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Saint Louis Armstrong Beach

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  385 ratings  ·  82 reviews
The gripping story of a boy, a dog and a hurricane

Saint is a boy with confidence as big as his name is long. A budding musician, he earns money playing clarinet for the New Orleans tourists. His best friend is a stray dog named Shadow, and it's because of Shadow that Saint's still in town when Hurricane Katrina hits. Saint's not worried about the hurricane at first--he pla...more
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published September 1st 2011 by Nancy Paulsen Books
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NebraskaIcebergs
An engaging story, Saint Louis Armstrong Beach by Brenda Woods is about an eleven-year-old who loves music and a neighborhood dog. The ending is somewhat abrupt, and with too many contrivances, but I still enjoyed this story set in New Orleans at the time Hurricane Katrina hit.

Main character Saint endears himself to me, first because of his dream to save up for a clarinet. Mind you, he doesn’t want just any clarinet. His sights are on a L1020 Step-Up Pro Clarinet, which will set him back $1200 b...more
Erin
Wonderful book. Great summer read! I would recommend for ages 9-13. I read it outloud to my 6 year old and he enjoyed the story and was able to follow along. It is a quick read, 2-3 days for my older children. A child's perspective of Hurricane Katrina and how the hurricane forever changed New Orleans and the people who live and play music in that interesting and unique city.
Erin
3.5 stars rounded up. This book was on a list of Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Award nominees. I read it at the same time as my 12 year old niece. The protagonist (for whom the book is named) is a fabulous character. He is an 11 year old with a strong love of his parents, his community, music, and New Orleans. The dialogue is wonderful and I enjoyed all of the characters except MonaLisa - his neighbor/crush - but even there the description of his feelings for her were dead on. The book takes place m...more
Annamaria
liked this so much more than Ninth Ward another Katrina book.
Angie
Saint Louis Armstrong Beach (yep that is his name) is a musically talented young man in New Orleans. He lives with his chef father and social worker mother in Treme. Saint plays his clarinet for tourists in the French Quarter and is saving up to buy a new clarinet. He has adopted a stray dog named Shadow. He and his family closely watch the progress of Tropical Storm Katrina has it heads towards New Orleans and turns into a hurricane. As they get ready to evacuate things start falling apart. His...more
Kady Mac
The Deal: Saint Louis Armstrong Beach is a little boy with a big name to live up to. Like his Grandaddy Saint and his other namesake, Louis Armstrong, he has the music in him. Nothing makes him happier than busking for tourists, dreaming of one day affording his dream clarinet, and playing with "his" dog, a neighborhood stray named Shadow. His former best friend MonaLisa is growing up too fast and refuses to talk to him anymore, which would hurt even if he didn't have a crush on her. When anothe...more
Laura
Saint Louis Armstrong Beach, named after his grandfather and the jazz legend, enjoys his life in pre-Katrina New Orleans. He plays his clarinet for tourists to earn money, cares for a regular stray dog named Shadow, and has a crush on his feisty pre-teen neighbor. When hurricane Katrina approaches New Orleans, Saint's mom can't quite pull herself away from her job as a social worker at the hospital and Saint can't quite pull himself away from saving Shadow. He manages to escape from his evacuati...more
Tasha
Saint loves playing the clarinet. He plays it for tourists in New Orleans to earn money for a new clarinet and for his future at Julliard. Life isn’t all easy though, he has taken to a stray dog that his father will not allow him to adopt and his best friend has outgrown him, now spending her time partying with the cooler, older kids. As Hurricane Katrina approaches, Saint and his family are not that concerned since it is expected to miss New Orleans, as the days progress, the tension builds and...more
Beth Bacon
Saint Louis Armstrong Beach by Brenda Wood is the story of a New Orleans boy with a talent for creating beautiful tunes with his clarinet. Tunes so lovely tourists strolling along the Mississippi river can’t help but drop dollars –lots of them—at his feet.
Saint Louis Armstrong Beach is also the story of a neighborhood. Saint lives in the eclectic Treme section of New Orleans, a place with little wood-clad houses that all have porches and peeling paint and a heritage of jazz and togetherness that...more
