Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Review of And then the Sky Exploded - coming out in October


Teachers: do you love to read books?  Do you want, ahead of time, to read books that will be out on the market within the next year?  One of the best decisions I made was when I recently joined Netgalley, a free site where you can read and review advance copies of books.  Since I spend a fair amount of time reading and I like finding out what's coming out, this seemed like a perfect fit!

My first choice, And Then the Sky Exploded looked like an interesting historical fiction read, so I downloaded it to my iPad and began reading.

There are a number of things I really liked about the book: it's told from two points of view (love that!) Christian and Yuko.  Yuko is a survivor of the bombing of Hiroshima.  Chris, an 8th grader in the United States learns, much to his surprise, that his recently-deceased great-grandfather whom he adored, had been a scientist working on the Manhattan Project.  David Poulsen does an excellent job of capturing Chris as an 8th grader with all the typical challenges of kids his age.  Although I am not very familiar with Japanese culture,  I believe he captures the kindness and politeness that I believe are part of that culture.  Without giving too much away, these two characters come together in a beautifully touching manner. I found the way they came together a little unrealistic, but I'm not sure students reading this would.

This book really held my interest!  My only reservation about it is the amount of swearing in it.  That may be the way some kids talk, but my students (and some of their parents) would not be comfortable with that.  For that reason, I can't recommend it for 6th graders, but I think it would be more appropriate for middle and high school students.

If you teach older students, keep your eye out for this book when it comes out, sometime this Fall!

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