A Place Where Hurricanes Happen
written by Renee Watson; illustrated by Shadra Strickland
(Random House Children's Books) 2010
Source: Mebane Public Library
Four young friends love playing together all day in their neighborhood in New Orleans. Adrienne, Keesha, Michael, and Tommy ride bikes, skip rope, draw pictures, and stay out until called home for supper. Each child talks about what they love to do in their neighborhood. One day, they hear about a storm coming. Tommy's family is going to Houston to ride it out, while Adrienne leaves with her Granny to go to Baton Rouge. Keesha and Michael's families decide to stay in New Orleans. What comes next is Hurricane Katrina which changes their lives forever.
This is one of the most moving books I have read in a long time. Renee Watson and Shadra Strickland give us an intimate portrait, from a child's point of view, of how families in New Orleans were affected by Hurricane Katrina. This book would be an excellent companion to nonfiction books about weather. We often study about the technical aspects of storms (how it forms, wind speed, etc.), but it is rarely combined with how it changes the lives of the people in the path of the storm. A Place Where Hurricanes Happen is also a celebration of the resiliency of children and their hope for the future. It is one of my favorite books of this year.
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