Hello and welcome to Scholastic Booktalks where we recommend brand new Scholastic books that we think you will love. Today's booktalk: Countdown by Deborah Wiles.
It's October 1962 and America and Russia are on the brink of war. Russia has been shipping missiles into Cuba and our president, John F. Kennedy, believes these missiles will be launched onto American soil. For 11-year-old Franny, her life could be over very soon.
As if atomic bomb drills at school weren't bad enough, Franny has her family to deal with too. Her little brother Drew is so perfect and never gets in trouble. He carries a book about atoms around with him wherever he goes and thinks he's going to grow up to be an astronaut. Her older sister, Jo Ellen, has left for college and become a different person. She shuts her door when she's at home and won't let Franny listen to any of her records anymore. Jo Ellen has also been receiving mysterious letters from “Ebenezer,” whom she refuses to talk about.
And then there's crazy Uncle Otts who embarrasses the family all the time. He actually started digging a bomb shelter in the front yard!
How is Franny supposed to deal with all of this? And when her former crush Chris moves back after a year being away, Franny can hardly believe it! Here he is, the boy of her dreams, returning just when her life might be ending due to some stupid war.
Why can't life go back to the way it was last year? All Franny wants is to have a normal life with a normal family. But 1962 was the year that changed everything. For Franny and for America.
Countdown by Deborah Wiles
— Jen, Scholastic Booktalker.