Barbara
Those of us who survived Hurricane Katrina often talk about how hard it is for writers to get the story right. Then again, there are so many hurricane stories and so many different experiences of that August 29 event, depending on where you were, that it's almost impossible to get it right. While this one nails the rising anxiety in the city of New Orleans as a tropical storm that becomes Hurricane Katrina heads toward the city, I wish the author had spent as much time describing the during and...more
Mary
This is not a perfect book, but it is a very enjoyable one. Saint Louis Armstrong Beach is almost twelve years old, loves to play the clarinet, and loves a shared-among-the-neighborhood (Treme) stray dog called Shadow. His father is a chef in New Orleans, his mother is a social worker at the hospital, and his former best friend MonaLisa (Money) lives next door. This quick read (for middle grade and younger elementary readers) describes his life in New Orleans before and during Hurricane Katrina....more
Sharon
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Debbie
maybe 3.5 stars
• Another dog named Shadow!
• Young bay (age 11) who plays the clarinet on the street in New Orleans (after school) has a stray dog friend named Shadow.
• Hurricae Katrina comes – the boy and his dog get separated from hid parents durign the evacuation.
• Ends up with an old lady neighbor where they survive the storm.
• Eventually get reconnected with his parents.
• For a “J” book, the author did a decent job trying to explain how bad Katrina really was.
Jackie Richter
I would like to start out by saying that Saint Louis Armstrong Beach is a genuinely wonderful read that I would highly recommend to readers of all ages, but the targeted audience is for children around 10 years old. This book could be integrated as a great resource when teaching in a variety of content areas including language arts, social studies, science, and music. This story digs into themes of friendship, loyalty, survival, and the power of music while capturing the readers' attention with...more
Lisa Mellen
Saint is a boy who lives in New Orleans and lives for playing his clarinet. He plays his clarinet for the tourists to earn money to buy a better instrument. He knows he wants to go to the Julliard School of Music in New York City. Saint divides his life into before, during and after Hurricane Katrina. The characters are fantastic and you can feel what New Orleans was like during the summer of Katrina.
2015 CT Nutmeg Intermediate Book Nominee
Taliah
Saint Louis Armstrong Beach plays his clarinet in the streets of New Orleans, earning cash for his dream clarinet and to fulfill his dream of studying at Julliard. Things are going well for Saint. His best friend is speaking to him. The palm reading that shows a short life line is thought to be false. His father allows the neighborhood dog Shadow to stay in the house. This is all before Katrina. As Saint and his family is preparing to evacuate, Shadow runs off and Saint goes after him unbeknowns...more
Judy
An uplifting story about 7th grade Saint's life in New Orleans just before, during and after Hurricane Katrina. Author Woods gives Saint's family, friends and neighbors well-developed voices, and captures the essence of New Orleans' jazz spirit, culture, parades, and Cajun lifestyle. The author relays the intensity of Katrina by touching on but not dwelling on the damage and loss of life. Grades 4-6.
Annie Oosterwyk
Solid elementary/middle grade fiction about a young boy and his dog during Hurricane Katrina. The main character is innocent, hard-working and appealing. His parents are good to him and encourage his music, while setting healthy boundaries.
The story shares a little of the flavor of New Orleans and details the decision-making process of those trapped by the hurricane.
Doret
Saint Louis Armstrong Beach lives in New Orleans with his parents. Saint's a natural clarinetist and he earns money playing on the Quarter for tourists. This was before Hurricane Katrina. The novel opens with Saint talking about his before and how the after keeps getting better. Saint begins his story with his best day pre Katrina, which was one week and two days before it hit.

The novels strengths lies in Saint's voice. Woods does an excellent job with it, along with Saint's relationship with hi...more
Linda Lipko
A story of a boy, a dog, a loving family, a wonderful community, and the fact that a major hurricane is about to hit New Orleans.

When it hits, young Saint Louis Armstrong Beach, is more concerned for the roving dog, whom he claims as his own, than he is about his own survival.

