Interest LevelReading LevelReading A-ZATOSWord Count
Grades 4 - 8Grades 3 - 8X4.459266
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 that the whole country is living in fear. When President Kennedy goes on television to say that Russia is sending nuclear missiles to Cuba, it only gets worse. Franny doesn't know how to deal with what's going on in the world -- no more than she knows how to deal with what's going on with her family and friends. But somehow she's got to make it through.

Featuring a captivating story interspersed with footage from 1962, award-winning author Deborah Wiles has created a documentary novel that will put you right alongside Franny as she navigates a dangerous time in both her history and our history.
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published on May 1, 2010 by Scholastic Press
ISBN-10: 0545106052
ISBN-13: 9780545106054
5 Book Reviews
  • watercolrwonder
    watercolrwonderThursday, May 23, 2019 at 11:45 am44 stars
    This was a really interesting book about the daily life of a kid who is all the time living in fear of a bomb being dropped, yet still going about the ups and downs of an average teenager. It is a cool perspective into this time period.
    • wallagirl02
      wallagirl02Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 1:51 pm
      This is one of my favorite books! I loved all the pictures, they were so educating and interesting. I now can't wait to learn about the Cuban Missile Crisis.
      • b9
        b9Monday, May 4, 2015 at 11:21 am44 starsFeatured
        This book is so amazing! I was hooked after the first chapter, it was so interesting, but informative about our country's past. She is struggling to fit in at school, deal with her bossy sister, and her life. I am not a history guru, but this made me keep an open mind, because history can be great! It was extremely suspenseful. This book taught me about the Cuban Missile Crisis, and how spooky it would have been to live through it. I realized how bad some people have it, and it encouraged me to help others.
        • k-cup
          k-cupSunday, May 3, 2015 at 8:42 amFeatured
          In this book, Countdown, Franny is living through a scary time in our country’s history; The Cuban Missile Crisis. My favorite part of this book was the nuclear air attack drill. I liked it because it was suspenseful and I was on the edge of my seat! This is a realistic fiction chapter book. The main character is Franny. She is 11 years old and lives with her mom, dad, sister and brother. Her dad is a pilot in the military. Franny is a normal 11 year old girl. She likes to read Nancy Drew books, pick out fancy headbands, and complain about her bossy sister and how hard her life can be. I really enjoyed this book because it takes place during a time of history that really interests me. I did a research project on John F. Kennedy. He was President during the Cuban Missile Crisis. I first learned about this scary time in U.S. history while working on my J.F.K. project. Countdown was a great book. You should read this book, especially if you enjoy history
          • messy2
            messy2Monday, October 29, 2012 at 5:05 pm
            awesome you can read about the war