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Teacher’s Guide

A Storm Called Katrina

by Myron Uhlberg
illustrated by Colin Bootman

A moving story of the effects of Hurricane Katrina on the people of New Orleans, as seen through the eyes of a ten-year-old boy

Louis Daniel hates it when Mama treats him like a baby. But when Hurricane Katrina blows through the Gulf Coast, Louis feels like a little kid again. With no time to gather their belongings—except Louis’s beloved horn—Daddy leads the family and into an unfamiliar, watery world of floating debris, lurking critters, and desperate neighbors. Taking shelter in the already-crowded Superdome, Louis and his parents wait…and wait. Conditions continue to worsen and when Daddy fails to return from a scouting mission within the Dome, Louis knows he’s no longer a baby. It’s up to him to find his father—with the help of his prized cornet.

Myron Uhlberg highlights resilience and hope throughout this sensitively portrayed fictional story based on the real events of Hurricane Katrina. Colin Bootman’s illustrations enhance the warmth and strength of the young narrator’s family as they work through such a great tragedy.

Format: Hardcover
Price: $17.95
ISBN: 978-1-56145-591-1
Publication Date: 8/1/2011
Page Count: 40
Size: 11-1/4″ x 9-3/4″
Age Range: 7 – 11
Language: English
Format: Paperback
Price: $8.95
ISBN: 978-1-56145-887-5
Publication Date: 8/1/2015
Page Count: 40
Size: 11-1/4″ x 9-3/4″
Age Range: 7 – 11
Language: English
AR Level: 3.4
F&P: GRL R, Gr 4, Genre RF
Lexile: 480L
Themes: Family, Hurricane Katrina
BISAC 1: JUV001010 JUVENILE FICTION/ Action and Adventure / Survival Stories
BISAC 2: JUV 029020 JUVENILE FICTION / Nature and the Natural World / Weather
BISAC 3: JUV 013000 JUVENILE FICTION / Family / General

Reviews

“A heartrending story of a New Orleans family’s experience through Hurricane Katrina…Simple, affecting prose and intricate, inspired paintings make this one worth sharing for sure.” ―Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“Bootman’s dramatic oil paintings and the boy’s first-person narration provide realistic immediacy as the boy’s family makes its way through their flooded neighborhood on “a piece of someone’s porch that was floating by.” Readers are in for a deeply personal and sometimes uncomfortable look at a disaster whose ramifications are still being felt” ―Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“The juxtaposition of the understated text and muscular artwork works well…A memorable addition to the growing number of books about Hurricane Katrina, this offering personalizes a national tragedy” ―Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

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“Can the enormity of a large-scale tragedy…be conveyed to school-age children without frightening them? How to describe the emotional toll without imposing a burden? It’s a difficult balance. But it’s one that the writer Myron Uhlberg and the illustrator Colin Bootman strike gracefully…this moving introduction to Hurricane Katrina imparts its lessons with a restraint that powerfully increases their gravity.” ―New York Times

“This remarkable homage to New Orleans tells of Louis Daniel, named for Armstrong, who leaves his flooded home with his parents and his cornet…The oil-on-board paintings of shimmering water and unfocused crowds capture contradictions; both harsh reality and otherworldliness; both the enormity and the intimacy of the event, somehow managing to leave out the horror. Uhlberg’s prose does the same” ―School Library Journal

“It also embodies a pure style of jazz and blues music that New Orleans is best known for. It expresses uncertainty and looming danger, inspires hope, and supports the idea that home truly is where the heart is” ―New York Journal of Books

“If it was difficult for adults to get their heads around the devastation surrounding Katrina…imagine how it was for children…A Storm Called Katrina captures the emotions of a young boy fleeing with his family as floodwaters rise after the hurricane and levee failures” ―The Sunday Advocate

“The juxtaposition of a caring, responsible family against the frightening lack of control that everyone felt during and after the storm heightens the drama of the story…The powerful, full-color illustrations in oil will help younger readers understand what the city looked like and what happened to Louis Daniel. They will be able to see how frightening the situation was, but they will feel reassured in the end by the determination of the young hero.” ―The Times-Picayune

“This title will give young readers a picture of what it was like to be in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina struck. Children will appreciate how helpless Louis Daniel feels, and understand how much he lost…” ―Through the Looking Glass

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Awards

Best Children’s Books of the Year (Starred) ―Bank Street College of Education, 2012

Teachers’ Choices ―International Reading Association, 2012

Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People ―National Council for the Social Studies, Children’s Book Council, 2012

Top 10 Black History Books for Youth ―Booklist, 2012

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Editors’ Choice: Books for Youth (Middle Readers, Fiction) ―Booklist, 2011

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award ―Oppenheim Toy Portfolio, 2011

California Collections (Elementary) ―California Readers, 2013

Kansas State Reading Circle Recommended Reading List (Starred, Primary) ―Kansas National Education Association, 2012

Black-Eyed Susan Book Award (Nominee, Picture Book) ―Maryland Association of School Librarians, 2013-2014

Charlotte Award (Nominee, Primary) ―New York State Reading Association, 2014

Delaware Diamonds (Nominee, Grades 3-5) ―Diamond State Reading Association, 2012-2013

Georgia Children’s Picture Storybook Award (Nominee) ―University of Georgia, 2012-2013

Prairie Bud Children’s Book Award (Nominee) ―South Dakota Library Association, South Dakota Reading Council, South Dakota State Library, South Dakota Elementary School Princ, 2013-2014

Volunteer State Book Awards (Nominee, Primary) ―Tennessee Association of School Librarians, 2014-2015

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Meet the Author

Myron Uhlberg is the author of several picture books. A retired businessman, he lives in California. You can visit his website here.

Meet the Illustrator

Colin Bootman was born in Trinidad but moved to the United States at the age of seven. A graduate of the School of Visual Arts in New York, he has illustrated numerous books for children, including Almost to Freedom, a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book. He lives in New York. You can visit his website here.