boy, a 9/11 firefighter’s daughter, and many more. One thing I love is that these books aren’t all dire stories without joy. They also still discuss the experience of being a middle schooler, finding good friends, and crushing on other kids.