Title: The Green Glass Sea
Author: Ellen Klages
Publication Date: 2006
Number of Pages: 318
Awards: Scott O’Dell Award
Genre/Subgenre: Historical Fiction
Two outcasts form a friendship during the creation of the Atom bomb.
The Green Glass Sea is about two girls, Suze and Dewey, who come to live in the “nonexistent” Los Alamos, New Mexico during WWII. They are both the daughters of scientists working on “The Gadget,” a mysterious invention that is supposed to help win the war. Both girls find themselves to be outcasts with the other girls in Los Alamos, but it is not until Dewey comes to live with Suze’s family when her father has to travel for the government that the two girls spend time together. Although they initially do not get along, over time and as progress on the Gadget continues Suze and Dewey realize that they have more in common than they originally thought and form a friendship.
The Green Glass Sea is a unique, absolutely wonderful book. It features two strong, intelligent, and interesting heroines; I loved reading about two preteens who love science and learning. The novel provides an interesting and personal perspective on the creation of the atom bomb. I think this novel will greatly appeal to young readers who enjoy historical fiction, but it is such a great read that I would recommend it even to reluctant readers.
Why I Chose the Book:
I enjoy books about WWII. I also thought that a book about the creation of the atom bomb from the point of view of the children of scientists was a very interesting concept.
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Book Talk Ideas
Taking inspiration from Dewey and Suze’s respective interests in science and art, host a classroom or library art or science workshop. Have students or patrons complete a science experiment or create a collage like Suze does in the novel.
1. What makes Suze and Dewey different from the other kids living in Trinity? How do these differences influence their initial relationship and eventually lead to them becoming friends?
2. The characters in the novel, particularly the adults, must keep their work and lives in Los Alamos top secret. What do you think it would have been like to live in Los Alamos during WWII?
Goodreads (2014). The Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages. Retrieved from https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/149132.The_Green_Glass_Sea
“The Green Glass Sea.” NoveList K-8. EBSCO, 20 Nov. 2006. Web. 21 Apr. 2014. <http://0-web.a.ebscohost.com.catalog.sjlibrary.org/novpk8/detail?vid=3&sid=01472d23-7fa4-4459-9c7e-0a059b61e5b5%40sessionmgr4003&hid=4109&bdata=JnNpdGU9bm92cGs4LWxpdmU%3d#db=njh&UI=153357>.
Klages, E. (2006). The Green Glass Sea. New York: Viking.
Spacebabe.org – website of Ellen Klages (2008). Books. Retrieved from http://www.spacebabe.org/books.html