Mon, Jan 22|
Book Club 8th - 9th grade: Bomb: The Race to Build - and Steal - the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon
Time & Location
Jan 22, 2024, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM CST
Juergen's, 26026 Hempstead Rd, Cypress, TX 77429, USA
About the Event
Coordinator: Lauren Duffy
Grades: 8th - 9th grades
Book: Bomb: The Race to Build - and Steal - the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin
For questions and comments, please use this forum: https://www.thehomeschoolcouncil.org/forum/book-club
A 2013 Newbery Honor Book gives a detailed, suspenseful account of developing the first atom bombs, and the consequences of inventing and dropping The Bomb that effectively ended World War II and led to the Cold War/arms race between the United States and Russia.
Disclaimers about book’s content: This non-fiction book about historical events from World War II describes the ravages of war in graphic detail: People are shot and drowned, and many thousands are killed and wounded when cities are bombed.
Discussion Topics: ethics, WWII
Questions for students:
- What are your overall impressions of the book? How did the author’s narrative style and storytelling techniques contribute to your understanding of the events and the people involved?
- What did you enjoy about this book? Did you know much about this topic before you started reading? What was the most surprising discovery you made while reading?
- The Newberry Award is given to American Literature “for children.” This often means that books which win the award are written for middle grade readers. Do you think this book works for this age group? Why or why not?
- The book covers several key figures involved in the development of the atomic bomb, such as Robert Oppenheimer, Klaus Fuchs, and Harry Gold. Which character or personality stood out to you the most, and why?
- Do you think Truman really saved thousands of lives by dropping the bomb? Does it make it better or worse now knowing what we know now about how terrible the bomb’s effects were?
- This book sheds light on the ethical dilemmas faced by scientists and government officials during the Manhattan Project. How do you think the book portrays the moral complexities of developing such a powerful weapon? In your opinion, is it ever fair to justify using such a weapon at such a terrible cost?
- If you were Harry Gold, would you have tried harder to get out of being a spy?
- Toward the end of the book, President Truman seems to thirst for increased bombs. Why do you think that is?
- Do you think Lewis Strauss had another reason for wanting Oppenheimer out of the way?
- What is collateral damage? How do you feel about it? Is it ever justified?
- Do you think Oppenheimer gave secrets to the Russians? Why or why not?
- A work of fiction usually includes a character we can identify as a protagonist and someone as the antagonist (or even the villain). Even though this is a work of non-fiction, do you think the book follows this tradition? If so, who or what is the protagonist and antagonist?
- This book includes a mix of personal stories, scientific explanations, and historical context. Which part of the book did you find the most captivating, and why?
- If you had 30 seconds to convince someone to read this book, what would you tell them?
Materials students need to bring: Novel and pencils.
Activity, craft, or game: The students will work together to complete a timeline based on major historical events in the book. If time allows, students will complete a code-breaking challenge inspired by the Enigma Code during World War II. This will allow the students to experience the importance of cryptography during historical events.
8th- 9th grade