Cover image for White sands, red menace / Ellen Klages.
White sands, red menace / Ellen Klages.
Publication Information:
New York : Puffin Books, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 2010.
Physical Description:
337 pages ; 20 cm
General Note:
Sequel to: The green glass sea.
Living with the Gordons in their quiet desert town in New Mexico in 1946, Dewey is learning a lot from her science-obsessed adoptive family, but just as she begins to settle in and get comfortable, Dewey's long-lost mother reemerges to take her away from the only stability she has ever really known in her young life.
Audience/Reading Level:
Interest age level: 10 up.


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
KLA Paperback Junior Paperback Fiction

On Order



Engrossing historical fiction from the Scott O'Dell Award-winning author of The Green Glass Sea !

It is 1946. World War II is over, ended by the atomic bomb that Dewey Kerrigan's and Suze Gordon's scientist parents helped build. Dewey's been living with the Gordons since before the war's end, before her father died, moving south with them to Alamogordo, New Mexico. At the White Sands Missile Range, Phil Gordon is working on rockets that will someday go to the moon; at home, Terry Gordon is part of the scientists' movement against the Bomb. Dewey and Suze have conflicts of their own. Where does a girl who likes physics and math fit in? How do you know the right time to speak up and the right time to keep your head down? And, most important of all: What defines a family?

Author Notes

Ellen Klages was born a in Columbus, Ohio. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Philosophy.

"It teaches you to ask questions and think logically, which are useful skills for just about any job." she says. "But when I looked in the Want Ads under P, no philosophers. I've been a pinball mechanic, a photographer, and done paste-up for a printer.

"I've lived in San Francisco most of my adult life. The city wears its past in layers, glimpses of other eras visible on every street. I love to look through old newspapers and photos, trying to piece together its stories.

"I was at the Exploratorium, a hands-on science museum, working as proofreader, when they were looking for a science writer to do a children's science activity book. No science background, but I convinced my boss that in order to 'translate' from a PhD physicist, I had to ask lots of questions, just like a curious kid. I got the job.

"My desk was covered with baking soda, Elmer's glue, balloons, soap bubbles, and dozens of other common objects that became experiments, and the office echoed with the 'Science-at-Home' team saying, 'Wow! Look at this!'

"My co-writer, Pat Murphy, a science-fiction author, encouraged me to write stories of my own. I've now sold more than a dozen. "Basement Magic," a fairy tale set at the beginning of the Space Age, won the Nebula Award in 2005.

The Green Glass Sea is not science fiction, but it is fiction about science. And history and curiosity."

Ellen Klages lives in San Francisco. The Green Glass Sea is her first novel.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Picking up a year after the close of The Green Glass Sea, this strong sequel finds Suze and Dewey (short for Duodecima) living near Los Alamos with Suze's scientist parents, who with Dewey's late father had helped build the atom bomb. In the aftermath of Hiroshima, Suze's mother has begun organizing scientists against war, while her father throws himself into his work to maintain the U.S.'s edge over the Soviets and "Uncle Joe." This tense drama weaves family conflict with difficult political history: after a Thanksgiving dinner, Suze discovers that the guest her father has invited, an ex-Nazi who is now his colleague, helped run a German bomb factory where 20,000 slave laborers died. Equally gripping are the ongoing, rarely voiced struggles at home, not just between the parents but between the girls and their uneasy rivalry for Suze's mother's attention and affection. Klages has a gift for opening moral dilemmas to middle-graders--she includes (and sources) just enough information to engage her readers without detracting from her characters' emotional lives. Once again she offers up first-rate historical fiction. Ages 10-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Horn Book Review

(Intermediate, Middle School) It's been almost a year since Dewey and Suze visited The Green Glass Sea (rev. 11/06); and "the gadget" (the atom bomb) having been successfully deployed against the Japanese and World War II ended, Dewey and the Gordon family have moved south from Los Alamos to Alamogordo, where Mr. Gordon is working on the V-2 rocket program. Mrs. Gordon, for her part, is working to educate the public about the dangers of the new atomic age, which gives you some idea of the tensions informing this sequel. There is personal drama, too, as Dewey, only unofficially adopted by the Gordons after her father's death, finds out that her long-gone mother is looking for her, and Suze tries to negotiate her parents' increasingly strained marriage. As before, Klages sets her two odd-duck girls (Dewey a nascent engineer, Suze a budding artist, both now more comfortable in their skins) within a story richly but effortlessly informed by details of era and landscape.From HORN BOOK, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.