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A Place Where Hurricanes Happen Hardcover – Bargain Price, June 22, 2010
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From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3—New Orleans friends Adrienne, Keesha, Michael, and Tommy take turns speaking in spare free verse. Their story begins with: "We're from New Orleans,/a place where hurricanes happen./But that's only the bad side." The happier side is illuminated by their close friends and family. Soon the neighborhood faces Hurricane Katrina, and each family copes with it in different ways. Tommy goes to Houston, Adrienne evacuates to Baton Rouge, Michael stays in his home, and Keesha waits at the Superdome for five days to be rescued. The text is lyrical and realistically portrays a child's point of view, deftly describing in a few words how the children are affected. Michael says: "Tommy's family packed up and left./And Adrienne is leaving too./I give her the picture I drew yesterday./Guess we're not playing together tomorrow." The evocative watercolor-and-ink illustrations in soft pastels and grays limn the devastation but also the good times of the neighborhood to great effect. Perhaps the most striking picture is the spread showing the flooded streets on which the children had played the day before. This is one of the best books for children to come out of the tragedy of Katrina. In a few short verses, it beautifully encapsulates the story of the tragedy in words and pictures that children can understand, without dwelling on the horror, but emphasizing the hope and healing power of friendship and community.—Judith Constantinides, formerly at East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Like Jewell Parker Rhodes' Ninth Ward (2010), Watson's debut picture book for older readers tells the story of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath for a young audience. In free verse, four young friends on a New Orleans street speak in alternating voices about the storm. First there is the fun they have together in the neighborhood, then the tension and terror as the hurricane comes nearer and hits the city, and then finally the devastation that follows. Tommy's family leaves town. Adrienne is leaving for Baton Rouge. Keesha waits five days at the Superdome for a bus and then, later, lives in a trailer outside her broken home. From an attic window, Michael and his sister watch their whole block disappear underwater. Both the words and pictures personalize the events. What was it like to be caught in the storm, to return to a neighborhood that you barely recognize, to find your friends again? In vibrant, mixed-media images, award-winning illustrator Strickland extends the drama, feeling, and individual stories. Grades 2-5. --Hazel Rochman
Top customer reviews
It's been eleven years since Katrina, and even when this book was published in 2010, it was largely out of the social consciousness. I brought up Katrina in a lesson to my school kids and they didn't know what I was talking about. A book like this might be more relevant in another few decades, when the Katrina generation becomes parents and grandparents, but as is, it's not that interesting a book,
Try this from your local library, if you must, but definitely don't buy until you're sure your kids enjoy it.
I thought the first picture book that dealt with hurricane Katrina would focus on the hurricane. I am glad I was wrong, I like this much better.
The reader gets to know the four friends and their community before Katrina . The connection will stay long after the hurricane is gone, as the friends and their community are coming back together.
Waston's free verse is beautiful she makes the four friends as real as they can be. Strickland helps to bring the friends, the storm and New Orleans alive with her illustrations. Watson and Strickland have come together to create a lovely picture book.
Cars are turned upside down
and the street sign is floating in the water
Daddy tells us to get to the attic
as fast as we can
I take Jasmine's hand and I hold it tight.
like big brothers do.
She's too scared to look out the window
but I'm not
I look out the window
and I see the whole block swimming in water
Furniture, clothes and toys are swirling in the flood
Roofs are crumbling and windows are shattering
Big winds have come and trees are breaking
And all I can see is more water rising
So I look away and I squeeze Jasmine's hand
real tight because now I am scared too.
I probably should not have shared the whole verse, (but I love it) I also know the text without the illustrations is only half the story. You definitely want to see whole picture, its gorgeous and filled with emotion. This is one of those picture books, that I appreciate more each time I look at it. And I can't stop looking.