Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Upsidedown in the Middle of Nowhere

by Julie T. Lamana. Chronicle Books, 2014. Every time I think about Katrina now, I think about this book. Armani lives in the Ninth Wards of New Orleans with her family. She's looking forward to celebrating her 10th birthday with a big party, cake and presents, when Katrina hits. Her party is canceled and her family is rocked by the storm that brings tragedy and intense challenge for all of them. This gripping story will never leave you. Young people in grades 4 - 7 (and older) will experience the heartbreak of these events from a vivid, down to earth telling that makes it more real than any news story. Even as an adult I understood the catastrophe more deeply after reading this absorbing account. Descriptions are clear and crisp and emotions are raw and tender. I love this book. It would make such a fantastic read aloud for middle grades, engendering great discussions. The only hesitation I had with the book is the ending, which I thought tied up loose ends a little too neatly. I can forgive that because the reality of the central drama was so poignant and disturbing.

Kirkus review

Book trailer