Love, love, love my cover. Travis Hanson at Pelican did an amazing job.
1. As a child psychiatrist in New Orleans, I have treated many children who suffered through the events described in Ms. Dragon's book. Without resorting to overly simplified stereotypes, she sensitively depicts these children's suffering and survival, as well as the lives they led before the day that, for so many, was a major transition line in their development. Thank you Ms. Dragon for honoring the children of New Orleans with a story of Katrina from their point of view.
Byron A. Hammer, M.D.
Infant, Child, Adolescent, and Adult Psychiatry
2. An engaging narrative of survival highlighting the impact of disaster on the most vulnerable among us, socioeconomically disadvantaged children. If they survive, will they be resilient enough to thrive?
Jeffrey D Thompson, MDiv, LPC
Psychotherapist with The New Orleans Institute for Trauma Resolution and Compulsive Behaviors at River Oaks Psychiatric Hospital.
3. Laura Roach Dragon’s Hurricane Boy is eleven year old Hollis Williams’ account of Hurricane Katrina’s impact on his life and family. Hollis is a resident of the Ninth Ward, a severely impoverished section of New Orleans that was flooded when the levee broke in Katrina’s wake. Hollis, his older brother, Jonas, and two younger siblings, Leta and Algie, live with their diabetic, wheelchair-bound grandmother, Gee. Rising water forces the family to the roof of their house, where they must battle the elements, hunger, thirst, and personal demons while waiting for help.
Circumstances cause the family to become separated. When Hollis, Leta, and Algie are finally rescued from their roof, they are transported to a shelter in West Virginia. It is here that Hollis must find the inner strength to protect Leta, Algie, and himself from the dangers and uncertainty of their situation.
Hollis has another struggle as well—he wants to find his father—the man who abandoned the family when the children’s mother was dying of cancer. “Dad was a waste,” Jonas tells Hollis, but Hollis has difficulty accepting Jonas’ opinion.
Hurricane Boy doesn’t just take readers through the devastation of Katrina. We also feel the pain, fear, and helplessness of children separated from their families in the chaos following the storm. We experience the loss of everything that makes people feel secure—home, possessions, family, and community.
Laura Roach Dragon’s obvious compassion for the displaced victims of Hurricane Katrina makes Hurricane Boy resonate. She uses realistic dialogue and challenging situations to develop strong, well-developed characters who captivate readers in the first chapter and stay with us long after the last page.
The children use their strengths and fight their weaknesses in efforts to make sense of a world out-of-sync with everything they know. We meet the grandmother whose firm, yet loving guardianship allows her grandchildren to survive in a dangerous neighborhood before the storm, and in unimaginable situations following the storm.
Many pertinent details are revealed in dialogue. We know that Gee is diabetic when Hollis says to Gee, “Heat’s no good for your sugar.” We learn about the science of hurricanes when Leta explains feeder bands and wind speeds.
The balance between physical and emotional journeys of the characters keeps the reader engaged. Splashes of humor lighten the serious nature of this story.
Hurricane Boy is a compelling story addressing pertinent issues surrounding Hurricane Katrina. Even more important, though, Hurricane Boy addresses loss, fear, insecurity, love and joy--emotions so deeply imbedded in the human condition that anyone, anywhere can relate to them.
firstname.lastname@example.org Author or Wings, Ricochet, and Imaginary Enemy
Winner of the 2008 Delacorte First Young Adult Novel Contest.
4. This very readable tale of several children's harrowing odyssey after Katrina is presented with great sensitivity, informed by clinical insight. Though written for youth this grandfather could not put it down.
Lincoln D. Paine M.D.
River Oaks Behavioral HospitalNew Orleans, Louisiana.
5. When I started reading Hurricane Boy, I could not put it down. I HAD to know what happened to those kids and to Gee.
Terri Hoover Dunham
The Legend of Papa Noel: A Cajun Christmas Story
Sleeping Bear Press
6. As in real life, told with both heart-wrenching poignancy and surprising humor, Hurricane Boy accurately depicts what happened to many children who were plucked from rooftops and separated from their families in the horrifying aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It's a captivating account, a real page-turner.