Bomb: The Race to Build–and Steal–the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon
by Steve Sheinkin and Nick Bertozzi
Roaring Book Press, January 2023 $24.99 (hc)
Grades 5 and up
While I only read bits of the original Bomb by Steve Sheinkin, I have read many of his titles. As someone who loves history, I have always found reading his books to be exciting and fun. Sheinkin doesn’t just tell us about what happened in the past but finds a unique way into to the story. So it was exciting to see his book adapted into a graphic novel.
This is narrative nonfiction, so while the facts are true, much of the dialogue is imagined based on the research. Still, the riveting telling gives young readers a chance to see how the world’s deadliest weapon was built and how its secrets were stolen.
The drama starts immediately as the FBI bangs down the door of Harry Gold, a suspected Russian spy. Gold then tells the agents not only about how the Manhattan project came to be, but how the most top-secret project in the country had multiple spies giving over secrets to the Russians.
While the text includes scientific information (explaining the science behind the Atom Bomb), it is fraught with tension as the bomb is being built and the scientists are getting closer to their goal. Sometimes the narration slows down, but ultimately this is a very satisfying read with beautiful artwork by Nick Bertozzi.
The colors are often dark, in line with the mood of the story. But light plays an integral part, in line with where our story is.
Bomb is a great read for nonfiction aficionados and it might lure in fiction junkies to the genre. An excellent addition to any collection.
About Esther Keller
Esther Keller is the librarian at JHS 278, Marine Park in Brooklyn, NY. There she started the library's first graphic novel collection and strongly advocated for using comics in the classroom. She also curates the Graphic Novel collection for the NYC DOE Citywide Digital Library. She started her career at the Brooklyn Public Library and later jumped ship to the school system so she could have summer vacation and a job that would align with a growing family's schedule. On the side, she is a mother of 4 and regularly reviews for SLJ and School Library Connection (formerly LMC). In her past life, she served on the Great Graphic Novels for Teens Committee where she solidified her love and dedication to comics.
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