Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans written and illustrated by Don Brown

Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt


Summary:  In graphic novel format, Don Brown traces the history of Hurricane Katrina. He begins in early August, 2005, when a “swirl of unremarkable wind” leaves Africa and travels toward North America, gathering strength over the Atlantic Ocean.  As it closes in on New Orleans, residents begin to evacuate, but some choose or are forced to stay behind.  The pictures tell the story, as houses become submerged and residents are forced into their attics and onto their roofs.  Rescue efforts are alternately heroic and ridiculously bungled.  The Superdome debacle is described in detail that is horrific, yet appropriate for younger kids.  The final page describes New Orleans seven years later, still only at 80% of the pre-Katrina population, but slowly rebuilding and coming back to life.  96 pages; ages 10-up.

Pros:  Readers ready to move on from the “I Survived” series will be captivated by this history of a recent U.S. catastrophe.  The graphic novel format is perfect to show what happened from many different perspectives, and the takeaway message is one of resilience.

Cons:  Pretty much every official and politician comes across as inept.

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