The world observed a moment of silence during the anniversary of the horrific September 11 event that shocked the world. The 9-11 terror attack also cast attention on how today's youngsters - particularly those born after the event - have been educated about it.

Most American kids seem to have formed their own meanings about that tragic event in history. While there are lots of detailed information about the 9-11 terroristic attacks on the internet, books made available to schoolkids safely sidestep politics.

Grief and trauma

September 11 is a day associated with deaths, as well as the untold psychological suffering of many survivors and family members who must help them deal with the trauma, grief, and anxiety. In other words, those who witnessed the terror attacks first-hand attest to the ugly aftermath.

Some schools in America do make an effort to instill in young learners the importance of culture, diversity, and identity. Over at Wisconsin, months before the world looked back to recall the tragedy, Greenfield Middle School made it a point for kids to read the book “Towers Falling” by Jewell Parker Rhodes.

In the book, the main character - a young girl named Dèja - hails from a family hit hard by 9-11. Her father experiences post-traumatic disorder following the terror attacks. Dèja's family gets evicted, and they transfer to a homeless shelter. The main female character sets out to discover more about the terror attack. Greenfield Middle School has encouraged the whole town to read the book.

Greenfield Assistant Principal Angela Ruggeri initially had misgivings about presenting the book to students owing to the sensitivity of the topic, but she eventually considered it a good jump-off point for teaching youngsters about 9-11.

Cursory look at 9-11

Most other middle schools in the US offer only a cursory view of the September 11 event.

Before stepping up efforts to educate youngsters about the 9-11 attacks and the effects, many students - particularly those born after the occurrence - had only vague ideas about it. Greenfield's seventh-grader Josh Sylvester, for instance, learned about the two planes that crashed into the World Trade Center. He knew almost nothing more beyond that.

Educators have struggled with what and how to teach students about the terror attacks. The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement in the US has noted the missing elements in the September 11 teaching curricula. It is only now, it seems, that things are beginning to change in terms of instilling greater awareness to youngsters.