Ninth Ward

Ninth Ward

4.3 67
by Jewell Parker Rhodes
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

A 2011 Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book

Twelve-year-old Lanesha lives in a tight-knit community in New Orleans' Ninth Ward. She doesn't have a fancy house like her uptown family or lots of friends like the other kids on her street. But what she does have is Mama Ya-Ya, her fiercely loving caretaker, wise in the ways of the world and able to predict the

See more details below

  • Checkmark Peanut Butter & Cupcake Only $7.99 with the Purchase of Any Kids' Book  Shop Now

Overview

A 2011 Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book

Twelve-year-old Lanesha lives in a tight-knit community in New Orleans' Ninth Ward. She doesn't have a fancy house like her uptown family or lots of friends like the other kids on her street. But what she does have is Mama Ya-Ya, her fiercely loving caretaker, wise in the ways of the world and able to predict the future. So when Mama Ya-Ya's visions show a powerful hurricane—Katrina—fast approaching, it's up to Lanesha to call upon the hope and strength Mama Ya-Ya has given her to help them both survive the storm.

Ninth Ward is a deeply emotional story about transformation and a celebration of resilience, friendship, and family—as only love can define it.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
With a mix of magical and gritty realism, Rhodes’s (Voodoo Dreams) first novel for young readers imagines Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent flooding through the eyes of resourceful 12-year-old Lanesha. Lanesha lives with Mama Ya-Ya, an 82-year-old seer and midwife who delivered Lanesha and has cared for her since her teenage mother died in childbirth. Living in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, Lanesha is viewed as an unusual child (she was born with a caul and is able to see ghosts) and is ostracized at school. Lanesha finds strength in Mama Ya-Ya’s constant love and axioms of affection and reassurance (“When the time’s right... the universe shines down love”). The story becomes gripping as the waters rise and Lanesha, with help from a young neighbor and her mother’s ghostly presence, finds a way to keep body and soul together. The spare but vivid prose, lilting dialogue, and skilled storytelling brings this tragedy to life; the powerful sense of community Rhodes evokes in the Ninth Ward prior to the storm makes the devastation and the hardships Lanesha endures all the more powerful. Ages 10-up. (Aug.)
Children's Literature - Claudia Mills
In this spare, beautiful story, twelve-year-old Laneesha is gifted with "the sight." Sbe is able to see ghosts with her strange green-yellow eyes. Laneesha lives with Mama Ya-Ya, the midwife who birthed her, in the poor community of New Orleans' Ninth Ward; Laneesha's mother, who died birthing her, lives with her, too, a silent ghost lying motionless on the bed upstairs. Kids at school tease Laneesha, calling her "spooky Laneesha" and "Devil Eye," but, secure in the love of Mama Ya-Ya ("Mama Ya-Ya + Laneesha = Love"), Laneesha knows she is strong, like a butterfly that keeps "changing, no matter what, going from ugly worm to hard cocoon to strong wings." Laneesha's strength is about to be severely tested when Hurricane Katrina bears down upon the Ninth Ward; Laneesha, together with another outcast child, TaShon, and a stray dog named Spot, must face the rising waters that threaten to engulf them. Laneesha is a wonderfully strong and confident heroine, curious, smart, brave, and true, whose strength and confidence are born of the love of her dead birth-mother and adopted Mama Ya-Ya. Rhodes delivers a moving tribute to the power of this kind of love to enable us to endure whatever must be endured. If there are awards for books that celebrate the triumph of the human spirit, this one is a clear contender. Reviewer: Claudia Mills, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—Hurricane Katrina is whirling toward New Orleans in this touching novel (Little, Brown, 2010) by Jewell Parker Rhodes. Twelve-year-old Lanesha is a confident loner in her Ninth Ward neighborhood. Other kids tend to avoid her because she has the sight—she sees ghosts—and casually ignores them. Lanesha concentrates on her studies. She loves math, words, her teachers, and above all things, midwife Mama Ya-Ya who took her in when her mother died giving birth. Lanesha has snooty light-skinned uptown relatives, but they abandoned her to the loving care of Mama Ya-Ya. Lanesha watches in amazement as her beloved Ninth Ward prepares for the storm of the century. Fortitude, a vocabulary word Lanesha relishes, will be necessary to see her through the storm. After Mama Ya-Ya dies, Lanesha must be brave and save herself and her best friend when the water begins to rise. Sisi Aisha Johnson, a gifted narrator, brings richness and texture to each character and her performance emanates with the humor, warmth, and grace of this fine story. This 2011 Coretta Scott King Honor Book is not to be missed.—Tricia Melgaard, Centennial Middle School, Broken Arrow, OK
Kirkus Reviews

Born with a caul, 12-year-old Lanesha can see and sometimes communicate with spirits, and her guardian, former midwife Mama Ya-Ya, has dreams and visions that foretell the future. Their exquisitely happy, though poor, life in the New Orleans Ninth Ward is disrupted by news of a powerful storm approaching. Mama Ya-Ya knows it will get bad, but she has no means to get Lanesha out of the city. Knowing she herself will soon die, Mama Ya-Ya decides to wager that Lanesha's talents, both her supernatural skills and her more commonplace pluck and creativity, will see the young girl and her friend TaShon through Hurricane Katrina safely. The two children must confront not only the intense storm and Mama Ya-Ya's death but rapidly rising flood waters to survive. Rhodes's characters are likable and her story gripping. Unfortunately, though, romanticized depictions such as this one threaten to undermine our collective sense of the true plight of pre- and post-Katrina Ninth Ward residents. A good title for discussion when balanced with historical accounts of Katrina and her aftermath.(Fiction. 10-14)

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316043083
Publisher:
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
04/10/2012
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
101,869
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
10 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Jewell Parker Rhodes is an award-winning author of adult literature. Her books have won awards such as the American Book Award and the Black Caucus of the American Library Award for Literary Excellence. Jewell is the Piper Endowed Chair and founding artistic director of the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University. Ninth Ward is her first novel for young readers.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >