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A Storm Called Katrina

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Overview

A moving story of the effects of Hurricane Katrina on the people of New Orleans, as seen through the eyes of a ten-year-old boy.

Louis Daniel hates it when Mama treats him like a baby. But when Hurricane Katrina blows through the Gulf Coast on a fateful August night, Louis feels like a little kid again.

With no time to gather their belongings?except Louis's beloved horn?Daddy leads the family from their home ...

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Overview

A moving story of the effects of Hurricane Katrina on the people of New Orleans, as seen through the eyes of a ten-year-old boy.

Louis Daniel hates it when Mama treats him like a baby. But when Hurricane Katrina blows through the Gulf Coast on a fateful August night, Louis feels like a little kid again.

With no time to gather their belongings—except Louis's beloved horn—Daddy leads the family from their home and into an unfamiliar, watery world of floating debris, lurking critters, and desperate neighbors heading for dry ground.

Taking shelter in the already-crowded Superdome, Louis and his parents wait…and wait. Conditions continue to worsen and their water supply is running out. When Daddy fails to return from a scouting mission within the Dome, Louis knows he's no longer a baby. It's up to him to find his father—with the help of his prized cornet.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The pair behind Dad, Jackie, and Me turn their attention to the harrowing events of Hurricane Katrina as seen through the eyes of a fictional child. Ten-year-old Louis Daniel is African-American and a horn player like his idol, Louis Armstrong. He goes to bed during a fierce storm and awakens to encroaching water. Bootman's dramatic oil paintings and the boy's first-person narration provide realistic immediacy as the boy's family makes its way through their flooded neighborhood on "a piece of someone's porch that was floating by." Uhlberg hints at the death toll: "y broom hit a pile of clothes. Mama covered my eyes. ‘Don't look, Baby,' she said. But I couldn't help looking." The dark-hued, realistic illustrations create a somber mood that refuses to lift even when the family finally reaches the Superdome. The boy's shiny cornet, saved from floodwaters, figures prominently in the family's experience at the chaotic stadium, giving comfort and continuity. Readers are in for a deeply personal and sometimes uncomfortable look at a disaster whose ramifications are still being felt. The book concludes with author notes and several photographs. Ages 7–11. (Aug.)
Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
Though they are from California and Brooklyn, author and illustrator met at a conference in New Orleans in 2006 and decided to collaborate on a project about Katrina. The story focuses on ten-year-old Louis Daniel and his parents, who are waiting anxiously for the wild storm to abate. When it does, Daddy discovers water on the doorstep and decides they have to leave immediately. Louis is not about to go without his beloved brass cornet—he hopes one day to play like his idol, Louis Daniel Armstrong. Outside they hear that the levee has broken and everyone's heading south. Their journey towards the Superdome, where there may be refuge, is terrifying, as Daddy puts Louis and his mother on a wooden bit of porch and pushes them through the rising flood. Along the way they meet other desperate people and a stranded dog that Louis longs to save. When they finally reach the damaged, overcrowded Superdome, they experience crying babies, smelly bathrooms, and no electricity, food, or water. Tempers flare, violence threatens; Daddy is away, trying to find them some food. How Louis and his cornet reunite the family (and Louis acquires the dog) makes for a hopeful, but subdued ending: as the four of them start home, readers have no idea what they will find there. Bootman's somber oil paintings show considerable frightening detail, from the darkness of the storm to the horror of crowded humanity, with a luminous sky at the end suggesting a brighter tomorrow. An Author's Note reveals more about Katrina (along with four striking photos) assuring readers that Louis's story is based on truth. Recommended websites offer links to a documentary about children and their art after the storm, information about Katrina, and resources for teachers. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft
School Library Journal
: $17.95.Gr 3–5—Louis Daniel, a 10-year-old African American boy named for famed New Orleans musician, Louis Daniel Armstrong, always keeps his cornet close at hand. When Hurricane Katrina strikes in 2005 and the levees break, Louis Daniel's father finds a floating piece of porch to ride upon. Keeping an eye out for 'gators, Louis paddles with a broom and the family moves through murky brown water and floating debris. Everything from a fake Christmas tree to a disturbing "pile of clothes" and a black and white dog float by. They take shelter in the airless, stinking, crowded, and chaotic Superdome. When his mom and he are separated from his father, Louis saves the day with his cornet. Narrator Brandon Gill gets the voice just right as the young boy's panic and frustration escalate in Myron Uhlberg's realistic fictionalized account (Peachtree, 2011) of a city overwhelmed by water and chaos. An author's note following the story provides the horrific statistics of the third most dangerous storm in U.S. history. Have the book available so students can peruse Colin Bootman's realistic oil paintings. Sure to provoke thoughtful discussions, this audiobook can also be used during weather units.—Lonna Pierce, MacArthur Elementary School, Binghamton, NY
Pamela Paul
A model of understated storytelling, A Storm Called Katrina wisely steers clear of histrionics or political commentary yet remains true to its disturbing subject. The illustrations are equally muted…Children who read [this] story will be the wiser for it…With an author's note, photographs and a list of resources for children, this moving introduction to Hurricane Katrina imparts its lessons with a restraint that powerfully increases their gravity.
—The New York Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781561455911
  • Publisher: Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 8/1/2011
  • Pages: 1
  • Sales rank: 376,102
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Lexile: 480L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Myron Uhlberg is the author of several picture books. A retired businessman, he lives in California.

Colin Bootman was born in Trinidad but moved to the United States at the age of seven. A graduate of the School of Visual Arts in New York, he has illustrated numerous books for children, including Dad, Jackie, and Me. Almost to Freedom was a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book. Bootman lives in New York City.

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Customer Reviews

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  • Posted August 24, 2014

    ALTHOUGH THIS BOOK WAS WRITTEN THROUGH THE EYES OF A CHILD IT SA

    ALTHOUGH THIS BOOK WAS WRITTEN THROUGH THE EYES OF A CHILD IT SAYS EVERYTHING THE PEOPLE HAD TO ENDURE WHEN KATRINA
    HIT THEIR HOMES AND LIVES. HOW MANY PEOPLE WERE RELUCTANT TO LEAVE THEIR HOUSES BUT FOR THE RISING
    WATER IT BECAME NECESSARY

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