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Seven and a Half of Tons of Steel
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Seven and a Half of Tons of Steel

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  327 ratings  ·  93 reviews
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 special about the USS New York. Following the events of September 11, 2001, the governor of New York gave the Navy a steel beam that was once inside one of the World Trade Towers. The beam was driven from New York to a fou ...more
Hardcover, 36 pages
Published August 1st 2016 by Peachtree Publishers
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4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  327 ratings  ·  93 reviews

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Sep 22, 2016 rated it liked it
My problem with this lovely book is its intended audience. It is written too simplistically for students who are old enough to understand 9-11 and Hurricane Katrina, and won't make sense to younger students. I'm not sure what to do with it.
Vera Godley
Jul 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It has been 15 years since that infamous day in September when America was attacked by terrorists using "homegrown" or routine means - airplanes loaded with passengers - to wreak havoc on three American locations. New York was home to the World Trade Towers and airplanes were flown into the sides of these massive towers resulting in their crumbling into a mass of human death out of which immense strength grew. From this wreckage was retrieved a steel beam, and that is the beginning of the story ...more
Sep 30, 2016 rated it liked it
I get that this is the story of the ship and not 9/11, but I feel like even a two-sentence explanation of what happened would have benefited the book. Also, I find it more than a little...uncomfortable? That we would take a piece of the twin towers and turn it into a war machine. (But that's not the book's fault.)
Anyhow, the sentences are simple, the illustrations clearly support the text. It's an interesting piece of history, that's for certain.
Jan 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: teachers who need to attract their students to non-fiction
Recommended to Relyn by: Show Me nominating committee
Shelves: library-lessons
Each week in library I use one of our Show Me nominated books to teach the lesson for second through fourth graders. I liked this book. I really, really liked this book. So did the students. That's what surprised me - that the students were so engaged in this book. I found SO MANY wonderful non-fiction connections to me, too.

Here are a few:
- about the Navy
- about the Marines
- about battleships, aircraft carriers, and ships in general
- US geography
- Hurricane Katrina
- 9/11
- World Trade C
Sep 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is great! It takes some of our worlds saddest tragedies to let readers know although this was a terrible thing that happened , look how we used what we had left to make good for something else.
This book beautifully illustrations and tells the story of one beam taken from the remains of the World Trade Center and used to build the bow of a U.S. warship called the U.S.S. New York. This book would make a great story to use when memorializing that tragic day.
Sep 22, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: picture-book
This was a disappointment as well as disturbing.
This picture book tells the true story of how a piece of the World Trade Center was used in building the navy ship USS New York. The illustrations are gorgeous and it is a really cool story.
The problem?
There is literally no explanation for 9-11. We see the plane flying over NYC and then crashing into the towers. Then we read; "The World Trade Center towers came down. Almost three thousand people lost their lives." Then it talks about how people wer
For those born prior to September 11, 2001 and old enough to remember, the day will never be forgotten. Everyone remembers where they were, who they were with and what they were doing on the morning of that September day. The attacks and everything tied to them, then and now, are part of the larger American consciousness.

In this year of the fifteenth anniversary, several fiction titles have been released. Of those I have, to date, read two, Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story (Atheneum Books For You
Amy Lafleur Meyers
In the bow of the Navy's warship, the USS New York, is steel from a beam that was once part of the World Trade Center's twin towers. Janet Nolan chronicles the beam's history from the 9/11 attacks to the USS New York's return to New York City on the tenth anniversary of the attacks. One of the book's great strengths is Thomas Gonzalez's illustrations. He is a master at using color to set the serious tone of the story. Aside from the sky before the events of 9/11, most of the colors are a bit mut ...more
Edward Sullivan
A simply written, subtly powerful story about how a steel beam from the ruins of the World Trade Center is incorporated in the construction of the naval ship USS New York. Outstanding illustrations by Thomas Gonzalez created in pastel, colored pencil, and watercolor.
I don't know how I missed this picture book when it was first published, but thanks to a friend's review, I have read it now, savoring the whole idea of hope springing from something horrible. It's pretty intriguing to think that someone would have even thought of salvaging one of the beams from the World Trade Center as the wreckage from September 11, 2001, was being cleared away. But they did, and it ended up becoming the bow of a ship, the USS New York. The simple text provides historical bac ...more
Feb 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kidstuff, history
In the aftermath of the September 11th tragedy, a truck left New York City carrying a steel beam to a Louisiana foundry. There, the beam was melted and poured into a mold which became the bow of a navy ship - the USS New York. Months later the ship sailed up the coast and stopped across from Ground Zero, where soldiers on board delivered a twenty-one-gun salute before setting out to sea.

