A Superhero Come to Life


“The Red Bandana” by Tom Rinaldi is a book about a 9/11 firefighter who wanted to be a firefighter his whole life. He was not able to make it into the job even though he had been trained to be a firefighter. He was trying to transition into being a fireman when he died from the fire. He had been hired but had not yet started.

He was working in the South tower on September 11th. He saved many people. Two of which remember his story and tried to find out who he was and where he lived. However he died saving them. From when he was a little kid to an adult, he always wanted to be a firefighter. On one of his first christmases one of his only gifts was a red bandana and the other was a red fire truck that he rode around his living room. He kept the red bandanna on him everywhere he went.

He had a lively spirit. He would be in the office and before you even asked he’d be like ‘yes, I’ll help.” His name was Welles Crowther.

Wells had some funny stories, especially from when he was in college.

On 9/11 he yelled out to everyone “if you can walk, follow me and bring someone that cannot walk with you.” He led 3 groups of people down 67 flights of stairs. Once he got to the level with clear air he’d go back up into the fire and guide another group down.

They know he saved these people because of witness records and because his body was crushed near the entrance meaning he could have escaped had he wanted to but he chose to stay.

The book was written from the perspective of Barack Obama telling a story to his council of people from 9/11. It was a storytelling type of approach. It was a bit hard to read because it was emotionally intense – mainly intense sadness. The scenes are described with a lot of details that make them feel real. This is for slightly older kids because of the content. I am glad that I read the book though. He was a good man, and, in my mind, a definite hero.