Allison's Book Bag

A Novel About Hurricane Katrina

Posted on: April 13, 2016

Reesie Boone knows that thirteen is going to be her best year yet. This will be year that makes her very first fashion design on Ma Maw’s sewing machine. She’ll skip down the streets of New Orleans with her best friends and everyone will look at her in admiration. But on Reesie’s birthday everything changes. Hurricane Katerina hits her city….

The above description comes from the inside flap of Finding Someplace, a middle-grade novel by Denise Lewis Patrick. Kirkus said that Patrick delivered a character who puts readers in the moment and creates a perfect storm of suspense. Publishers Weekly considered it an intimate look at the impact of a devastating natural disaster and the commitment of those dedicated to rebuilding a city after its destruction. The School Library Journal called it a powerful read for those already familiar with the hurricane or those learning about it for the first time.

AUTHOR & ILLUSTRATOR

DeniseLewisPatrickDenise Lewis Patrick is not only a published author, but she earned a degree in Journalism from Northwestern State University and is currently pursuing a MFA in Creative Writing from The University of New Orleans. She’s worked with budding writers in an afterschool program, and has managed middle and high school writing programs. In addition, she has been an editor in various areas of the publishing industry, and is now an adjunct professor of writing at Nyack College.

Patrick wrote in her Biography that nearly everything she writes is autobiographical in some way. There’s a little part of her, or something she’s experienced directly, or that’s happened to someone she knows in all of her work. With regards to Hurricane Katerina, at the heart of her middle-grade novel, relatives experienced the storm. According to Fictionaut, Patrick intended Finding Someplace for the people who were not directly impacted by Katrina. However, Patrick also has expressed gratitude to those who were impacted and have positively responded to her novel.

Race is also an aspect of Finding Someplace. When asked by Fictionaut how this issue played into her work, she replied that she “lives race”. Therefore, any characters she creates are going to live race in certain kinds of ways too. “This does mean, despite belief to the contrary, that each day there is some aspect of my experience that is influenced by race in a minute or large or subtle way.”

CULTURAL SETTING

Hurricane Katerina changed everything for the main character of Finding Someplace. Its prediction altered her behavior, its arrival put her in danger, and its aftermath nearly broke up her family. As such, I wanted to know a little more about hurricanes themselves.

Hurricanes begin as tropical storms over the warm waters near the equator. As the airs gets warmer and picks up moisture, it can rise and start to swirl. This is when hurricanes, one of the fiercest storms known to man, can occur. Hurricanes rotate around an “eye”, with this center being the calmest part. When hurricanes come onto land, the heavy rain, strong winds, and large waves wreak havoc.

Ducksters breaks hurricanes down into these parts:

  • Eye – At the center of the hurricane is the eye, a cloud-free area of light winds. From the ground, looking up through the eye, skies may be clear around to see the stars at night or the sun during the day.
  • Eye wall – Around the outside of the eye is a wall made up of very heavy clouds. This is the most dangerous part of the hurricane. Winds at the eye wall can reach speeds of 155 miles per hour.
  • Rainbands – Hurricanes have large spirally bands of rain called rainbands. These bands can drop huge amounts of rainfall causing flooding when the hurricane hits land. Hurricane Science notes that there can be gaps between the bands where no rain is found. If one were to travel from the outer edge of a hurricane to its center, one might experience a progression from light rain to no rain back to slightly fiercer rain with each period of rainfall being more intense and lasting longer until reaching the eye.
  • Diameter – The diameter of the hurricane is measured from one side to the other. Hurricanes can span a diameter of over 600 miles.
  • Height – The storm clouds that power hurricanes can become very tall. A powerful hurricane can reach nine miles into the atmosphere.

Weather Whiz Kids points out that storm surges can be the most devastating part of a hurricane. As a hurricane’s winds spiral around and around the storm, they push water into a mound at the storm’s center. When the storm reaches land, the mound of water has nowhere to escape and cause major floods.

All this information helped me better understand the description of hurricanes in Denise Lewis Patrick’s novel. Tomorrow I’ll review Finding Someplace. Save the date: April 14!

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2 Responses to "A Novel About Hurricane Katrina"

I live in earthquake country. I don’t want to live in hurricane country. Scary stuff.

Have a fabulous day. ☺

I’d prefer not to live in earthquake or hurricane country, but have made peace with living in tornado country. At least for now. 🙂

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Summer Reviews

Books can take connect us with strangers, take us to unique places, and introduce us to new ideas. They can also offer hope in a chaotic world. And so I must share what I read!

Each week, I’ll introduce you to religious books, Advanced Reader Copies, animal books, or diversity books. Some I’ll review as singles and others as part of round-ups. Just ahead, there will be reviews of:

  • Joni: The unforgettable story of a young woman’s struggle against quadriplegia & depression by Joni Eareckson
  • The True Story of the World’s Most Beloved Animal Sanctuary by Samantha Glen
  • Brothers in hope : the story of the Lost Boys of Sudan–refugees by Mary Williams
  • The Inner Life of Cats by Thomas McNamee

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