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Drowned City
Cover of Drowned City
Drowned City
Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans
by Don Brown
Borrow

Sibert Honor Medalist ∙ Kirkus' Best of 2015 list ∙ School Library Journal Best of 2015 ∙ Publishers Weekly's Best of 2015 list ∙ Horn Book Fanfare Book ∙ Booklist Editor's Choice
On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina's monstrous winds and surging water overwhelmed the protective levees around low-lying New Orleans, Louisiana. Eighty percent of the city flooded, in some places under twenty feet of water. Property damages across the Gulf Coast topped $100 billion. One thousand eight hundred and thirty-three people lost their lives. The riveting tale of this historic storm and the drowning of an American city is one of selflessness, heroism, and courage—and also of incompetence, racism, and criminality.
Don Brown's kinetic art and as-it-happens narrative capture both the tragedy and triumph of one of the worst natural disasters in American history. A portion of the proceeds from this book has been donated to Habitat for Humanity New Orleans.

Sibert Honor Medalist ∙ Kirkus' Best of 2015 list ∙ School Library Journal Best of 2015 ∙ Publishers Weekly's Best of 2015 list ∙ Horn Book Fanfare Book ∙ Booklist Editor's Choice
On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina's monstrous winds and surging water overwhelmed the protective levees around low-lying New Orleans, Louisiana. Eighty percent of the city flooded, in some places under twenty feet of water. Property damages across the Gulf Coast topped $100 billion. One thousand eight hundred and thirty-three people lost their lives. The riveting tale of this historic storm and the drowning of an American city is one of selflessness, heroism, and courage—and also of incompetence, racism, and criminality.
Don Brown's kinetic art and as-it-happens narrative capture both the tragedy and triumph of one of the worst natural disasters in American history. A portion of the proceeds from this book has been donated to Habitat for Humanity New Orleans.

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  • OverDrive Read
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Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    5.6
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
    MG
  • Text Difficulty:
    4

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Awards-
About the Author-
  • Don Brown is widely praised for his dramatic storytelling, excellent pacing, and evocative art. His books have earned numerous starred reviews and awards. He lives on Long Island with his wife (and occasional collaborator), Deborah Nadel; daughters, Sheahan and Corey; and mutt, Woody. Visit his website at www.booksbybrown.com.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from May 25, 2015
    Brown follows The Great American Dust Bowl (2013) with the story of the hurricane that destroyed New Orleans. He traces the sequence of events that left the flood levees breached and the city flooded with “a disgusting stew of oil, seawater, feces, rubber tires, foul linen, house paint, shattered lumber, and rot of all kinds.” It’s a grim, heartrending account. Thousands were stranded in venues utterly lacking in supplies or facilities. The crucial question of why the city’s African-American community suffered disproportionately is not dealt with on its face, but Brown’s artwork reflects the city’s diversity, and he recounts the victims’ indignities and outrages with deep sympathy. The author quotes President George W. Bush’s fulsome words for the head of FEMA—“Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job”—then observes, “The President’s praise confuses many Americans.” Lively, dynamic sketching gives the artwork a sense of urgency and immediacy. It is as important to tell the story of a nation’s failures as it is to record its triumphs, and this is a crucial contribution. Ages 12–up. Agent: Angela Miller, Miller Agency.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from May 1, 2015
    Following the stellar The Great American Dust Bowl (2013), Brown tells the story of Hurricane Katrina and its impact on New Orleans, beginning with "a swirl of unremarkable wind" in "early August, 2005" and ending with the observation that "By 2012, only 80 percent of New Orleans's residents had returned." Artwork with the high quality of early Disney animation-strongly drawn figures against electrically charged watercolor backgrounds-seamlessly co-tells a dramatic tale with text that ranges from simple, factual sentences to quotations from an extensive collection of books and media. The text and artwork clearly reveal two separate but inextricably connected horrors: devastation caused by a high-category hurricane and the human responsibility that lay behind the nightmarish scenarios. The book is fast-paced and hard to put down, sequential panels used to perfect advantage. A couple is shown in rising water in their home, scratching a hole through their roof to safety. Later, a crowd of 15,000 waits, without supplies, in a fetid convention center, for impossibly slow help to arrive. "Mayor Nagin is never seen there." The final frame of that series depicts a woman on her knees, crying out, "Help us!" In addition to quoting and contextualizing such now-infamous sayings as, "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job," the book pays homage to the heroism of many, both professionals and volunteers. An excellent chronicle of the tragedy for a broad audience; children, teens, and adults will all be moved. (source notes, bibliography) (Graphic nonfiction. 12 & up)

    COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from August 1, 2015

    Gr 7 Up-A murky watercolor storm spreads across pages, darkening and becoming more ominous as it builds in Brown's deeply affecting look at Hurricane Katrina. Dynamic sketches capture shocking scenes, such as residents fleeing down claustrophobic highways as the 400-mile-wide storm looms in a nearly completely dark spread. Brown depicts broken levees, flooded homes, and inhabitants scrabbling to not drown in their attics. A stunningly powerful spread shows water everywhere and two lone people trapped on a roof. The images demonstrate the utter devastation and despair while the at times spare text powerfully reveals the voices of the victims. The many failures of President Bush, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Mayor Ray Nagin, and others are repeatedly noted, as is the heroism of various organizations and ordinary people. Brown walks readers through the ghastly conditions at the Superdome, the horrors of hospitals with no electricity, and the nightmarish reality of dead bodies everywhere. The story becomes grimmer at every turn: ineffectual police and rescue efforts, looting, the lack of housing for rescued victims, and 5,000 missing children. The muted watercolors effectively capture the squalid and treacherous conditions of every inch of New Orleans. The final pages show the rebuilding efforts but note the lasting effects of vastly decreased populations. VERDICT This astonishingly powerful look at one of America's worst disasters is a masterful blend of story and art and a required purchase for all libraries.-Amanda MacGregor, Great River Regional Library, St. Cloud, MN

    Copyright 2015 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans
Don Brown
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