cover image One April Morning: Children Remember the Oklahoma City Bombing

One April Morning: Children Remember the Oklahoma City Bombing

Nancy Lamb. HarperCollins Publishers, $16 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-688-14666-5

Fifty Oklahoma City children, ranging in age from three to 14, offer their memories of and feelings about the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, whose 169 fatalities included 19 children and the parents of 100 others. Though Lamb (The Great Mosquito, Bull & Coffin Caper) did not interview any young people whose immediate family members were injured or killed in the blast, deeming them ""still too fragile"" to participate in the project, those quoted here were obviously profoundly touched by the tragedy and its chilling repercussions. ""`The first night it rained, it seemed like God was crying, too,' said Emili."" Without diminishing the horror of the disaster, Lamb introduces each section of quotes by describing a specific incident or event related to the bombing, conveying images deftly shaped for her young audience: ""When the smoke cleared, the north side of the building looked like a giant had stomped his foot on it in a fit of rage, squashing steel, concrete, and marble into a pile of sorrow-filled rubble."" Cooper's softly focused renderings of children, many in the embrace of a consoling adult, effectively serve as all-purpose, emotion-laden backdrops to the disquieting but ultimately life-affirming text. By so openly sharing their confusion, anguish, sadness and hope, the young contributors may well inspire their peers to communicate lingering, unspoken feelings about the tragedy. Ages 6-up. (Apr.) FYI: Proceeds from this book will help to fund The Care Center in Oklahoma City.