Title: A Storm Called Katrina
Written by: Myron Uhlberg
Illustrated by: Colin Bootman
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers (August 1, 2011)
Suitable for ages: 4 and up
Themes/Topics: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, natural disasters, family, community, survival, compassion, empathy, courage
Brief Synopsis: A Storm Called Katrina is the story of a family’s experiences with Hurricane Katrina told through the voice of Louis Daniel, a 10-year-old boy who dreamed of one day playing his trumpet like Louis Armstrong. Like many in the city, the family prepared for the storm but did not evacuate. The day after the storm the water began to rise and the family was forced to leave their home. They left with nothing but the clothes they were wearing but Louis took his horn. They were rescued and ended up in the Superdome. Although the family survived the flood waters, the conditions in the stadium were harsh and dangerous. When his father went out to find water for the family, Louis and his mother, feeling unsafe, moved to different seats. Fearing his father would not be able to find them, Louis ran down to the football field to play his trumpet. The family is reunited when his father hears him play.
Opening Pages: “HURRICANE’S COMING, Baby,” Mama said.
“I’m not a baby anymore, Mama. I turned ten last month.”
“Doesn’t matter how old you are, Louis Daniel. You’ll always be my baby,” she said. “Hush now and go to bed.”
The wind rattled my window something fierce. When the storm howled louder, I covered my ears and hid under the blanket.”
Why I like this book: Author Myron Uhlberg writes a moving story about a tramatizing event that shows how one family was able to navigate and survive a natural disaster. However it is presented in a way that is not too scary for children and is rather touching. Illustrator Colin Bootman adds to the story with his authentic images of New Orleans at the time of the flood. I especially like the page where sunlight beaming through the torn off roof of the Superdome shines on Louis as he plays his trumpet hoping his father will hear his music. This book is a wonderful tribute to family, community, and survival.
Click here to find classroom discussions questions about A Storm Called Katrina.
Click here for Facts for Kids.
Click here for Education World lessons on hurricanes.
Click here for Scholastic site. Hurricane Katrina for upper primary and middle school kids.
Click here for a wealth of articles and lessons for kids from TeacherVision
Click here for more about hurricanes from Science for Kids.
In My Heart: A Child’s Hurricane Katrina Story on YouTube.
Children of the Storm on YouTube