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Ground Zero

Two kids. One devastating day.

September 11, 2001. New York City. Nine year old Brandon goes to work with his dad on the 107th floor of the World Trade Center. Out of nowhere an airplane slams into the tower, creating a fiery nightmare of terror and confusion that threatens everyone in the building. Can Brandon survive–and escape?

September 11, 2019. Afghanistan. Eleven year old Reshmina has grown up in the shadow of war, but she dreams of peace and progress. When a battle erupts in her village, Reshmina stumbles upon a wounded American soldier named Taz. Should she help him–and put herself and her family in mortal danger?

In time for the 20th anniversary of 9/11, Ground Zero delivers a pulse-pounding and unforgettable take on history and hope, revenge and fear–and the stunning links between the past and present.

Scholastic | February 2, 2021 | Ages 8 and Up

Book Trailer


The plot starts at a heart-pounding pace and never relents…A contemporary history lesson with the uplifting message that humanity’s survival depends on us working for, not against, one another. A must-have.

—School Library Journal - STARRED REVIEW

With his signature accessibility and insight, Gratz tackles events on both U.S. soil and abroad in Ground Zero….. Ground Zero will appeal to middle-grade readers, who were born after the events of 9/11, and to those adults who lived through it and will never forget.


Gratz moves back and forth between the two narratives in short, nail-biting chapters that create a vivid picture of each setting and make readers feel invested in each character’s relationships and choices, and in the high-stakes global forces that affect the intimate details of their lives.

—Horn Book

Gratz’s deeply moving writing paints vivid images of the loss and fear of those who lived through the trauma of 9/11.


This tautly paced novel explores the events of that tragedy and the subsequent American response through two parallel story lines.

—Publishers Weekly


#1 New York Times Bestseller!
ABA Indie Bestseller List
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USA Today Bestseller List

2021-2022 Junior Tome Society It List Best of the Month – February 2021
2021-2022 Lectio Book Award Nominee 2021 Children’s Top 20 Best Books of the Year So Far
2021 Grateful American Book Prize