The Secret Project is a collaboration between Jonah Winter and Jeanette Winter, the power houses behind such books as Jazz Age Josephine, Right to Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Malala: A Brave Girl from Pakistan/Iqbal: A Brave Boy from Pakistan and Henri’s Scissors. In line with their other titles, The Secret Project, a non fiction picture book, does not shy away from difficult material. In fact, the secret project in this story is the creation of the atomic bomb. It is the story of a small town in New Mexico that became home to some of the greatest scientists, in a race to create the bomb before Germany.
While not your typical picture book material, The Secret Project is well written and beautifully illustrated. The book is laid out in such a way that it would be great for working on prediction skills; you do not know until you see it explode on the last pages, what these secretive scientists are creating. Most importantly, and I believe the reason it was written, it can be used as a starting point for a discussion with older elementary and middle grade readers about war, peace, and the use of nuclear weapons.
Please take a look at All The Wonders of The Secret Project. The site includes discussions with the author and illustrator, as well as a diary writing prompt for children. It is a great resource!