Synopses & Reviews
Fort Breendonk was built in the early 1900s to protect Antwerp, Belgium, from possible German invasion.and#160;Damaged at the start ofand#160;World War I, it fell into disrepair . . . until the Nazis took it over after their invasion of Belgium in 1940, calling it a andldquo;receptionandrdquo; camp for prisoners in transit from one camp to another. It soon became one of most brutal and smallest concentration camps in World War II.and#160;About 3,500 prisoners were held thereandndash;only about half of them survived. As one prisoner put it, andldquo;I would prefer to spend nineteen months at Buchenwald than nineteen days at Breendonk.andrdquo; and#160; and#160; and#160; and#160;and#160;and#160; and#160; and#160;With access to the camp and its archives and with rare photos and artwork, James M Deem pieces together the story of the camp by telling the stories of its victimsandmdash;Jews, communists, resistance fighters, and even common criminalsandmdash;for the first time in an English language publication. and#160;
"In his highly readable storytelling style, Sheinkin (The Notorious Benedict Arnold) weaves together tales of scientific and technological discovery, back-alley espionage, and wartime sabotage in a riveting account of the race to build the first atomic weapon. The famous (Robert Oppenheimer) and infamous (spy Harry Gold) headline an enormous cast of characters, which also includes Norwegian resistance fighter Knut Haukelid, whose secret wartime missions prevented Hitler from acquiring an atom bomb. B&w portraits of key players appear in photo- montages that begin each of the book's four sections. Sheinkin pulls from numerous sources to supply every chapter with quotations that swiftly move the narrative forward. Suspenseful play-by-play moments will captivate, from the nuclear chain reaction test at the University of Chicago to the preparations for and dropping of the first bomb over Hiroshima. In a 'genie out of the bottle' epilogue, details of the Cold War's escalating arms race and present-day weapons counts will give readers pause, especially Sheinkin's final thoughts: 'It's a story with no end in sight. And, like it or not, you're in it.' A must-read for students of history and science. Ages 10 up. (Sept.) Ã¢Â–" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
In December of 1938, a chemist in a German laboratory made a shocking discovery: When placed next to radioactive material, a Uranium atom split in two. That simple discovery launched a scientific race that spanned 3 continents. In Great Britain and the United States, Soviet spies worked their way into the scientific community; in Norway, a commando force slipped behind enemy lines to attack German heavy-water manufacturing; and deep in the desert, one brilliant group of scientists was hidden away at a remote site at Los Alamos. This is the story of the plotting, the risk-taking, the deceit, and genius that created the world's most formidable weapon. This is the story of the atomic bomb.
Bomb by award-winning author Steve Sheinkin, is a 2012 National Book Awards finalist for Young Peoples Literature, a 2012 Washington Post Best Kids Books of the Year title, and a 2013 Newbery Honor book.
This absorbing and captivating nonfiction account (with never-before-published photographs) offers readers an in-depth anthropological and historical look into theand#160;lives of those who suffered and survived Breenkdonk concentration camp during the Holocaust of World Warand#160;II.and#160;
Newbery medalist and nonfiction master Russell Freedman recounts the true story of the White Rose, a group of students in Nazi Germany who were active undercover agents of the resistance movement against Hitler and his regime. The narrative focuses on Hans and Sophie Scholl: their early adherence to Hitler Youth, their growing willingness to question, their leaflet campaign to encourage German youth to resist, and their eventual execution.
About the Author
Steve Sheinkin is the award-winning author of several fascinating books on American history, including The Notorious Benedict Arnold, which won the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults and the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award for nonfiction. His recent book Bomb was a Newbery Honor Book, National Book Award finalist, and winner of the Sibert Award as well as the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults. He lives in Saratoga Springs, NY.
Reading Group Guide
Science/Technical Writing: Read aloud with your students, chapters: The U Business (p. 13-17), The Gadget (p.97-102), and Epilogue (p. 231-232). If youre using this in an English class, you may wish to share with students supplemental materials that explain fission and fusion (ex: www.icanw.org has materials or your school science texts). Tell your students that they are now spies and it is their job to write a one page report summarizing the key steps to the workings of an atom bomb and hydrogen bomb, including a sketched diagram of the process with accurate labeling. Let students know they will be assessed on their use of technical vocabulary, consistent formal tone, and organization of the report. RI.4, W.4, W.2, WHST.2, WHST.4, RST.4, RST.7
History: Assign students to read and analyze primary sources. Discuss with students the impact the reading of these primary sources has on their understanding of the situations as related by Sheinkin. Example sources and sample questions to consider are provided below.
Language Arts/Theater: Before reading, assign students a key historical figure from the book. A list of people you might consider: Robert Oppenheimer, Albert Einstein, Otto Hahn, Lise Meitner, Eugene Wigner, Leo Szilard, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Knut Haukelid, Leslie Groves, Enrico Fermi, Jens Poulsson, Robert Serber, Harry Truman, Dorothy McKibben, Richard Feynman, Moe Berg, Paul Tibbets. After reading the book, students will write and perform a monologue as their assigned historical figure. Every monologue will begin with the same first sentence, “The United States wouldnt have succeeded without me!” Instruct students to keep notes throughout their reading of key details, phrases, and situations they can use in their monologue to show how that person was instrumental and his/her emotional reaction to the success. The tone should be persuasive, but also reflect the mood of the person at the end of the war. RI.1, RI.2, W.1, W.4, SL.4, SL.6, L.6
History/Language Arts: Sheinkin quotes Robert Oppenheimer, “The safety of this nation,“ he insisted, “cannot lie wholly or even primarily in its scientific or technical prowess. It can be based only on making future wars impossible” (214). Sheinkin writes, “He believed the nation should stop building bombs” (214). Assign students to write an essay agreeing or disagreeing with Oppenheimer. They should support their argument in part by referencing their knowledge of atomic warfare, quoting people from the book, and the primary sources read in class or found during their own research. W.1, W.4, W.7, W.8, W.9, WHST.1, WHST.4, WHST.7, WHST.8, WHST.9
Debate: Sheinkin explores several reasons American scientists and citizens felt justified in spying for the KGB. Have students use the text and outside resources to list reasons for and against spying in this situation. Set up a fishbowl debate where students can tag each other in so many students can partake. SL.1, SL.3, SL.4, RI.1, RI.3, RH.1
Writing/Film: In the acknowledgments section of the book, Sheinkin writes of a conversation with his editor, “We were discussing an article wed both read about an obscure World War II spy, and gradually that grew into the idea of doing an ambitious global thriller about the birth of the bomb” (260). Which elements and techniques used by Sheinkin in this book develop the thriller pacing and tone he set out to achieve? Compare the novel to the movie, Fat Man and Little Boy. Discuss the techniques the movie uses to engage the viewer. Discuss the differences between the two interpretations and your expectations of them. RI.3, RI.4, RI.5, RH.5, RH.6, SL.1, SL.2