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Written by Myron Uhlberg

Illustrated by Colin Bootman

When flood waters submerge their New Orleans neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, a young cornet player and his parents evacuate their home and struggle to survive and stay together.



Publisher: Peachtree, c2011 ISBN-13: 978-1-56145-591-1

Accelerated Reader ATOS reading level 3.4 Point Value .5 Interest Level LG
Lexile Measure: 480

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GENRE: Realistic Fiction, Adventure
THEMES addressed in the book:
  • Hurricanes, Katrina 2005
  • Survival
  • Floods
  • New Orleans
  • Storms/Natural Disasters
  • Family/Community
  • Human Rights
  • U.S. History
  • Musical Instrumen
  • Survival/ Emergency Evacuation Plan



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About the author:

Myron Uhlberg is the critically acclaimed and award-winning author of a number of children’s books. He has authored five children’s books, among them the Schneider Family Award winner “Dad, Jackie, and Me.” He recently published a memoir of his life in Brooklyn, New York, growing up the oldest hearing son of deaf parents. A retired businessman, Uhlberg lives with his wife in CA.

About 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 Dad, Jackie, and Me. Almost to Freedom was a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book. Bootman lives in New York City.


Classroom Book Discussion Questions
1. Where did the story take place?
2. Why did the family have to leave their home?
3. What did Louis Daniel take with him before leaving his house?
4. What did Louis see in the water when his family was on the makeshift raft?
5. What was he most afraid of during this time?
6. What did he see as the raft floated on the water?
7. What do you think the dog was thinking when it saw Louis’s family floating on the water?
8. Where were people going for safety?
9. Was it a safe place? In what ways was it not safe?
10. Why couldn’t Louis sleep at the Superdome?
11. How was Louis able to help his dad find him and his mom?
12. How do you think Louis felt when he saw his dad?
13. Did the family stay or leave town?
14. If you were Louis would you want to stay or leave?
15. What do you think happened to the family after this story?


Awards


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Children's Books Of The Year 2012 - Ages 5 To 9

Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People 2012

Teachers Choices 2012

Georgia Picture StoryBook Award Nominee 2012- 2013


Reviews

Kirkus Reviews starred 07/15/11
Publishers Weekly starred 06/20/11

Booklist starred (September 1, 2011 (Vol. 108, No. 1))
Grades 1-4. A boy blowing a horn on a flooded street is the evocative cover image of this stirring book, which tells one family’s story of Hurricane Katrina. Ten-year-old Louis Daniel listens to the howling wind. His parents think the storm will blow over—until it doesn’t, and then they have to escape their home. Grabbing his most important possession, his cornet, Louis and his mother ride the high water on a detached porch pushed by Louis’ father. Along the way, Louis spies a little terrier floating on a plank. They can’t take the dog along, but Louis doesn’t forget him as make their way through the flood, finally arriving at the Superdome, where they’re told they’ll be safe. Once inside, though, they disappear into an inky, stinky arena, where men fight over water bottles. Daddy leaves to look for food and then can’t find his way back to his family, but Louis plays his coronet, and the music leads his father to him. In a simple yet powerful ending, the storm has passed, and while others board buses to get out of town, this family stays. The juxtaposition of the understated text and muscular artwork works well. Blues, grays, and browns predominate Bootman’s acrylic paintings, which use heavy brushwork to evoke both the force and emotional impact of the storm. A memorable addition to the growing number of books about Hurricane Katrina, this offering personalizes a national tragedy. Information about the storm is appended.


General facts about Hurricane Katrina
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Katrina formed in the central Bahamas and moved northwest. It first made landfall in south Florida on the Broward/Miami-Dade county line as a category 1 hurricane. The storm surge caused major or catastrophic damage along the coastlines of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. As Hurricane Katrina moved over the Gulf of Mexico, it strengthened into a category 5 hurricane with top winds of 175 mph. Katrina weakened into a category 3 hurricane as it made landfall near Buras, LA. It briefly passed over the Gulf of Mexico waters again and made its last landfall on the Mississippi/Louisiana border– New Orleans's wind damagewas comparable only to a category 1 or 2 hurricane. On Monday, August 29, 2005 – Katrina made landfall in New Orleans. By August 31, 2005, 80% of New Orleans was flooded, with some parts under 15 feet (4.5m) of water. People started to raid shops for food and water. As conditions worsened and flood waters continued to rise, on August 31, Governor
Blanco ordered that all of New Orleans, including the Superdome, be evacuated. The area outside the Superdome was flooded to a depth of three feet (1 m), with a possibility of seven feet (2.3 m) if the area equalized with Lake Pontchartrain. Governor Blanco had the state send in 68 school buses on Monday to begin evacuating people.
Hurricane Katrina was the costliest hurricane in U.S. history, with $75-80 billion in estimated damages.
It's possible that up to 100,000 people stayed behind even though the governor had ordered the evacuation of the city. People stayed for a variety of reasons, but most were unable to leave because they did not have vehicles or enough money to organize travel. Many residents were too elderly or infirm to travel. Among those left behind in the path of the category 4 hurricane were the city's weakest and most vulnerable inhabitants.


Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans
Some people think that the New Orleans levees were high enough but not strong enough. Instead of overflowing, they probably collapsed due to the increased water pressure The majority of the damage in New Orleans was due to levee failure. Up to 80% of the city of New Orleans was flooded with up to 20 feet of water. The Mississippi coast suffered catastrophic damage from storm surges and high winds. A surge of 24 to 28 feet was measured along the Mississippi coast with the highest near Pass Christian at 27.8 feet. The storm surge went inland for about six miles, but up to twelve miles along the rivers. The famous French Quarter in New Orleans dodged the massive flooding experienced in other levee areas. Most of the city's levees designed and built by the United States Army Corps of Engineers broke somewhere, including the 17th Street Canal levee, the Industrial Canal levee, and the London Avenue Canal floodwall. These breaches were responsible for most of the flooding.
Oil refining was stopped in the area, increasing oil prices worldwide. Hurricane Katrina destroyed thousands of acres of forestland in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, with 1.3 million acres of forestland destroyed in Mississippi alone. Clean ocean water washed onto the shores of Louisiana and into New Orleans, but quickly became very foul when it was exposed to raw sewage.


Superdome Facts
Evacuees were brought to the Superdome, one of the largest structures in the city, to wait out the storm or to await further evacuation. Many others made their way to the Superdome on their own, hoping to find food, water, shelter, or transport out of town. On August 29, Katrina passed over New Orleans with such force that it ripped two holes in the Superdome roof. On the evening of August 30, Maj. Gen. Bennett C. Landreneau, of the Louisiana National Guard, said that the number of people taking shelter in the Superdome had risen to around 15,000 to 20,000 as search and rescue teams brought more people to the Superdome from areas hard-hit by the flooding.


More facts about Hurricane Katrina and Other Hurricanes
Katrina was the largest hurricane of its strength to approach the United States in recorded history.
The Atlantic Ocean’s hurricane season peaks from mid-August to late October and averages five to six hurricanes per year. Many of today's big hurricanes, including Katrina, are not formed in the deep tropics like other past legendary hurricanes, but much closer to the States. 2005 had three of the six strongest hurricanes on record: Wilma 882 mb (millibar: a metric measurement of air pressure) (1st), Rita 895 mb (4th), and Katrina 902 mb (6th).
The year 2005 had three of the six strongest hurricanes on record: First: Wilma at 882 mb (millibar: a metric measurement of air pressure); fourth, Rita at 895 mb (4th); and sixth, Katrina at 902 mb (6th). Hurricane Katrina was the sixth strongest hurricane ever recorded and the third strongest hurricane ever recorded to make landfall in the U.S.


How to Prepare for a Hurricane - link to see what to do Before, During, and After hurricanes


Website Sources:
BBC News news.bbc.co.uk/cbbcnews/hi/specials/2005/hurricane_katrina/default.stm
www.infoplease.com/spot/hurricanekatrinatimeline.html
dsc.discovery.com/news/video/hurricanegallery.html



Charity organizations:
www.redcross.org
www.savethechildren.org



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