Thursday, June 9, 2011

The First of The Sixties Trilogy

The Scholastic Channel, (2010). Countdown a new documentary novel by Deborah Wiles [Web]. Available from

Countdown by Deborah Wiles, (2010)

Interesting Fact: This historical fiction narrative is set in Washington D.C. during the period of 1962.  Throughout the book you will find real photographs, quotations, and song lyrics from that time period.
About the Book:Eleven year-old Franny Chapman has a lot to worry about aside from preparing for a nuclear disaster.  Her other worries range from being invisible to observing her older sister’s suspicious behavior, her uncle acting loony, her father being in the military, and feuding (sometimes physically) with her best friend.   As Franny tries to make sense of her personal life she is also trying to understand the world around her.  President Kennedy has made it clear that there is a nuclear threat to the country.  It is because of that threat that everyone including Franny is in a panic.  At school Franny participates in air raid drills in which all students must “duck and cover.”  One time when Franny and her classmates were caught outside when the sirens went on she was certain that they were going to die!  Will Franny ever recuperate a normal life, one with family stability and where friends are actually friendly?  Will the concern for surviving a nuclear disaster even diminish?
Why read it?Readers can learn a lot about the historic events that took place during the 60’s era.  The Cuban Missile Crisis and air raid drills are long gone now but world conflict still exist today.  Therefore, aside from presenting pre-teen problems that young ones can identify with today; larger issues presented are similar to issues that youth today are familiar with such as modern dealings with Afghanistan, Taliban, terrorism, and war.    

Teacher Discussion Guide to Countdown
Official Author Website

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