________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 13 . . . . February 16, 2007


Hurricane Katrina. (Disaster Alert!).

Ellen Rodger.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2007.
32 pp., pbk. & cl., $10.40 (pbk.), $20.76 (cl.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-1618-1 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-1586-3 (rlb.).

Subject Headings:
Hurricane Katrina, 2005-Juvenile literature.
Hurricanes-Juvenile literature.
Disaster victims-United States-Juvenile literature.
Disaster relief-United States-Juvenile literature.

Grades 4-8 / Ages 9-13.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

**** /4


Katrina killed an estimated 1,800 people and brought storm surges and floods that destroyed or flooded many communities, including the nearly 300-year-old city of New Orleans, Louisiana. A storm surge happens when storms at sea cause the water level to rise higher than normal, and water spills onto land. Despite warnings that a major hurricane would hit the area, many people could not or would not evacuate their homes. By the time a mandatory evacuation was issued for New Orleans, it was too late. Those who stayed had nowhere to go or money or cars to leave with.

In this timely addition to the “Disaster Alert!” series, readers will learn about the most destructive natural disaster ever to hit the United States. Though many people watched television news reports of the hurricane and its aftermath, this book explains in language that children can easily comprehend the development of Katrina, the devastation, the rescue efforts, and the reconstruction of New Orleans following the hurricane. The book, comprised of 11 chapters, begins with a basic explanation of the life cycle of a hurricane (in fact, some of the paragraphs and accompanying diagrams are identical to those found in Hurricane and Typhoon Alert!, another book in the series). A map, indicating the dates and events, tracks the storm as it moves through the southeastern states. The focus of the book, however, is mainly on the New Orleans area- the storm warnings, evacuation notices and the role played by FEMA (The Federal Emergency Management Agency) in the early stages of the hurricane, and the massive flooding and destruction and the rescue efforts following Katrina’s landfall in Louisiana and Mississippi. There is information about New Orleans’s history of preparedness and dealing with previous hurricanes, the search for survivors after Katrina, and the work of the National Guard, volunteers and agencies under extremely difficult circumstances. Heartbreaking stories of the deplorable conditions under which the refugees lived in the Louisiana Superdome, the separation of people from the children and pets, and the loss of homes and possessions will have an impact on readers. More than a year after Katrina hit, the reconstruction of homes, businesses and levees continues but is nowhere near complete. Finally, the author describes the various types of levees used in New Orleans and explains some new types which are better suited to withstand storm surges and floodwaters. She also provides a frank discussion of the lessons learned through Hurricane Katrina, which became an example of horrendous disaster management and whose cost was countless lives lost and billions of dollars in damage to property and infrastructure. Both the government and ordinary citizens were unable to cope with the enormity of the disaster, prompting the Department of Homeland Security to develop a plan to improve its response to such situations and to create a National Preparedness System.

     Abundant maps, diagrams and excellent photographs help readers to better understand Hurricane Katrina’s power and devastation. A table of contents, an index and a glossary are included.

Highly Recommended.

Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.


To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.