Grades 3 - 7
Grade level Equivalent: 6
Lexile® Measure: 800L
Guided Reading: Z
- Historical Fiction
- Middle School
- Family Life
- Cold War
- 1960s America
- Friends and Friendship
About This Book
From National Book Award finalist Deborah Wiles, the remarkable story of one unforgettable girl, amid the sights and sounds of the early 1960s.
It's 1962, and it seems everyone is living in fear. Eleven-year-old Franny Chapman lives with her family in Washington, D.C., and can feel the fear of the nation in the days surrounding the Cuban Missile Crisis. Amid the pervading 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 life-changing week.
From award-winning author Deborah Wiles, this first entry in the Sixties Trilogy tells the story of one girl with insight, warmth, and hope, set against the backdrop of one of the most politically and culturally defining periods in history.
Documentary novel featuring photos, news, and songs of the time.
I am eleven years old and I am invisible.
I am sitting at my desk, in my classroom, on a perfect autumn afternoon — Friday, October 19, 1962. My desk is on the farthest row, next to the windows. I squint into the sunshine and watch a brilliant gold leaf fall from a spindly tree by the sidewalk, and then I open Makers of America to page 47 because it's social studies time, I love social studies, love everything about it, and most of all love to read aloud.
Praise for Countdown:
“Many readers will find this on their own, but adults who read bits and pieces aloud will hook kids, who’ll eagerly await the next installments.” — Starred review, Booklist
“The larger story . . . told here in an expert coupling of text and design, is how life endures, even triumphs, no matter how perilous the times.” — Starred review, The Horn Book
Countdown "has a striking scrapbook feel, with ingeniously selected and placed period photographs, cartoons, essays, song lyrics, quotations, advertisements and “duck and cover” instructions interspersed through the narrative. References to duct tape (then newly invented), McDonald’s and other pop culture lend authenticity to the phenomenal story of the beginnings of radical change in America.” — Starred review, Kirkus Reviews
“This story is sure to strike a chord with those living through tough times today.” — Starred review, Publisher’s Weekly
"Wiles scores with both context and character.” — Chicago Tribune
“An extraordinary new book . . . Put this middle grade novel on your MUST read list.” — Lynn Rutman, Booklist Online/Bookends
“Wiles has created a new way of experiencing history in the pages of a novel. Her achievement makes this book a must buy for school libraries all across the country regardless of age.” — Ed Spicer, SpicyReads
“Whatever it is, I loved it.” — Monica Edinger, Educating Alice