Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Countdown by Deborah Wiles Review and Giveaway!!

Release Date:


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 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.


  1. Uuu, this sounds awesome!
    Too bad I can't enter in the giveaway :(
    Thanks for sharing, this is the 1st time I've read about this :D

  2. Sounds really neat! Please count me in! My favorite eras are the 20s and 60s.

    stephaniet117 at yahoo dot com

  3. I've heard such good things about this. My favorite era to read about is probably the 1920s
    jpetroroy at gmail dot com

  4. I would love to be entered. My favorite era would probably be the 50's. I don't know why I always loved this era, I think Grease had something to do with it though.

  5. I honestly don't know when my favorite time in history would be...probably around the late 1800's and late 1900's?


  6. Awesome giveaway!! Please enter me. I think the 60's was my favorite. Got to love the music!!

    I follow on gfc

    mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

  7. Fantastic giveaway. As for time periods, I really like anything back in the early 17th century. SO much change and innovation. Very cool. Thanks!

    mmill at gmail dot com

  8. Great giveaway! I'm really looking forward to this one.


  9. I think the whole idea of this mixed media/living history book sounds really great! Thanks for the chance to win! I like the WWII era a lot, as far as historical fiction goes.

  10. Thanks so much for the contest! Please enter me. My favorite era in history is Elizabethan England with all of the political intrigue, scandals, etc.

  11. Countdown sounds fantastic! Please enter me in the contest. My favorite era is Victorian England, followed by the 1960s.


  12. I've been hearing a lot about this one lately. It sounds good. :0) My favorite era is the mid/late 1800's & early 1900's. I like reading about the west being settled and the land runs here in Oklahoma. Yeah, Little House on the Prairie was my favorite show as a kid. Heh.

    Thanks! :0)
    librarygrinch at gmail dot com

  13. My favorite era in history is the 1960s. So much happened with the civil rights, and I also love the 60s because that's when The Beatles debuted. :P