written by Steve Sheinkin
illustrated by Nick Bertozzi
Roaring Brook Press, 2023
Grades 4 and up
The much anticipated Bomb: Graphic Novel hit shelves this week. I frequently recommend to Bomb: The Race to Build and Steal the World's Most Dangerous Weapon to students, and the multiple copies we have in my school library are constantly checked out. So I was thrilled to learn that Roaring Brook Press was releasing a graphic novel version of the nonfiction book
Sheinkin pulls quotes and events out of the nonfiction history book to create the graphic novel version. As with the 2012 book, the graphic novel immerses readers in the story beginning with the FBI knocking on the door of chemist turned spy, Harry Gold. The story is told through a series of flashbacks as Gold is interviewed by the FBI. Nick Bertozzi's illustrations use a dark, muted palette to create a somber and serious tone. The illustrations add a sense of excitement and intrigue to the story as Germany, Russia and the U.S. race to develop an atomic bomb to bring an end to World War II. When the U.S. drops bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, pale pink clouds are depicted on the page without words. After President Truman announced that the bombing were successful, the pages that follow show devastation in stark, gray rubble. At the bottom of the page readers learn that 70,000 people died and 100,000 more would die from burns and radiation poisoning in Hiroshima. As with the nonfiction book, the graphic novel concludes with Robert Oppenheimer visiting the President to share his reservations and regret about the atomic bomb leaving the readers to think about the implications of the scientific development on humanity.
The new format of Bomb: Graphic Novel will attract readers who want to learn about the events that led to the end of World War II, devastated a nation, and ushered in a cold war between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. It is also likely to be popular with readers who are already fans of the long form Bomb: The Race to Build and Steal the World's Most Dangerous Weapon.