Ben Mikaelsen Countdown

ISBN 13: 9780786802524

Countdown

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9780786802524: Countdown
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In two parallel stories, a fourteen-year-old boy who is NASA's first Junior Astronaut and a fourteen-year-old Maasai herder in Kenya both edge into maturity while questioning their family traditions.

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About the Author:

Ben Mikaelsen is the award-winning author of many books for children, includingPetey, Countdown, Rescue Josh McGuire, Stranded, andSparrow Hawk Red. He lives in Bozeman, Montana.

From Booklist:

Gr. 6^-9. In earlier novels, Mikaelsen explored settings as diverse as the Montana mountains and the Florida Keys, providing challenges for his characters and such rich descriptions readers could easily imagine themselves in the story. In Countdown, widely disparate settings increase the dramatic contrast between the lives of two 14-year-old boys: Vincent Ole Tome, who lives in a remote village in Kenya, and Elliot Schroeder, at home in the high-tech environment of the Johnson Space Center and aboard a space shuttle. Readers soon discover that the boys are very much alike. Each boy is in conflict with his father and must choose between accepting an expected way of life and following his dream. Mr. Schroeder resents Elliot's wanting to leave the family ranch and become a pilot. When Elliot is selected to become NASA's first junior astronaut, the chasm between father and son widens. Vincent wants to attend school, but his father distrusts white culture and threatens to disown the boy if he does not become a traditional Masai warrior. The two strong-willed boys meet via the shortwave radio of Elliot's spacecraft, and every night the world listens to their arguments about their religious and cultural beliefs, which ultimately grow to reflect modern-day world issues. It's only when the boys meet in person that they can see their way clear to begin a relationship respectful of their differences. Mikaelsen weaves a provocative message through his novel and blends two fast-paced stories into a single, powerful whole. Suggest this to language-arts and reading teachers, and be prepared for high demand when they booktalk it. Chris Sherman

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Mikaelsen, Ben
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