Yes, that’s trinitite, the mineral created in 1945 in Alamogordo, New Mexico, when scientists exploded the world’s first atomic bomb. A sample of it is here held in the hand of Ellen Klages, author of The Green Glass Sea, winner of the 2007 Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction.
I met Ellen and her trinitite at a party graciously thrown for her by publisher Viking/Penguin in New York this past Monday. Fuse #8 has a lively account of the evening, and I interviewed Ellen Klages for a podcast you be able to hear, oh, next month or so. She’s a good talker. When I re-read The Green Glass Sea for the occasion I was again struck by the absolute assurance of its opening pages, pulling readers right into empathy with its protagonist and making them companions on the journey–and, praise Jesus, not a metaphorical one, but an actual trip with an actual destination–she immediately begins. It’s a model for How to Start a Book.
In the lineup below are, from left to right, Green Glass Sea editor Sharyn November, O’Dell committee chair Hazel Rochman, me, Ellen Klages, Penguin Books for Young Readers President Doug Whiteman, sponsor of the award Elizabeth Hall, and fellow juror Ann Carlson.