Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Countdown: In the words of a 60's News Anchor...You Are There!

by Deborah Wiles

I don't know about you - but for me - thinking about the era when I was in school as history is a little painful - but in Countdown author Deborah Wiles does just that. 

This is a new genre for the Children's Market - it is being called a Juvenile Documentary Novel. Basically that translates as historical fiction for kids! 

What an interesting decade to look at - Wiles starts her Historical Trilogy in 1962, the heyday of "Camelot" and through her use of song lyrics, news casts, and period locales - puts you in the shoes of 12 year old Franny Chapman...just as the golden boy of that storybook era gets started and makes a huge misstep with the Bay of Pigs crisis. 

Recent history is sometimes not covered in school and the political nature of the Cuban Missile Crisis has made it a tough nut to crack in an unbiased way. Seeing these life changing issues alongside the issues that are important to Franny and her Middle Grade world is a genuinely unique view of the world in the early 60's and Wiles truly put you there. 

The writing style is compelling and drags you into this look at a generation that lived with the noise of angry voices, political songs, the very real threat of Nuclear Attack and Duck & Cover...I look forward to growing with Franny.

Product Description from Amazon:
It's 1962, and it seems everyone is living in fear. Twelve-year-old Franny Chapman lives with her family in Washington, DC, during the days surrounding the Cuban Missile Crisis. Amidst the pervasive threat of nuclear war, Franny must face the tension between herself and her younger brother, figure out where she fits in with her family, and look beyond outward appearances. For Franny, as for all Americans, it's going to be a formative year.

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