On a day that changed a nation, one young man found his calling.
Welles Crowther didn’t see himself as a hero. He was just an ordinary kid who played sports, volunteered for the fire department in his town, and eventually headed off to college and then to Wall Street to start a career. Throughout it all, he always kept a red bandanna in his pocket, a gift from his father when he was little.
On September 11, 2001, Welles was at his job on the 104th floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center when the Twin Towers were attacked. What he did next would alter the course of many lives.
That day, the legend of the Man in the Red Bandanna was born.
Award-winning ESPN reporter Tom Rinaldi brings Welles’s inspirational story of selflessness and compassion to life in this young readers’ adaptation of his New York Times bestselling book.
Potentially Sensitive Areas: Terrorism, Graphic description of injuries
Kirkus Reviews (July 15, 2017)
On Sept. 11, 2001, in the South Tower of the World Trade Center, a man wearing a red bandanna lost his life leading others to safety. This is his story, adapted for young readers from Rinaldi’s 2016 bestseller for adults. From an early age, Welles Crowther was obsessed with firefighters. He spent many hours hanging out at the firehouse, cleaning the rigs, and listening to his firefighter father’s tales. But after graduating from Boston College, Welles decided to follow another dream. He accepted a position as a junior associate in a finance firm. His office was on the 104th floor of the South Tower, but the call of his childhood obsession was strong. He confided to his father that he wanted to change careers and become a firefighter. But before he could realize that dream, tragedy struck. Welles kept his cool but lost his life leading others through the smoke to safety. Based on an ESPN documentary, this slim book chronicles the life and the legacy of one 9/11 hero. Readers of this youth version will be inspired by Welles’ dedication to school, sports, and his family, but they will also laugh at his mischievous side. Photographs of Welles’ life are sprinkled through the narrative. The real-life story behind The Man in the Red Bandanna. (Biography. 9-12)
School Library Journal (August 1, 2017)
Gr 6-8-Before leaving for church one day, Jeff Crowther gave his then seven-year-old son, Welles, a red bandanna to keep in his pocket, similar to his own blue bandanna. For the rest of Welles’s life, that red piece of fabric remained a constant reminder of his special bond with his father while also serving a variety of practical purposes-a handkerchief, a headband worn underneath a hockey helmet, and eventually a useful piece of life-saving equipment. Welles was working on the 104th floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center when it was struck by a plane on the morning of September 11, 2001. Physically unharmed and able to escape, altruistic Welles chose instead to assist an estimated 18 people to safety using his junior firefighter training. To those he helped that day, he was known only as the man with the red bandanna, until, through newspaper reports from eyewitness accounts, his family was able to piece together his final moments of self-sacrifice and courage. At times a documentation of history, at others an emotional journey, this remarkable true story of bravery and heroism places readers directly inside the South Tower as events unfolded; Rinaldi’s writing heightens the senses capturing the smoke, heat, and smells, while also making the uncertainty, confusion, urgency, and raw human emotion very real-a feat not often accomplished in books for this age group. Drawing upon firsthand accounts from family members and friends, readers receive a sense of Welles’s optimism, leadership, perseverance, and his genuine desire to help others. VERDICT Impossible to read without an emotional response, this title is an essential purchase for nonfiction collections.-Rebecca Gueorguiev, New York Public Library
About the Author
Tom Rinaldi has been a national correspondent at ESPN since 2002. A recipient of ten national Sports Emmy Awards and five Edward R. Murrow Awards, he covers human-interest stories across all sports, including his famous feature story about Welles Crowther. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and a native of Brooklyn, Tom now lives in New Jersey with his wife, Dianne, and their two children, Jack and Tess.
Around the Web
The Red Bandanna on Amazon
The Red Bandanna on Goodreads
The Red Bandanna on JLG
The Red Bandanna Publisher Page