When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, I remember a major question being: why didn’t people leave the city? It’s important to know that not everyone had the means to evacuate the area and those who were caught in the rising flood waters experienced dangerous situations. Read on for a review of the graphic novel I Survived Hurricane Katrina, adapted by Georgia Ball and illustrated by Alvin Epps.
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One thing I like about the I Survived Graphic Novel series is that it educates and entertains, using relatable tween characters which is who the series is targeted for. In this story, Barry is a young member of the New Orleans community. He’s aware that a storm is on its way and so while there isn’t any immediate urgency, Barry realizes this might be a different type of storm when his father insists that everyone try to get out of the City.
The family is unable to evacuate New Orleans and they decide to turn around and ride out the storm at home. Things quickly take a turn for the worse when their family home begins to flood after the levee breaks. The family makes their way onto the roof where Barry falls into the churning flood waters.
Barry survives by taking shelter with a familiar dog but the traumatic experience of being alone in a dangerous environment will stay with him forever.
One important aspect of I Survived Hurricane Katrina is the honest portrayal of survival in the water. Many kids don’t know that floating in flood waters is actually really dangerous. There can be floating cars or busted wood from homes, toxic fluids in the water and so realizes that the water isn’t the safest place to be. Barry acknowledges this by describing his irritated skin and wounds from floating in the rising flood waters.
The I Survived Hurricane Katrina graphic novel is illustrated and colored by Alvin Epps and this book fits nicely in with the other I Survived graphic novels. The illustrations are vibrant and interesting with just the right amount of detail to keep the reader’s attention. This graphic novel captures the terror and uncertainty of a community absolutely torn apart by a hurricane. It also touches on some native New Orleans people who leave the community for good after losing their homes, jobs, and livelihood.
Other I Survived Book Reviews: