Children of Katrina

Alice Fothergill and Lork Peek. Univ. of Texas, $24.95 trade paper (343p) ISBN 978-1-4773-0546-1
From the first sentence (“For Cierra, the sound of Katrina is the sound of ‘people screaming’ ”), readers will be riveted by this account of a seven-year research study into the lives of children who experienced Hurricane Katrina. Sociology professors Fothergill and Peek chose as their subjects seven children who were between four and 15 years old when the hurricane hit in August 2005. Zach was seven and Isabel nine when Katrina reached land; both are white and from middle-class families. The authors show the huge difference that resources like family networks, schools, housing options, and advocates made for Zach and Isabel’s “upward track” after Katrina. In comparison, Clinton, an African-American boy from a low-income family who was four when Katrina hit, struggled in the post-Katrina recovery, despite a few advantages including enrollment in a high-performing school program. Cierra, from a single-parent, working-class family, was 11 during Katrina; thanks in part to advocates and youth mentors, she actually saw her situation improve afterwards. Simple graphs help illustrate some of the more complex concepts (recovery trajectories, for example), and selections of poetry and artwork by the children add flavor to their stories. Readers expecting a purely feel-good story of triumph over adversity will be disappointed, but both laypeople and specialists interested in how children cope with large-scale trauma should find this extensively researched study worth the effort. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 06/22/2015
Release date: 09/01/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 343 pages - 978-1-4773-0391-7
Hardcover - 343 pages - 978-1-4773-0389-4
Ebook - 344 pages - 978-1-4773-0390-0
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