Franny Chapman just wants some peace But that s hard to get when her best friend is feuding with her, her sister has disappeared, and her uncle is fighting an old war in his head Her saintly younger brother is no help, and the cute boy across the street only complicates things Worst of all, everyone is walking around just waiting for a bomb to fall It s 1962, and it seFranny Chapman just wants some peace But that s hard to get when her best friend is feuding with her, her sister has disappeared, and her uncle is fighting an old war in his head Her saintly younger brother is no help, and the cute boy across the street only complicates things Worst of all, everyone is walking around just waiting for a bomb to fall It s 1962, and it seems that the whole country is living in fear When President Kennedy goes on television to say that Russia is sending nuclear missiles to Cuba, it only gets worse Franny doesn t know how to deal with what s going on in the world no than she knows how to deal with what s going on with her family and friends But somehow she s got to make it through Featuring a captivating story interspersed with footage from 1962, award winning author Deborah Wiles has created a documentary novel that will put you right alongside Franny as she navigates a dangerous time in both her history and our history.
Countdown Franny Chapman just wants some peace But that s hard to get when her best friend is feuding with her her sister has disappeared and her uncle is fighting an old war in his head Her saintly younger b

  • Title: Countdown
  • Author: Deborah Wiles
  • ISBN: 9780545106054
  • Page: 141
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 1 thought on “Countdown”

    1. I held this book up to the noses of the children’s bookgroup I run. “Does anyone know what the Cuban Missile Crisis was?” I asked. My point blank question was met with pointedly blank stares. I tried a little word association on them. “Duck and cover? Bunkers? Castro? Bay of Pigs?” Nope. It’s funny, but when you think of what parts of American history sort of get bypassed in school, the Cuban Missile Crisis is definitely one of them. To be fair, children’s literature has kind of le [...]

    2. Actually, I'm listening to it and I'm thinking that's the way to go with this book. It has so many cool sound-bites that make it seem so real!This just might be my all-time-favorite audio book! It was wonderful! Frannie is a 5th grade girl living in the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis in a suburb of D.C. While the book certainly is a kid-friendly history lesson on the early 1960s, it also has a story line dealing with friendships and relationships, both within families and with close friends. [...]

    3. Although it evidently has been in the works for years and years, I knew nothing about this book (although I had read the author's other works) until a few weeks ago when I saw one of my goodread friends was reading it. Curious I contacted the publisher for an ARC. They told me it wasn't ready yet and they'd send me a manuscript. Now I don't generally like reading manuscripts and so told them I'd wait for the ARC, but they sent it anyway. And am I glad they did.How to describe it? On the one hand [...]

    4. This is going to be my annual "I don't get it" book, I guess. I'm puzzled by the almost-universal accolades. (Review will be especially long because of Newbery talk.)The writing itself is good enough, though marred in my opinion by overuse of similes--some of which didn't make much sense. "By the time Saturday rolls around, we're used to living like emergency room patients." I have no idea what that's supposed to mean. "I answer as if the pope himself called me and told me I could go." ??? Frann [...]

    5. In the fall of 1962, Americans lived in fear of nuclear annihilation during the 13-day Cuban Missile Crisis. Deborah Wiles reveals the fear and uncertainty of this time through the eyes of Frannie, a fifth grader. Frannie's older sister, Jo Ellen, sneaks off to secret meetings of a civil rights youth organization. Her father, an Air Force officer, waits on high alert at the base. Uncle Otts, a World War I veteran, barks orders at the neighbors and tries to build a bomb shelter in the yard. And h [...]

    6. Who as a child of the sixties remembers siren tests every Saturday at noon, and “duck and cover” drills in preparation for possible nuclear attack? I certainly do! Today, I still shudder at the memory. The onslaught of doomsday prepping and headline news, and the Cuban Missile Crisis, Communism and race riots scared the bejezus out of young impressionable children.“We hope it never comes . . . a bright flash, brighter than the sun, brighter than anything you’ve ever seen. It could knock [...]

    7. Countdown is nothing if not a courageous book to market to the middle school set. Complexly structured, impressed with its own scope, and ofttimes old-fashioned, it is more a test of attention-span than it is a merging of history and fiction. This is not to say I didn't enjoy the book. I did. At times, I truly loved it. The idea of a documentary novel isn't uhh novel, but in the hands of Deborah Wiles, it seems like the most revolutionary concept ever. Iconic images are laid under the lyrics of [...]

