A Place Where Hurricanes Happen

by Renée Watson and Shadra Strickland

“We’re from New Orleans, a place where hurricanes happen. But that’s... read more

“We’re from New Orleans, a place where hurricanes happen. But that’s only the bad side.” Renée Watson’s offers insight into the experiences of children during Hurricane Katrina in this narrative told in the voices of four fictional African American friends: Adrienne, Michael, Tommy, and Keesha. Life in their New Orleans neighborhood is about much more than hurricanes. It’s about playing hide-and-go-seek, drawing under the tree, and cooking and eating jambalaya. When Katrina hits, the four are separated and each relates what happened, from boarding up the windows and fleeing to relatives’ houses to seeking shelter at the Superdome to being rescued from rising waters at home. After fear and frustration and long months of separation they are finally reunited and participate in a healing ritual in their neighborhood that honors those who’ve come back, and those who have not. Watson’s sensitive writing, and Shadra Stickland’s soft illustrations, skillfully and tenderly present the children’s experiences in this picture book that assumes some prior knowledge of the catastrophe. (Ages 6–10)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2011

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