Review of the Week: Drowned City – Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans by Don Brown

Drowned_City_09-2015Brown, Don. Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans. Don Brown, Illus. Graphic Novel. Houghton, 2015. 96p. $18.99. 978-0-544-15777-4. OUTSTANDING. GRADES 4-8.

The onslaught and aftermath of Hurricane Katrina’s devastating destruction of New Orleans is told in a graphic novel format. The illustrations, predominantly in strong browns, grays, and blacks, portraying death and destruction, are powerful. Brown’s text, with source notes and bibliography at the back, concisely focuses on the disastrous effects of this storm. Except for the few who wouldn’t leave, it’s the people who had no means of transportation and no money who were left in a vacated city to face the wrath of nature. Brown doesn’t hold back in showing the disgraceful inability of city, state, and national government in dealing with this catastrophe. Good people, such as doctors and hospital staffs, were there to help. The geographical, social, racial, and cultural elements of New Orleans are not a part of this narrative. This offers a strong and effective beginning point to understanding not only the story of this storm, but the challenges of facing any natural catastrophe.

David Howd, Berkeley Public Library

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