    8. This particular book just didn't resonate with me. Deborah Wiles does a wonderful job capturing one family and community's reaction to the October 1962 Cuban missile crisis. What's particularly effective is that she captures it in a way that is realistic for a 5th grade living during that time -- she doesn't get bogged down with all the details but rather presents the fear and anxiety through the reactions of adults, air raid drills, and watching President Kennedy's speech on television. I felt [...]

    9. 3.5 stars. It took me awhile to get into this book, particularly because of the fact that the book switches from the story to pages that contained quotes from the time period, flyers, newspaper pages Even though at first this was confusing and something I was not accustomed to, now it is one of the main reasons that I enjoyed the book. It was an excellent way of depicting what time period it was, as well as it helped to foreshadow what was or wasn't going to happen later on in the story. I loved [...]

    10. Reading this book was like taking a trip through time. The year in which the events took place was my last year in high school, so the songs, the photos, and the quotes were all familiar to me. Wiles does a great job of constructing the story of Franny, a fifth-grader, caught up in the country's craziness during the Cuban missile crisis. Interspersed among the chapters of Franny's story are visual reminders of the time. I'm not sure whether to expect young adults would like this or not. If they [...]

    11. To win a copy of this book go to Alison's Book Marks Contest Ends 6/16/2010 REVIEW:A gripping Middle Grade novel which might also be educational - shh!The first of Deborah Wiles's Sixties Trilogy, Countdown takes a fresh look at a coming-of-age story in the 1960s. Franny Chapman is a typical 12 year old girl, who reads Nancy Drew, has fights with her best friend, worries about how her hair looks, and has a crush on the boy down the street. We've all been there, and hundreds of books have been th [...]

    12. This book was an amazing book. I liked that it started with an ordinary family that was having a few problems.I thought that the character development was very good, I felt like I really knew the characters.The Cuban missile crisis was something I wished was more in the book and all about her life but I still liked the book.

    13. This book overall was a quick read, but it covered a lot of topics, which I didn't personally know about, and is very interesting in my opinion. Something I found interesting about the book, was on how short of a time span it actually took place in. It felt as if the story went by very quickly, as it was very interesting.

    14. When my 9 year-old daughter said, “Mom, I don’t think I’ll ever find a book as good as Countdown,” I pointed out to her that we’d read many books she loved and there would be others. She replied, “Yeah, but Countdown made me think.” To me this summarizes how powerful this book was in hooking my daughter and me as we were transported to a different era. Interspersed throughout the novel is footage of the events that took place during the Cuba crisis in 1962 as it parallels the momen [...]

    15. When I was in school, my Social Studies classes usually ended right around the end of the Civil War, with some information about World War I and II if we had time at the end of the year, and the 1950s onward covered only briefly. I didn't grow up knowing very much about the Cuban Missile Crisis or even very much about the Vietnam War. With that in mind I think this book is pretty valuable for kids to read - it covers a period of time they may not be very familiar with and it does so in an engagi [...]

    16. Not really sure if this would be considered a YA book or not, but as old as I am, I really enjoyed it. Could have been because like the main character, I lived thru the Cuban Missile Crisis, on an Air Force Base (actually only a couple hundred miles from where this book takes place) and the book gives such a true account of what those 2 weeks were like for us. This book brought back quite a bit of what it was like to live in the early sixties, with the language we really used - Heavens to Murgat [...]

    17. I LOVED this book! I find it is so hard to find a good young adult, historical fiction book that isn't focused on WWII and the Holocaust. Countdown, however, did a wonderful job of introducing its readers to the frightening times our country went through during the 1960s. Wiles did an amazing job including historical facts, including SO MANY primary sources, throughout the novel. One of my favorite parts was when Franny was explaining her favorite things about dinner when her dad is on a trip an [...]

    18. The storyline for Countdown follows Franny Chapman's life living in America during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Along with the story, Deborah Wiles includes footage from the 1960s. The storyline kept me on the edge of my seat and, despite living in a different time period I really connected with the main character. I learned a lot about the Cuban Missile Crisis and that time in American history that I wouldn't learn in a classroom setting. I've read plenty of historical fiction but this one was for [...]

