Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Countdown by Deborah Wiles Review and Giveaway!!
Countdown is the first in a new trilogy of “documentary novels” set in the 1960s- a fascinating historical documentary in a unique style and format. Filled with photos, news clippings, and songs of the era, this novel tells the story of Franny Chapman, an eleven-year-old girl living in Washington , DC , set against the backdrop of one of the most politically and culturally defining periods in history.
It’s 1962, in the days surrounding the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the world seems to be on the terrifying brink of nuclear war. But for Franny Chapman, everyday life goes on. While doing “Duck and Cover” drills at school, Franny must face tensions with her younger brother, and worry about her older sister— is she a secret spy?— while learning to look beyond outward appearances.
I actually bought this book shortly after it came out. As soon as I saw it, I knew it had to be mine, so imagine how very happy I was when I was contacted to giveaway a copy of this most awesome book. As mentioned above, it's a "documentary novel," which means it's basically like reading a living history book. It's filled with wonderful photos, quotes, and interesting facts about real people. While at the same time, it's this beautiful coming of age story about one little girl living during the Cuban missile crisis.
Franny is an incredibly character with a family that is going through some changes. When I was reading the book, I couldn't help but be reminded of one of my other favorite characters from children's literature, Sally J. Freedman. Starring Sally J. Freedman As Herself by Judy Blume was my favorite book when I was younger. I read it over and over and like this story, it was about a girl growing up during a very trying time in history. If you haven't read it....you definitely should. Franny has all those characteristics that I loved and admired so much in Sally. They would be the best of friends I'm sure.
I can't being to tell you how awesome this book is. It's unlike anything I've read before. It's an inventive and intriguing piece of storytelling and best of all, it includes a little history about my fave President, President Harry S. Truman who just so happens to have been born and lived in my little hometown. Give 'em hell Harry!! In fact, it includes lots of history about lots of people. This is a great book to teach kids about history, a subject that seems to get ignored more and more in schools today.
Read this book! I don't think you'll be disappointed, I know I wasn't. It had me from hello (or page one).
If you'd like to try it for yourself, I've been offered a copy to give away here on my blog. In addition, you'll win a cool Countdown branded canvas tote, which sounds completely kickass. I'm totally jealous of the tote.
You can enter to win simply by leaving a comment below. If you want to tell me who your fave president is, or what your fave era in history is, that would be totally cool, too.
The contest is open to the US only and ends on June 9, so enter soon!!
If you'd like to read more about Countdown, you can find the website here. And if you'd like to know more about author Deborah Wiles, you can find her here.