Some Kids Left Behind: A Survivor’s Fight for Health Care in the Wake of 9/11

Apollo. Aug. 2021. 272p. ISBN 9781948062626. $24.99. SOC SCI
Nearly three thousand students at Stuyvesant High School in lower Manhattan witnessed firsthand the collapse of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center—only three blocks away from the school—on September 11, 2001. On October 9, 2001, less than a month later, federal environmental officials told these students to return to school in the building and falsely promised that there was no health risk in breathing the air, which still emitted a foul odor and contained dust and debris. Nordstrom, who was a senior at Stuyvesant in the fall of 2001, has written a powerful memoir about the experience that’s also a call to advocacy. Feeling there should be federal assistance available to take care of her own asthmatic condition, exacerbated by the air quality, Nordstrom investigated and found that many other former classmates at Stuyvesant were also suffering from the effects of the post-9/11 air, including some who later developed terminal cancer, as she describes here. She has become an influential spokesperson and advocate for affordable health care for her fellow students and for other people whom she feels the government has misled and overlooked.
VERDICT Nordstrom’s detailed narrative offers a balance of seriousness and humor that will enlighten and inspire readers; it belongs on the shelves of every public and school library..
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