Cover Image: Red Menace

Red Menace

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Member Reviews

The timeliness of the this title's publication is uncanny, given the current social unrest the United States is experiencing.  This story imagines the life of a 13 year old boy growing up in the age of McCarthyism at the height of that era when the Rosenbergs were tried and convicted of treason against the United States government.  The author recounts this socio-politcal drama in microcosm as it relates to the protagonist, Marty Rafner, a 13 year old Jewish boy growing up in Kansas. The country is polarized between those who support the Rosenbergs and those who see them as traitors to the US.  Marty defends the Rosenbergs to his friends and then the conflict becomes personal and his mother is accused of being a foreign national and possibly a Communist spy.

Suitable for 5th grade and older.
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What a comparable title to something that is happening in our life today. I feel like students definitely need to be exposed even more so to situations that happened in the past such as what is discussed in Red Menace. I can't wait to have copies for my students.
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This book is quite reminiscent of The Wednesday Wars. They share many elements: a protagonist on the cusp of his teen years, feeling out of place, and wishing for the simplicity of what life used to be. Circumstances force him to consider his own political opinions and the state of the world at large. Marty is dealing with stigmatization, the reality that once society suspects something about you it colors the rest of your life. Suspicion can't simply be erased. This plot takes right and wrong from a simple dichotomy to a sliding scale. These moral and societal issues are worth discussing with a middle grade reader, especially if you can tie it to issues in the modern world.
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Earc from netgalley

I liked the cover of this book, it definitely made me interested enough to pick up the book. The story itself was okay, it kind of lagged in places, but overall it was good.
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I really enjoyed this book. It is about a boy in America during the Cold War and parts are based on the true story of the Rosenbergs. I knew very little about this period of history and so found it very interesting and have since gone on to read more about the circumstances surrounding the Rosenbergs and what happened to them.
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We'll be adapting this book into a unit study about the 1950s and McCarthyism for high school students.  While the book itself is good for both middle and high school levels, the content gets heavy at times and is fairly mature in its nature - hence adapting to an upper level novel study.  It incorporates much of the history from that era - both political and pop culture (lots of Yankees baseball here!) into a very relatable story about a young boy whose family happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  The ending was a nice twist!
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