Book - 2010 | 1st ed.
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"Franny Chapman just wants some peace. But that's hard to get when her best friend is feuding with her, her sister has disappeared, and her uncle is fighting an old war in his head. Her saintly younger brother is no help, and the cute boy across the street only complicates things. Worst of all, everyone is walking around just waiting for a bomb to fall. It's 1962, and it seems the whole country is living in fear..."--Dust jacket flap.
Publisher: New York : Scholastic, c2010.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780545106054
Branch Call Number: J WILES
Characteristics: 377 p. : ill. ; cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Edwamau Apr 23, 2020

This story features 12 year old Franny in 1962. She is dealing with school and social drama as well as her family's changing dynamics during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Remembering this time in my own life (though I was younger) I felt that Deborah Wiles did a good job of giving the reader an idea of the concerns and worry that everyone was experiencing at that time. The chapters are interspersed with quotes, news clippings, photos and other information that was presented to the public during the 1960's concerning the potential for an atomic bomb attack. This is a well done historic fiction that is aimed at a middle school student who is interested in this time period and President John F. Kennedy and one of the problems he faced in his short term as the US President.

Aug 25, 2017

I loved this book. As well as having a good story to it, it is based on true events. This book tells you so much about what happened during that time. It is a great book if you love history. The story is relatable in some parts about her friend and family problems. After every chapter of the story, there are photos, quotes and information about every time period of the story. My favorite character is Franny because no matter what is happening around her, she can still continue with normal life. With all the information it can get a little confusing, so when you read it you have to be focused.

Sep 01, 2015

For eleven year-old Franny Chapman, the world is changing in scary ways. Her best friend no longer likes her, her big sister is keeping secrets, and at school the day’s lesson was how to duck and cover. It’s October of 1962, and soon everyone will be scared as nuclear war looms. Using photos, songs, and newspaper clippings, Deborah Wiles brings this era of turmoil and fear to vivid life, a time eerily like our own. But, ultimately, Countdown is a timeless tale of a shy, bookish girl finding the courage to live life on her own terms, and learning the most important lesson of all. No matter how bleak things look, the world never truly ends; it just changes.

Jun 30, 2015

Man oh man, I have enjoyed this so much it's a little silly... I'm stuck in the sixties but was born in 2000!!! So this book is perfect for me, I love Nancy Drew, I love my record collection, I love the modesty of girls my age back then and I loooove Franny!!! Franny is soooo cuuute, makes me think of me with her lil Nancy Drew collection!!! Can't wait to read the sequel, and this year the third one shooouuuld come out!!! Hope I was a help!😁

Jan 19, 2014

Its actually a very interesting book .With quite a few twists . A good read i recommend it.

Apr 28, 2012

If the words Duck and Cover, Nancy Drew, Sing Along With Mitch and the Cuban Missile Crisis all bring memories of a strange and tense time, then you may wish to read Countdown by Deborah Wiles, which cracks open a small window on that era. Perhaps you didn’t live through that time, but wish to know more, then I would still recommend this enjoyable story.

As seen through the eyes of an endearing eleven year old girl, this book covers the last two weeks of October, 1962. The whole country is living with the fear of the BOMB, and the COMMUNISTS. Franny is afraid as well, but she also has other problems on her mind. Her best friend is pulling away from her, her sister is strangely absent, getting involved in university affairs, and her slightly crazy uncle seems to be ready to fly off his rocker. To top it off, an old neighbourhood boy moves back after being gone a year and he gives Franny, along with all the other Grade Five girls, a definite flutter.

Interspersed into the story are essays on current affairs, newspaper clippings, pictures and catch phrases of the day. Through these we see the evolvement of the Cuban Missile Crisis and catch a glimpse of the ongoing struggles of the Civil Rights Movement and even the early introduction of military advisors to Viet Nam. I was the exact age of Franny during this time period, and felt an immediate attachment, Her priorities are mixed in with these very adult, very real situations. However, this isn’t a story of total gloom and doom, the author has a light, humorous touch and makes the whole Chapman family very real and believable. Told in a straightforward slice-of-life style, this engaging story breathes life into a time when the world tottered on the edge of nuclear war.

Nov 19, 2010

A wonderful introduction to children and teens who know little about the Cuban missile crisis and the fear that families lived through in 1962. Fot those of us who are a little older, this book, like the show Mad Men, lets us revisit our past in a truly terrific book.

kathymclellan Oct 19, 2010

a very fun read, especially for anyone who was between the ages of 4 and 14 in 1962.


Add Age Suitability
Apr 26, 2016

white_cheetah_377 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Jun 30, 2015

Fanatic_Reader27 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

violet_panda_813 May 29, 2013

violet_panda_813 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at Sno-Isle Libraries

To Top