A Storm Called Katrina

Myron Uhlberg, Author, Colin Bootman, Illustrator
Myron Uhlberg, illus. by Colin Bootman. Peachtree, $17.95 (40p) ISBN 978-1-56145-591-1
Reviewed on: 06/20/2011
Release date: 08/01/2011
Hardcover - 978-1-56145-520-1
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4640-2079-7
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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: "[M]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.)
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