Aliens are Coming! for Non-fiction Monday

Aliens are Coming! The True Account of the 1938 War of the Worlds Radio Broadcast, by Meghan McCarthy (Alfred A. Knopf, 2006)

I couldn't resist choosing for Non-Fiction Monday a book that combines both science-fiction and a true story. McCarthy has done a brilliant job bringing to life the story of the science-fiction play that sent 1938 radio listeners into a tailspin. Listeners all over America really believed that Orson Welles' play, an adaptation of H.G. Well's War of the Worlds, was an actual emergency news broadcast.

Aliens are Coming! intersperses black and white (and grey) illustrations for the 1938 scenes with color illustrations of the "alien invasion" story, and there's a satisfyingly long author's note at the end. I loved McCarthy's aliens--I find them charming (although their machines of Death are scary!). It's a great book for the young independent reader, and it works well as a read-aloud for somewhat sophisticated younger siblings.

I say sophisticated because, although my older child and I thought it was great fun; my six-year, who has a strong sense of justice, thought it was a mean joke to play on the unsuspecting American people. It took several re-reads (which he requested) before he truly grasped the point of the book...but he still thinks it wasn't a nice thing to do.

But his reaction did lead to an interesting discussion about the power of the media to influence people's perceptions of reality...and in a few years, we can watch Wag the Dog or something of that ilk and continue the discussion.

The Non-fiction Monday round-up is at Practically Paradise today!

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