Fatal Faults: The Story of the Challenger Explosion

9781491470770. ea vol: 112p. (Tangled History). bibliog. chron. further reading. glossary. index. photos. Capstone. 2015. pap. $6.95.
Gr 5 Up—A highly attractive design featuring crisp photos, colored text boxes and sidebars, and clearly labeled chapters and subsections sets this series apart. Four American tragedies spanning the late 19th through early 21st centuries are described and examined. With a smooth narrative style, each title jumps into the action while providing historical context. Interspersed with the informational and background chapters are firsthand accounts from various eyewitnesses, providing different points of view on each event. Though not as simple as other hi-lo series (these texts are written at about a third-to-fourth-grade reading level), the appealing visuals, strong writing, and solid nonfiction features make this of interest to both middle schoolers and struggling high school readers.
Weaving together personal accounts from that day, Braun spins a compelling tale of the 1986 explosion of the Challenger and what might have happened aboard the shuttle. The book reads like narrative nonfiction but with a significant amount of speculation and fictionalization (especially about the crew before and at the time of the explosion); informative supplementary matter adds value. Reading list, timeline. Bib., glos., ind.

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