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Saint Louis Armstrong Beach

3.73  ·  Rating Details  ·  533 Ratings  ·  101 Reviews
A boy, a dog, and New Orleans' most famous 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, and his best friend is a stray dog named Shadow. At first Saint is sure that Hurricane Katrina will be just like the last one--no big deal. But then the city is ordered to evacuate
ebook, 144 pages
Published September 1st 2011 by Puffin Books
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Mr. Gottshalk
May 22, 2016 Mr. Gottshalk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this book up at the school book fair and glad that I did. It is historical fiction, but recent history - the story of an ambitious twelve-year old who experiences the before, during, and after of Hurricane Katrina. No more it!
Mar 21, 2013 NebraskaIcebergs rated it really liked it
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
Jun 15, 2014 Erin rated it really liked it
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.
Wonderful childrens' book that gives kids an idea of what Hurricane Katrina felt like from the perspective of a 12 year old Black boy in the Tremé neighborhood of New Orleans, a historically and musically significant neighborhood that, according to Wikipedia, sustained mild-moderate damage from the ravages of Katrina. This middle school level adventure-in-the-midst-of-disaster is kept light without feeling too light for the subject matter. It's a suspenseful page turner and a quick read.

The boy
Dec 28, 2015 Caroline rated it it was ok
Shelves: with-sara
1.5 stars
I read this book after I heard my 3rd grader reading this for her Battle of the Books competition and was disturbed by some things I was hearing.

I had her stop reading when, within the first several pages, she was telling me about 11yr olds drinking alcohol. Wha?? Really? Is this what I need my 3rd grade girl reading? No, it's not. And the sad thing is, there's no point to that part of the book. It is completely gratuitous which really bothered me even more.

So that part aside, the story
Dec 29, 2014 Stephanie rated it really liked it
St. Louis Armstrong Beach wishes his name was a little less complicated, but he was named after his great-grandfather and his great-grandfather’s favorite musician. Saint is hoping to save up enough money to buy a special clarinet. Luckily, he's able to play his clarinet for the tourists and make money to save towards his goal. He gets closer every day. Things are confusing now that his best friend, Money, doesn't want to talk to him, and he had his palm read, which revealed that he has a short ...more
Donna Siebold
Oct 30, 2014 Donna Siebold rated it liked it
Saint Louis Armstrong Beach is a young boy living in New Orleans. Until very recently he was best friends with his neighbor Money (Mona Lisa). Now she thinks she has outgrown him. He loves music and plays clarinet for the tourists. He wants to earn enough money to purchase a LeBlanc L1020 to replace his current instrument. He is good friends with an elderly gentleman named Smokey who is also a musician.

When news of Hurrican Katrina comes to New Orleans Saint Louis and his family are not initiall
Sep 24, 2015 Chelsey rated it liked it
2.5 stars rounded up because I like the author a lot.

Saint Louis Armstrong Beach is a 12-year-old boy living just outside New Orleans on the eve of Hurricane Katrina. An aspiring virtuoso clarinetist, Saint is smart, resourceful, musical, and cares desperately about his family and the neighborhood stray dog. Saint manages to get stuck separated from his family just as the hurricane reaches the city. Will he be able to survive and reunite with his loved ones?

This was well-written, but I was disap
Dec 26, 2013 Erin rated it really liked it
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
Jul 07, 2012 Annamaria rated it really liked it
liked this so much more than Ninth Ward another Katrina book.
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
Nov 18, 2011 Kady Mac rated it liked it
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
Jul 07, 2013 Laura rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s, 2013, bes13-14
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
Oct 24, 2011 Tasha rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens-books
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
Jul 22, 2013 Beth Bacon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
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
Aug 05, 2011 Barbara rated it really liked it
Shelves: ncbla
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
Sep 01, 2012 Mary rated it really liked it
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 08, 2014 Debbie rated it liked it
Shelves: karen
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
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
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.
Jan 15, 2012 Doret rated it liked it
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
Linda Lipko
Aug 08, 2014 Linda Lipko rated it really liked it
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
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
Donna Gephart
Mar 03, 2012 Donna Gephart rated it it was amazing
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
Jan Carlson
This book is a Coretta Scott King Honor winner. It takes place in New Orleans. The title is actually the main character. He's a funny young man, about to go into the 7th grade, and a clarinet virtuoso. Hurricane Katrina is headed toward New Orleans. Saint and his family have to get out. However, Saint wants to make sure Shadow the dog gets out too. I found this book slightly unbelievable. Saint pulled some real shenanigans trying to save Shadow, and his parents didn't seem upset with him. Not li ...more
Feb 08, 2016 Brian rated it liked it
I felt immersed in New Orleans culture from the first page, and I loved that the book was told from the viewpoint of an 11-year old. But the ending came way too quickly with way too many loose ends. And of course, I never enjoy reading children's books with foul language.
Abby Johnson
Sep 27, 2011 Abby Johnson rated it liked it
Shelves: blogged
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
Jenny Mock
Feb 29, 2012 Jenny Mock rated it really liked it
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
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