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Movie Mom

Nickelodeon Explains 9/11 to Kids

posted by Nell Minow

Linda Ellerbee’s news programs for kids on Nickelodeon are some of the best journalism for any age available today and very important for family viewing and discussion.  Tonight, she explains what happened on September 11, 2001 to children who were not born when the World Trade Center and Pentagon were attacked.

She will give kids their own forum to talk about the events of that day, address some of their misconceptions and answer their questions, in “What Happened?: The Story of September 11, 2001,” premiering Thursday, Sept. 1, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT) on Nickelodeon. The special will air commercial-free and is being complemented with an online discussion guide for parents, educators and caregivers, specially created through a partnership between Nickelodeon and the American Psychological Association (APA).


To help address kids’ questions and misconceptions, “What Happened?: The Story of September 11, 2001,” tells the story of that day and features first-hand accounts from young adults who were kids at the time, including: Lucas, 10 years old when he watched the Towers fall, one block away from his home; Magee, 11 when she ran from debris and was evacuated from her home five blocks away from the World Trade Center; Alexis, 7 when her father, a NYFD paramedic, was one of the first responders; Sarah, 14 when her sister was a passenger on hijacked United Airlines Flight 93; and Jaimie, 7 years old when he was in the second-grade classroom where President Bush was first told of the attacks.

Nick News also assembles experts to take on kids’ questions about 9/11 and its aftermath. Tackling kids’ queries about who was responsible and their motives, sentiment toward Muslims in America since the attacks and the significance of Osama Bin Laden’s death, among others, are: Aaron Brown, principle anchor for CNN’s original Sept. 11, 2001, coverage; Ari Fleischer, former White House Press Secretary under President George Bush; Juliette Kayyem, former Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security; Tom Kean, Chairman of the 9/11 Commission; Akbar Ahmed, American University’s Chair of Islamic Studies; and Bruce Hoffman, Georgetown University Professor and author of Inside Terrorism.

Nick News will end the program with a montage of cards and letters written by kids following the 2001 attacks, displaying, as Ellerbee notes, “under the most horrific circumstances, the triumph of the human spirit.”

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