In 1962 something happened in the world that was pretty scary, something we now call The Cuban Missile Crisis. The crisis happened when the Soviet Union (USSR) started to secretly build missile launching sites in Cuba. US spy planes found out about this. President Kennedy went on television and announced a naval blockade around Cuba to keep the missiles from getting delivered to the sites in Cuba. He also said that if the USSR launched one of the missiles, the US would fire back, “if you bomb us, we’ll bomb you.” The problem was that the missiles were nuclear missiles…so if anybody bombed anybody, lots and lots of people would die. Luckily, the ships carrying the missiles turned around before they got to Cuba and neither side launched any missiles.
For about two weeks, though, nobody really knew how the standoff would turn out. People, even the grown-ups, were pretty scared. Countdown is the story of 11 year-old Franny and what it was like for her to live through this time, because even without the threat of missiles, a kid’s life can be tough sometimes. Franny feels ignored and left out — her teacher keeps skipping her (even though she’s a good reader), her best friends doesn’t seem to want to hang out with her anymore, her sister is being secretive and distant, her mom is short-tempered and her dad is gone – flying an airplane for the President, which is his job. Add on top of that Franny’s Uncle wants to build a bomb shelter in her backyard and she has to do drills at school so that she knows what to do if a missile is coming – Franny is about over the edge!
I loved Franny and watching her figure out how to get past the troubles in her life. ..how to understand that her teacher might not be ignoring her on purpose, how to understand that her best friend might have other things to think about besides her & how to understand that her mom is a person too that has feelings, even fear, that makes her act weird sometimes! Franny finds out that any crisis, not just the missile crisis, can turn out in surprising ways that might not be all that bad. Author: Deborah Wiles
- Countdown Official Website
- Read Chapter One Countdown
- Google Preview Countdown
- Deborah Wiles Official Website
- Deborah’s 60s Trilogy – includes a playlist of all the songs from the 60s mentioned in the book and the movie “Duck and Cover” that Franny had to watch at school.
- IMCPL Info Guide for Kids: 1960s
- National Security Archive: The Cuban Missile Crisis
|If you like Franny and reading about the 1960s, a time that was full of lot of new and sometimes scary things like: the missile crisis, men in space, the fight or civil rights, rock music & more, try one of these:|