Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Atomic Bomb

The Atomic Bomb

Jennifer Fandel
For ages 12 and up
The Creative Company, 2008   ISBN: 978-1583415559

Most of us have heard about the atom bombs that were dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, but do we know what an atom bomb actually is, and do we know anything about the people who created the first weapons of this kind? This is the story about how those groundbreaking weapons were built and this is, in particular, the story of the man who was largely responsible for the success of the atomic weapons program, J. Robert Oppenheimer.

Jennifer Fandel begins by setting the scene for her readers, showing them what the world was like in the years leading up to World War II. Then she tells us about J. Robert Oppenheimer, a child who was born "into a life of privilege." Often unwell, Robert was quiet and bookish when he was a child. He did spread his wings somewhat as he grew up and ended up studying at Harvard University and the University of Gottingen. After getting his doctorate Robert taught and did research until World War II broke out. Then, Robert became part of a group of scientists who began to work on studying nuclear fission. In 1942 he was made the director of what came to be called the Manhattan Project. Ultimately this program would create the world's first atomic bombs.

In this unique book the author tells a compelling story. Readers will come to see what drove scientists to create the bomb, and how much nuclear weapons subsequently changed the world. To accompany the main text there are numerous annotated photographs. These provide background information about the times being described, and they show readers what was happening in the world in the years before, during and after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

This is one of the titles in the What in the World? series.