Welcome to the Neighborhood!  Glad you could stop by.

When I was growing up, my mother used to drive me and my brother crazy making lists for everything — grocery lists, chore lists, homework lists, lists of lists to keep track of her lists.

So I’m sure she’ll be pleased to see me start off this blog with a list.

Here are Eleven Things That Didn’t Exist on September 11, 2001:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • #hashtags
  • American Idol
  • The TSA
  • Homeland Security
  • iPads
  • iPhones
  • iPods (!)
  • Parents filming sixth-graders on iPads/iPhones/iPods
  • Today’s sixth graders

If you’re an adult, you probably remember exactly where you were on 9/11.

If you’re a sixth grader, you probably weren’t even born yet.

I can still recall the details of that day with startling clarity:  living in Los Angeles, we woke up to news of the disaster on the Today Show.  I remember standing at the foot of the bed, one sock on, staring in disbelief at the footage of airplanes flying into buildings.  There were rumors of more attacks coming on the West Coast; we could see downtown from our house and kept counting the buildings and watching for smoke.  I remember how the normally busy skies grew eerily empty as no more planes were allowed to fly.  A friend gathered a bunch of us together for a quiet dinner that night.  I remember every face at that table.

It’s still so vivid to me that it’s easy to forget that most kids today have no memory of that time.  It’s as remote to them as the Korean War was to me.

Still, if you’re a kid, you’ve probably heard about 9/11, and maybe you want to know a little bit more about it.  What happened that day, and why’s it such a big deal?  Why do adults get quiet when they talk about it?  Was it all bad, or did anything good come out of it?

What was it like to be a kid that day?

That’s why I decided to write this book, eleven, to help young people who weren’t even alive then begin to understand not only the difficult events of that day but also the heroism displayed by ordinary men and women, the kindness shown by strangers to strangers, and what it felt like when this entire country came together as friends and neighbors.

I also wanted a good excuse to write about a dog.  (Radar says hi.  He has promised to take over this blog from time to time but agreed to let me have the first post.  Watch for him hanging out at Radar’s Corner.)

So I’ll be posting regularly here to talk about reading, writing, publishing, dogs, 9/11, dogs, old people, young people, books, teachers, school, our country, our world, and dogs.

Welcome to The Neighborhood.  Stop by anytime.