IndyPL Kids Book Blog's Reviews > Ninth Ward

Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes
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's review
Mar 06, 2012

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bookshelves: kid-life
Read in February, 2011

Ninth Ward is the story of Lanesha and her Mama Ya-Ya during Hurricane Katrina. It is a story with a lot of tension in it because you can feel the storm approaching while Lanesha and Mama Ya-Ya try to decide what to do. They see their neighbors begin to evacuate but they don’t have a car. They decide to get some groceries, just in case, but the supermarket shelves are empty. The TV keeps blaring for them to “get out” but they have no way to get out. Mama Ya-Ya is 82 years old and there are no buses or taxis to take them away. With each hour that passes you can sense their options dwindling until all that is left is staying and riding the storm out.

This is a story about finding the strength to do something difficult when you can’t get any help from anyone. One of the most heartbreaking scenes is when Lanesha realizes the water is inching up the attic steps, where they have taken refuge. She measures a step and then counts to see how many minutes it takes for the water to rise one step. She figures they have two hours left before they either drown in their own attic or jump into the dark, polluted water. What do you do when all of the choices you have left are bad? Author: Jewel Parker Rhodes

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