The storm pulled them apart. Can they stay strong while far away? In
this dramatic coming-of-age story, Hollis Williams matures in the
traumatic events of Hurricane Katrina. Living with his siblings and his
grandmother, Hollis's greatest wish has always been to reconnect with
his absent father. Through the turmoil of the storm and the ensuing
tests of his determination, Hollis keeps this dream alive. Their home
destroyed, Hollis and his younger siblings are taken to a shelter in
West Virginia, where he discovers what family means and finds his own
As a child psychiatrist in New Orleans, I have treated many children
who suffered through the events described in Ms. Dragon's book. Without
resorting to overly simplified stereotypes, she sensitively depicts
these children's suffering and survival, as well as the lives they led
before the day that, for so many, was a major transition line in their
development. Thank you Ms. Dragon for honoring the children of New
Orleans with a story of Katrina from their point of view.
Byron A. Hammer, M.D. Infant, Child, Adolescent, and Adult Psychiatry 2. An engaging narrative of survival
highlighting the impact of disaster on the most vulnerable among us,
socioeconomically disadvantaged children. If they survive, will they be
resilient enough to thrive? Jeffrey D Thompson, MDiv, LPC Psychotherapist with The New Orleans
Institute for Trauma Resolution and Compulsive Behaviors at River Oaks
Psychiatric Hospital. 3.Laura Roach Dragon’s
Hurricane Boy is eleven year old
Hollis Williams’ account of Hurricane Katrina’s impact on his life and family.
Hollis is a resident of the Ninth Ward, a severely impoverished section of New
Orleans that was flooded when the levee broke in Katrina’s wake. Hollis, his
older brother, Jonas, and two younger siblings, Leta and Algie, live with their
diabetic, wheelchair-bound grandmother, Gee. Rising water forces the family to
the roof of their house, where they must battle the elements, hunger, thirst,
and personal demons while waiting for help.
cause the family to become separated.When Hollis, Leta, and Algie are finally rescued from their roof, they
are transported to a shelter in West Virginia. It is here that Hollis must find
the inner strength to protect Leta, Algie, and himself from the dangers and
uncertainty of their situation.
another struggle as well—he wants to find his father—the man who abandoned the
family when the children’s mother was dying of cancer. “Dad was a waste,” Jonas
tells Hollis, but Hollis has difficulty accepting Jonas’ opinion.
Hurricane Boy doesn’t just take readers through
the devastation of Katrina. We also feel the pain, fear, and helplessness of
children separated from their families in the chaos following the storm. We
experience the loss of everything that makes people feel secure—home,
possessions, family, and community.
Dragon’s obvious compassion for the displaced victims of Hurricane Katrina
makes Hurricane Boy resonate. She
uses realistic dialogue and challenging situations to develop strong,
well-developed characters who captivate readers in the first chapter and stay
with us long after the last page.
children use their strengths and fight their weaknesses in efforts to make
sense of a world out-of-sync with everything they know. We meet the grandmother
whose firm, yet loving guardianship allows her grandchildren to survive in a
dangerous neighborhood before the storm, and in unimaginable situations
following the storm.
details are revealed in dialogue. We know that Gee is diabetic when Hollis says
to Gee, “Heat’s no good for your sugar.” We learn about the science of
hurricanes when Leta explains feeder bands and wind speeds.
between physical and emotional journeys of the characters keeps the reader
engaged. Splashes of humor lighten the serious nature of this story.
Hurricane Boy is a compelling story addressing
pertinent issues surrounding Hurricane Katrina. Even more important, though, Hurricane Boy addresses loss, fear,
insecurity, love and joy--emotions so deeply imbedded in the human condition
that anyone, anywhere can relate to them.
Author or Wings, Ricochet, and Imaginary Enemy
Winner of the 2008 Delacorte First Young Adult Novel Contest.
very readable tale of several children's harrowing odyssey after
Katrina is presented with great sensitivity, informed by clinical
insight. Though written for youth this grandfather could not put it
Lincoln D. Paine M.D.
River Oaks Behavioral Hospital
New Orleans, Louisiana.
5. When I started reading Hurricane Boy, I could not put it down. I HAD to know what happened to those kids and to Gee. Terri Hoover Dunham
The Legend of Papa Noel: A Cajun Christmas Story
Sleeping Bear Press
in real life, told with both heart-wrenching poignancy and surprising humor, Hurricane
Boy accurately depicts what happened to many children who were plucked from
rooftops and separated from their families in the horrifying aftermath of
Hurricane Katrina. It's a captivating account, a real page-turner.