Despite the unpleasant subject matter, Thomas Gonzalez's watercolors are vibrant and lovely. Though I'm all fo
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Seven and a Half Tons of Steel tells a part of the 9-11 story that I was not aware of. One of the huge beams from the World Trade Center was transported to Louisiana and made into the bow of the USS New York. Seven and a Half Tons of Steel tells the story of what it took to make the beam into part of the ship. Janet Nolan has certainly found a good story and transformed it into a great book for children. Because of the depiction of the airplane hitting the World Trade Center and the smokey after ...more
Mar 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a picture book about 09/11 as it happened in New York City. The Pentagon and Flight 93 are not mentioned in this book. The pictures are drawn by hand and are of such quality that they could almost pass for photographs. It tells in 2 pages that a plane crashed and the World Trade Center collapsed, and then the story becomes about the remains of the building which 7.5 tons of were melted down and used to make the bow of a ship for the US Navy, The USS New York City, an amphibious ship. The ...more
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 special about the USS New York. Following the events of September 11, 2001, the governor of New York gave the Navy a steel beam that was once inside one of the World Trade Towers. The beam was driven from New York to a foundry in Louisiana. Metal workers heated the beam to a high, high temperature. And then, seven and a half tons of steel, which ...more
Cassie Fischer
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book has beautiful artwork and is the perfect way to begin discussing horrible tragedies like 9/11 to younger children. During my observations, I had a third grader ask me what 9/11 was. I was flabbergasted! How did I begin to describe terrorism and mass murder and the heartbreak that we remember every year over 17 years later to an 8 year old?
So I told her that some bad guys crashed a plane into some tall buildings in New York a few years ago and hurt a lot of people. I showed her the pict
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read this book since it was on the State Award list, but I would have picked it up anyway since it is about post-9/11. This book helped me remember that fateful day in September when our country was forever changed. I like that this is a true story.....I didn't realize that one a beam from the WTC site was sent to be changed into the front bow of the U.S.S. New York. I had never heard about this so it was great that Janet was able to research this and write a story to help our younger students ...more
Donna Johnson
Jul 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book tells the story of the construction of the Navy ship USS New York. This ship was built after the attacks of September 11, 2001, and its bow (the front part of the ship) was built using a steel beam from the remains of the World Trade Center. This beam weighed seven and a half tons (15,000 pounds), giving this book its name. This is a quick read, more of a picture book style with gorgeous illustrations. I suspect it is in the 3-5 category because of the subject matter, but Nolan does no ...more
Jun 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Seven and a Half Tons of Steel, a picture book about a steel beam and how it became a part of the USS New York, explains what happened on September 9, 2001 and its aftermath. While the book does not go into the “why” of the terrible events of that day, focusing on the journey of a steel beam from Ground Zero will help children conceptualize the emotional toll it took on our nation. As the beam is melted down and formed into something new at a shipyard in Louisiana, Hurricane Katrina hit. This ev ...more
Brandi Kutz
IL: LG - BL: 4.4 - AR Pts: 0.5
This one made me tear up a bit. It tells the story of how the USS New York was made. The Twin Towers tragically fell on September 11, 2001. Almost three thousand people lost their lives. But from Ground Zero, a truck took away a steel beam weighing seven and a half tons and carried it to the shipyards of New Orleans, Louisiana. From the steel, they created the bow of the USS New York, despite Hurricane Katrina happening that same year. It gives a great story for kid
Julie Kirchner
Jul 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read this a while back and forgot to add it. I found this story fascinating. To take part of the Twin Towers and to repurpose it as the bow of a ship that guides our military through the waters, steering them in a direction of protecting our freedoms, our great country, I just found it quite amazing. It is unclear in the story as to who made the decision or how it came about. I would love a note in the book that explains this. The illustrations are lovely and quite heart wrenching. I am glad w ...more
Elizabeth S
Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful book. Both the art and the story and the telling of the story. We learn about 9/11, about how a 7.5 ton beam was melted and made into the bow of the New York, and about how the ship is dedicated to the memory of 9/11 and New York. I re-felt the deep sorrow of 9/11 and then I felt a bit of peace. Whoever came up with the idea to use that beam for a ship was thoughtful and brilliant. Thank you to the author/illustrator for sharing the story.
Robin Raines-Bond
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This one made me cry. It's a beautiful tribute to those who died and lived and rebuilt lives after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. Remembering Harry Raines, a family member who lost his life that day. The illustrations tell the story beautifully along with the text. It's wonderful to see good being made from such a horrific event. It's a tribute to the resilience and hope of the American spirit.
Mar 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
While the illustrations are gorgeous I believe I'm struggling with the overall tone, and to invoke Hurricane Katrina without featuring a single black or brown face is deeply, deeply troubling to me. I think this title could be used as a tool during discussion about the events of September 11th 2oo1, but would not stand up on its own.
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was an amazing book! Beautiful! How to make lemonade out of lemons. The story of the 7 and a half ton steel from the fallen World Trade Center that was used to make the USS New York aircraft carrier. Great story, great writing, great illustrations! Our library needs to own this book (ILL from another library )
Dec 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-2018-bes
The illustrations in this book were phenomenal! The text just wasn’t up to snuff for me. I feel like the text could have explained more or been more rhythmic. As it was, the text was just kind of meh.

However, it’s an interesting story. I didn’t know anything about the USS New York before reading this picture book and now I’m kind of in awe of it.
Marg Corjay
Jul 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A moving account of a piece of steel taken from the wreckage of World Trade Towers that is fashioned into the bow of a Navy ship. The illustrations are exquisite and sensitively done. This is a book that can be enjoyed on many levels by everyone.
A.C. Paige
Jan 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I wanted some explanations as I don’t know much about ship parts.

Good for 1st to 2nd graders. You may want to have a book on ships to supplement.
Effective and touching.
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