Book Review: I Survived Hurricane Katrina

I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005

If you use Scholastic book clubs, you might (like me) collect a lot of points. I use them to order books for the classroom, and it is well worth the bookkeeping it takes. This year, I have been really trying to keep an eye on non-fiction or at least realistic fiction, knowing that I need to keep adding those kinds of texts with the shifts our state is going through with the Common Core. On our last order, this bundled collection of “I Survived …” books caught my eye (quick: cue up Gloria Gaynor … or Cake).

Although I thought they were non-fiction (maybe I need better reading skills), the series is actually realistic fiction of survival. The bundle includes stories about shark attacks, the Titanic and Hurricane Katrina. I decided to jump into I Survived Hurricane Katrina, just to get a taste of the story by Lauren Tarshsis. I liked it. While somewhat simple and perhaps lower reading level than my students are used to, the story of an 11 year old boy who gets separated from his family during the storm, clings to trees and debris to survive, helps rescue a stranded dog, and then himself is rescued by a good samaritan made for a fast-paced adventure story.

I also appreciated the end notes by Tarshis, where she talks about the inspiration for the book (including her anger at the government for not protecting New Orleans and then not doing enough, quick enough, to help survivors) and provides lots of facts about Katrina and its aftermath. I could see a lot of research exploration around hurricanes, government policy and planning, survival and hardship, and more with this book.

Peace (in the rising tide),


  1. I really appreciate hearing this very good review as I work as an Asst. Librarian as well as having survived Katrina and the floods myself. It is important that the cover photo though not leave people with the impression that in the city of New Orleans that the flooding was rampant and deep during Katrina. That flooding was due to the shoddy levee system. When the scene was like that was well after Katrina had left the area and the winds had died down. Now for the Mississippi Gulf Coast it was very different and if the book was pictured there it would reflect what was going on at landfall.

    Paul Harris
    Author, “Diary From the Dome, Reflections on Fear and Privilege During Katrina”

    • Thanks, Paul. The book does make it clear about the levees and the story centers more on the survival of the protagonist. I’m glad you stopped by.

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