Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey

written and illustrated by Maira Kalman

A fireboat, launched in 1931, is retired after many years of fighting fires along the Hudson River, but is saved from being scrapped and then called into service again on September 11, 2001.

The John J. Harvey was one of 12 fireboats protecting New York City in 1931. After many years of service on the Hudson River it was retired in 1995. Rescued by a group of friends, it was completely restored in 2000. Not expecting to fight fires again the John J. Harvey, on September 11, 2001, was needed to pump water for the firefighters to help save the city. The illustrations are colorful and the primitive style suits the text.

Make it Real

This is a good book to use when discussing the terrorist attacks of 9-11. The story includes interesting information about the New York City, the fireboat, and good times. This approach and the leisurely pace of the text make the harsh reality of the fires and destruction more powerful but not too threatening for younger children.

Pat Gramling