Zane and the Hurricane

by Rodman Philbrick

Ages: 9 years and up (approximately grades 3+)

Zane Dupree is going to New Orleans to meet his long lost great-grandmother, Miss Trissy, the only family connection he’s got to his deceased father. Begrudgingly, Zane and his dog, Bandy, leave the familiarity of their New Hampshire home for the Crescent City. Just as Zane is settling into his visit, disaster strikes. The impending arrival of Hurricane Katrina forces Zane and Miss Trissy to evacuate New Orleans. As they are leaving the city, Bandy runs away and Zane chases after him. All alone and trapped by rising water, they are rescued by Mr. Tru, an aging jazz musician, and his young charge, Malvina. They hope to get to Algiers, a parish to the south where Tru has a relative that can provide help. Together, the trio embarks on an arduous journey filled with dangers in both natural and human form.

This is a realistic yet accessible story about Hurricane Katrina. It does not shy away from the harsher aspects of the disaster such as the racial tension, violence and atmosphere of despair that existed. However, it also shows that through adversity, we can discover new things about ourselves and what we are capable of. This experience changes Zane as he and his companions encounter both the highs and lows of humanity. The quick pacing keeps the action rolling and readers engaged with Zane’s dilemma. This title is a worthy read for the unique perspective it offers on a significant American disaster. Pair it with Jewell Parker Rhodes’ Ninth Ward for another take on Hurricane Katrina

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