SLJ Review

My editor sent over a great review today from SLJ. More great is the fact that the reviewer is from Louisiana and calls APWHH “one of the best books for children to come out of the tragedy of Katrina”. I am humbled and honored.

K-Gr 3–New Orleans friends Adrienne, Keesha, Michael, and Tommy take turns speaking in spare free verse. Their story begins with: “We’re from New Orleans,/a place where hurricanes happen./But that’s only the bad side.” The happier side is illuminated by their close friends and family. Soon the neighborhood faces Hurricane Katrina, and each family copes with it in different ways. Tommy goes to Houston, Adrienne evacuates to Baton Rouge, Michael stays in his home, and Keesha waits at the Superdome for five days to be rescued. The text is lyrical and realistically portrays a child’s point of view, deftly describing in a few words how the children are affected. Michael says: “Tommy’s family packed up and left./And Adrienne is leaving too./I give her the picture I drew yesterday./Guess we’re not playing together tomorrow.” The evocative watercolor-and-ink illustrations in soft pastels and grays limn the devastation but also the good times of the neighborhood to great effect. Perhaps the most striking picture is the spread showing the flooded streets on which the children had played the day before. This is one of the best books for children to come out of the tragedy of Katrina. In a few short verses, it beautifully encapsulates the story of the tragedy in words and pictures that children can understand, without dwelling on the horror, but emphasizing the hope and healing power of friendship and community.

Also, don’t foget to check out the great interview posted today at The Happy Nappy Bookseller!