Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005

I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005

Lauren Tarshis
For ages 8 to 10
Scholastic , 2011   ISBN: 978-0545206969

Barry is very excited because he and his friend Jay have finished the entry that they created for the “Create a Superhero” contest. The picture of Akivo, their superhero character, is perfect, and both boys are hopeful that they will win the prize. Barry has been so busy working on the drawing that he hasn’t noticed that people are talking about a coming hurricane. Until now. Barry’s father tells his family that they are going have to leave New Orleans. There is a mandatory evacuation in place, and they are going to drive to Houston to stay with family.

They are not on the highway long before it becomes apparent that their progress is going to be very slow indeed because of the traffic. Barry starts to worry that they might be on the road when the hurricane hits, but then his little sister Cleo gets very sick. When they see how sick the little girl is, the family know that they have no choice but to go back home.

At first things are not too bad. The rain and wind is loud, but when his father starts to play the trumpet, Barry begins to feel safe. In fact, he feels so safe that he falls asleep. Soon after he wakes up, water begins to pour into the house. The level rises and rises until the family have no recourse but to get out onto the roof. Hurricane Katrina is turning out to be a lot worse than Barry ever imagined.

This gripping story allows young readers to get a very real sense of what it was like to be in the Ninth Ward in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit. Through Barry’s eyes, we are able to see how terrifying the experience was. It is interesting to see how Barry discovers that he, like his made up superhero character, is a very brave person. He not only manages to save himself, but he also saves someone else, someone who desperately needs his help.