I was hoping to get Maya to read this for me but she had little interest–so I took the task upon myself:)
I was fascinated and confused by the science/physics of the making of the bomb and can imagine that kids would feel bogged down by this and by the multitude of characters who played a part in its invention and theft.
Most of all I loved the historical characters: Robert Oppenheimer (“father of the nuclear bomb”, a nickname he despises) the physicist who quoted the Bhagavad Gita: “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” and spoke out against the use and production of nuclear weapons. Colonel Leslie Groves, the man who stood behind Oppenheimer against opposition from other government officials . Werner Heisenberg, the German physicist who was working under the Nazis in a race to create the bomb, but who did not call himself a Nazi.
I wasn’t too interested in the spies and secret agents involved in trying to hide, steal and infiltrate the secrets between the Soviet Union, the U.S. and Germany.
I couldn’t help but wonder if things would have played out differently if Roosevelt had not died, leaving Harry Truman to bring the war to conclusion.
I highly recommend this for 6th grade and up who are interested enough in WWII or physics and science to stick it out with the names and details.
Some books for kids about WWII:
The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom
The Upstairs Room– Johanna Reiss
Finding Zasha by Randi Barrow
Dash by Kirby Larson (unusual in that it centers around the incarceration camps for the Japanese in the U.S.)
Duke by Kirby Larson (an easier read for 4th grade to 6th.)
Number the Star by Lois Lowry
The Diary of Anne Frank
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (if they’ve read Anne Frank, they can read this)
WWII fiction for adults you may not have read:
The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer (one of my top 5 favorite books!)
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
City of Thieves by David Benioff
Suite Francais by Irene Nemirovsky