Bombs over Bikini

The World’s First Nuclear Disaster

  • Interest Level: Grade 6 - Grade 12   ·  
  • Reading Level: Grade 7

In 1946, as part of the Cold War arms race, the US military launched a program to test nuclear bombs in the Marshall Islands of the Pacific Ocean. From 1946 until 1958, the military detonated sixty-seven nuclear bombs over the region’s Bikini and Enewetak Atolls. The twelfth bomb, called Bravo, became the world’s first nuclear disaster. It sent a toxic cloud of radiation over Rongelap Atoll and other nearby inhabited islands.

The testing was intended to advance scientific knowledge about nuclear bombs and radiation, but it had much more far-reaching effects. Some of the islanders suffered burns, cancers, birth defects, and other medical tragedies as a result of radiation poisoning. Many of the Marshallese were resettled on other Pacific islands or in the United States. They and their descendants cannot yet return to Bikini, which remains contaminated by radiation. And while the United States claims it is now safe to resettle Rongelap, only a few construction workers live there on a temporary basis.

For Bombs over Bikini, author Connie Goldsmith researched government documents, military film footage, and other primary source documents to tell the story of the world’s first nuclear disaster. You’ll meet the people who planned the test operations, the Marshall Islanders who lost their homes and suffered from radiation illnesses, and those who have worked to hold the US government accountable for catastrophically poor planning. Was the new knowledge about nuclear bombs and radiation worth the cost in human suffering? You decide.

Format List Price Your Price Qty
978-1-4677-2545-3
$51.99 $38.99
Interest Level Grade 6 - Grade 12
Reading Level Grade 7
Genre Nonfiction, Young Adult
Subject Social Studies
Copyright 2014
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Twenty-First Century Books ™
Language English
Number of Pages 88
Publication Date 2014-01-01
Reading Counts! Level 11.5
BISACS YAN025220, YAN025140, YAN025130
Dewey 623.4'5119
Graphics 1-color illustrations
Dimensions 7 x 9
Lexile 1150
Features Awards, Bibliography/further reading, Index, Photo captions, Reviewed, Sidebars, Source notes, Table of contents, Teaching Guides, and eSource

Awards

  • Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year, Winner, 2015
  • Cream of the Crop for Children's and Young Adult Literature, Winner, 2014
  • Crystal Kite Award, Winner, 2014
  • ACL Distinguished Book, Winner, 2014

Reviews

The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“Goldsmith employs a reasoned tone, setting events within the context of realistic Cold War apprehensions, but allowing facts to speak eloquently for themselves.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

School Library Journal

“The black-and-white period photos are an excellent accompaniment to the text. A well-written book about a painful piece of history, this is an excellent addition.” —School Library Journal

Booklist

“With deft, well-researched precision, Goldsmith explores the ethical implications of nuclear testing….A stirring addition to any classroom discussion about the environment.” —Booklist

Author: Connie Goldsmith

Connie Goldsmith writes books about history, health, and science for older children. A recently retired RN with a master's degree in health, Ms. Goldsmith lives near Sacramento, California.

Lerner eSource™ offers free digital teaching and learning resources, including Common Core State Standards (CCSS) teaching guides. These guides, created by classroom teachers, offer short lessons and writing exercises that give students specific instruction and practice using Common Core skills and strategies. Lerner eSource also provides additional resources including online activities, downloadable/printable graphic organizers, and additional educational materials that would also support Common Core instruction. Download, share, pin, print, and save as many of these free resources as you like!

Bombs over Bikini

In 1946, as part of the Cold War arms race, the US military launched a program to test nuclear bombs in the Marshall Islands of the Pacific Ocean. From 1946 until 1958, the military detonated sixty-seven nuclear bombs over the region’s Bikini and Enewetak Atolls. The twelfth bomb… View available downloads →