Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages

This is the first children's book I have ever seen about the development of the atom bomb. The main character is 10-year-old Dewey, whose mother is dead. She has been living with her grandmother while her father is away doing "war work." When her grandmother becomes too ill to take care of her, she must travel alone across the country to meet her father in a secret location, which turns out to be Los Alamos, New Mexico. They live in a tiny hastily-built house, alongside all the other families of scientists who are working on "the gadget," as they call it. Dewey is happy enough, even though she is teased by the other children, because she loves science and inventing things. Then her father has to go away (again) and she must move in with another family, the family of one of her worst tormentors. Of course, over time, the girls become friends. The book is a really good story which gives a realistic picture of what life was like for people involved in the development of the bomb: the secrecy, pride in accomplishment, and ultimately, the questioning of the morality of the use of such a destructive weapon. Review by Stacy Church

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