While his mother and father prepare to help others, Saint Louis leaves the car of his Aunt and Uncle that is heading out of New Orleans. Searching frantically for his beloved dog, he finally finds him. Seeking shelter at an...more
Laura
This book about a boy named Saint Louis Armstrong Beach (Saint after his grandfather, Louis Armstrong after a friend of his grandfather) is mostly split into two time periods: before Katrina and during. There's a brief bit set after the storm, but that's more of an epilogue.

Before Katrina, Saint was trying to earn $2000 to buy a good clarinet by busking near Jackson Square. During, he tries to save his dog Shadow and ends up in an attic, from which he's rescued and sent to the Superdome (he then...more
Donna Gephart
I can't recommend this book highly enough. It did everything a good book should. There is a warm, creative main character we care deeply about. He struggles against great odds, and we are with him every step of the way. While this volume is slim, it is packed with so much to sink our teeth into. Hurricane Katrina is coming, and we get to view it from our knowledge of what happened and from the characters' lack of that insight. It's done beautifully. One of my favorite things about this book is t...more
Abby Johnson
Between playing clarinet on street corners (earning money for Julliard someday) and figuring out what to do about his best friend who's suddenly too old for him, Saint Louis Armstrong Beach has enough to worry about without a massive hurricane coming through. But Katrina's coming and nothing with stop her. When his dog runs away just before the storm, Saint goes back to look for her and ends up going through the hurricane in New Orleans.

I think Brenda Woods tries to do a little too much here an...more
Jenny Mock
Saint is endearing. I love his tenacity and commitment to his music (dreams of attending The Juilliard School) and his loved ones (dog included).

I can't help but compare this novel to "Ninth Ward." The major differences are that Saint has a traditional family and the author (Woods) doesn't give much merit to the ideas of magic and voodoo. There are no ghosts. This is a more straightforward story that lends itself to serving as a great tie-in to a discussion of hurricanes, especially Hurricane K...more
Ms. B
His name really is Saint Louis Armstrong Beach. Saint after his grandpa, Louis Armstrong for a middle name and Beach as his last name. Saint LOVESNew Orleans. He loves the music and food. His Dad is a chef at a local restaurant and his Mom is a social worker at one of the hospitals. Someday, he will be a musician.. At age 12, he already earns money by playing clarinet for the tourists. He's saving the money he earns to buy an even better clarinet.
It's August 2005 and tropical storm Katrina migh...more
Lisa
11-year-old Saint wants to be a musician and is saving his money to buy a really nice clarinet. He plays in the French Quarter of New Orleans for the tourists. When Hurricane Katrina approaches, he has to find his dog Shadow and evacuate with his family. But when Shadow runs off and Saint goes back to find him, it might be too late to get out before the storm. This story of the big storm and its effect on the city of New Orleans, is told from the point of view of an 11-year-old. Scary and tense...more
Laurel
Young adult fiction, but it is a really good story! I think it gives an honest, young boy's look at the places and times leading up to and following after Hurricane Katrina.
SCLS Librarian Miss Jenna
Saint Louis Armstrong Beach is not a destination, but the name of a boy growing up in New Orleans with his parents and his trusted sidekick, Shadow--the neighborhood dog. Saint has a passion for the clarinet and with Shadow's help he raises money for a new clarinet by performing on the streets. It's August, 2005 and Hurricane Katrina is on its way to change their lives forever. The characters and setting of this book are very real and believable. I felt the ending of the book was a bit rushed--p...more
Kristin
This book was so much less than it could have been. A boy stays behind during Hurricane Katrina to find his lost dog. However, the beginning has little to do with the hurricane, and given how short it is, less time should have been spent on a fight he had with his friend, who leaves the action 2/3 of the way through and never reappears once the hurricane finally arrives. This kid was also extremely annoying. The voicing of most of the characters was off and felt cliched. The hurricane seemed to...more
Tracy T
Not a fan. This book wraps up all too neatly and gives a superficial glimpse into a dangerous situation. Shallow...
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