Nancy Keane's Booktalks -- Quick and Simple

Klages, Ellen.
New York : Viking, 2006
IL 5-8, RL 5.0
ISBN 0670061344

(2 booktalks)

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Booktalk #1

It is 1943, and 11 year old Dewey Kerrigan is once again uprooted to follow her scientist father….this time to a remote area in New Mexico.  When she reaches Los Alamos she finds that everything is a secret…locked doors, many hushed voices discussing the “Gadget”, and lots of places that are signed as off limits.  It’s as if the rest of the world has forgotten anyone here exists.  Dewey is lonely as her father is working long hours and he is her best friend after all.  He’s the one who taught her how to be mechanical and he has always been there for her, even when her mother walked out on her when she was just a baby.  So Dewey is left to fend for herself among the other kids on base…and that’s not so easy for someone considered a bit strange.  Dewey soon has issues with Suze Gordon, a popular girl who makes fun of Dewey any chance she gets.  And things only get worse when Dewey’s dad is called away and she is taken in by Suze’s parents….can she live with a girl who draws a line down the middle of her bedroom to keep Dewey’s JUNK out of her area?  Will these two kill each other or become friends?  Will the “gadget” work?  And if so, will that end the war?  This is a sweet and sometimes sad historical tale of how the children of Los Alamos grew up under the shadow the war.  It is also a story of two girls who learn that true friends sometimes come from the oddest places.  Be prepared with some tissues as you finish this one.  (Isinglass Book Award committee, 2007-2008)

Booktalk #2

Dewey’s father is working on the Gadget at Los Alamos, New Mexico, and Dewey loves her life on the base, except for the teasing she gets for being tomboyish and different. Girly-girl Suze is lonely too, in a different way. Can the two girls overcome their differences? Will the weapon everyone on the Hill is working on end the war could it end the world?  (Rhode Island Teen Book Awards, 2008-09)

SUBJECTS:    Manhattan Project (U.S.) -- Fiction.
                        Los Alamos (N.M.) -- Fiction.
                        Historical fiction.
                        Coming of age Fiction.

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