Monday, January 22, 2007

The Green Glass Sea

Klages, Ellen. 2006. THE GREEN GLASS SEA. New York: Viking. ISBN 0670061344 [Suggested Grade Levels 4-6]

Dewey Kerrigan’s life consists of one change after another. Her mother has disappeared, her father has been gone for months working for the army, and when the grandmother she is staying with has a stroke, Dewey is shipped across the country to her father. Set in 1943, against the backdrop of a town that doesn’t exist, and the creation of a “gadget” that no one can discuss, this story focuses on an 11-year-old-girl’s need for human connection during difficult times. Readers may not understand the feeling of living in a country at war, but those who have been the new kid in town will recognize Dewey’s anxiety masquerading as false bravado, and her obsession with the one thing she feels connected to, her treasured radio. Dewey façade crumbles when her father is suddenly killed, and she is forced to acknowledge that she needs a family. The significance of the setting in Los Alamos, New Mexico, and the fact that “the gadget” is the atomic bomb will intrigue historical fiction readers and Dewey’s emotional journey will resonate with those struggling to find connection in their own lives.

Trace Dewey’s route from her home in St. Louis to Los Alamos, New Mexico. Use her story to spark a discussion about what it feels like to be the new kid. Research the invention of the atomic bomb, and what really went on at Los Alamos.

Other historical fiction about children dealing with World War II:
Giff, Patricia Reilly. LILY’S CROSSING. ISBN 0440414537
Giff, Patricia Reilly. WILLOW RUN. ISBN 0385730675
Zindel, Paul. THE GADGET. ISBN 0060278129

By Tammy Korns

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