Bomb by Steve Sheinkin

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Written by Steve Sheinkin

(2012) New York, New York

Roaring Brook Press

Bomb tells the thrilling story of the process of building the first atomic bomb during WWII. The story follows the scientists who created the bomb and their struggles, as well as the stories of the spies who tried to steal the atomic bomb secrets.



Lexile Measure: 920L

ATOS Book Level: 6.9

Words to describe this book: intriguing, suspenseful, informative, historical, exciting



CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.6.3
Describe how a particular story’s or drama’s plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution.

Suggested Delivery: small group reading

Reading Strategies:

Before Reading: Have students create a KWL chart about WWII.  Encourage them to discuss their ideas with their reading group members.  This activity will help to start the thinking process regarding what the war was about and what occurred, and will spark an interest in learning more about the topic. Template found here.

During Reading: Because this is a more advanced book for students, it would be helpful for students to have a teacher-created reading guide.  This guide should prompt students to think about what major events have occurred as well as how the characters have changed or developed over the course of the story, or influenced the events.  This will provide students with more support during a challenging read.

After Reading: Have students fill out a story map to organize the elements of the story they have just read. Students should include important details such as setting, characters, plot, etc. This will help students to review the main components of the story. Template found here.


Writing Activity: Have students choose a character from the book.  Students will then write a secret message (as if it’s a classified military secret) about another character or event from the book using that character’s persona.  This will encourage students to identify with the characters and gain a better understanding about them, as well as to think about the main events in the story.


Additional Resources:

This Trinity Test Video demonstrates what the first atomic bomb test looked like and the magnitude of the explosion.  This allows students to visualize what they have read about in the book.

This interview with Steve Sheinkin allows students to learn more about the author and his process for writing Bomb. This lets students better understand who the author is and his interests for writing.

NUKEMAP by Alex Wellerstein is an interactive map that shows historical bombing sites and the effects that the bombs had on their surrounding areas.  During or after reading Bomb students can use this tool to choose either the Hiroshima, Nagasaki, or Trinity bomb sites as well as their corresponding bombs in order to better understand and visualize the effects the bombs had on the surrounding area.  This tool shows the radius of certain effects such as damaging air pressure, crater size, radiation zone, casualty measures, etc. This tool can help students to better understand the gravity of the situations they have read about.

This teaching guide for Bomb can be used to help guide instruction when assigning this book.  This guide includes key vocabulary as well as text-based activities for science, history, language arts/theater, language arts/history, debate, and writing/film.



Key Vocabulary:

  • Ammunition- any material fired from a weapon.
  • Atom- the smallest component of an element having the chemical properties of the element.
  • Communism– a theory or system of social organization based on the holding of all property in common, actual ownership being ascribed to the community as a whole or to the state.
  • Intelligence– In Government:
    • information about an enemy or a potential enemy.
    • the evaluated conclusions drawn from such information.
  • KGBthe intelligence and internal-security agency of the former Soviet Union
  • Physicist– a scientist who specializes in physics.
  • Physics– the science that deals with matter, energy, motion, and force.

(Definitions obtained/modified from dictionary.com)

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