    19. I liked it fine, but don't put me on the list of people who are crazy about it. It may have been better if they toned down the photos, quotes, and documentary pieces that interspersed Franny's story. They were earnest and provocative, but they evoked a college art installation more than they did October, 1962. Also, while I knew all of the songs being referenced, and could sing them in my head, and I know who the Breck girl was, I'm not sure a lot of 21st century kids would. Not that kids have t [...]

    20. Unbelievable book! Maybe be one of my favorite books of all time. I have always love Deborah Wiles but I think this puts her up there with Sharon Creech, Anna Quindlen, Barbara Kingsolver. Really an amazing book. Brilliantly done and some of my favorite characters ever.

    21. When I was approached by the publisher to review Countdown by Deborah Wiles, I was a bit hesitant because it seemed outside my normal reading habits. However, as soon as I started reading, all I could think was, what was I thinking?? I adore history (was a history and english major in college), I LOVE primary documents, I love digging into an era, and well, I love revisiting a past era. All that plus more is present in this engrossing story.Synopsis: It's 1962, and it seems everyone is living in [...]

    22. I tried to like this. I really did.The 1960's/Cold War Era story was mediocre and predictible. The characters, especially our protagonist, 11 year old Franny Chapman, were bland as heck. To quote Louise Belcher:"If she were a spice, she'd be flour."But ultimately, the pacing was this book's downfall. The only saving grace this book had were the pictures. Those were cool.

    23. i think this would have been a good book for middle school me, but i didn't connect to the younger characters and didn't have the motivation to continue it

    24. Reviewed by Rusty Key Writer: Jordan B. NielsenRecommended for: Boys and girls, aged ten and up, for themes of nuclear annihilation, and post-traumatic stress disorder. One Word Summary: Sobering.Until reading Countdown, I never really considered the Cuban Missile Crisis, or how petrifying an experience that must have been for the Nation. I came of age during the first Gulf War, when danger was something seen on the television in green, grainy night-cam, and happening far, far away: Sad for othe [...]

    25. I was surprised when I received this novel as part of a GoodReads giveaway for pre-release reviews from , because I had not realized from the description that this would be a children's/YA novel. And, while it may not be as fantastical as the The Hunger Games trilogy, it is equally as stirring and important. Hopefully, it will be equally recognized.Franny's entire life is changing. She is 11 years old and in the fifth grade, poised on the brink of childhood and young adulthood. Her once-upon-a-t [...]

    26. Countdown Press, 2010, 377 pp $17.99Deborah Wiles ISBN978-0-545-10605-4 It's 1962 and Franny is living in a country on its toes. Kennedy has just announced that the Soviet Union has sent nuclear missiles to Cuba, which might be able to reach as far as Washington D.C 5th grader Franny's world is falling apart. Her sister is no where to be found, her uncle is reliving an old war- on their front lawn. Her mother is annoying, her brother is the star child, a cute boy isn't helping, and everyone is [...]

    27. So far, Countdown is my favorite book of 2011. I know it's only been 2011 for a couple of weeks, but I LOVE this book! Wiles describes the book as a "documentary novel," and I think that is a perfect description. The story is set in 1962, and the text is interspersed with images, speeches, soundbites, and songs from the period leaving the reader immersed in the time period. What a fabulous idea! I would love to read this book with my students.Franny Chapman is an eleven year old with problems. T [...]

    28. Countdown by Deborah Wiles (2010)Historical Fiction, 377 pagesWrapped up in atomic war threats during the Cuban Missile Crisis, eleven year-old Franny is trying to get through the fifth grade and live a normal life. However, life is anything but normal when her uncle, dealing with posttraumatic stress disorder from WWII, is having flashbacks, her sister is disappearing for long periods of time and receiving secret letters in code, her annoying brother Drew is perfect and loved by all, and her be [...]

    29. I do love the way Wiles weaves historic events in the form of actual headlines, quotes, song lyrics, photographs, memes, posters, and other memorabilia throughout the fictional lives of her characters. It's like sifting through a trunk in the attic. A 5-year-old at the time of the Cuban missile crisis, I have no memory of the actual event, but 13 months later, the assassination of JFK, left me with such vivid impressions that I now wonder if they were so vivid, at least in part, because of the c [...]

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