“Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina & New Orleans” By Don Brown

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.

  • 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 

-Description from Amazon.com

About the Author

Don Brown is the award-winning author and illustrator of many picture book biographies. He has been widely praised for his resonant storytelling and his delicate watercolor paintings that evoke the excitement, humor, pain, and joy of lives lived with passion. School Library Journal has called him “a current pacesetter who has put the finishing touches on the standards for story graphics.” He lives in New York with his family. Source: booksbybrown.com.


Read aloud tips

  • Introduce/review the elements of a graphic text.
  • Using the resources in the back of the book provide a context for Hurricane Katrina
  • Introduce the book, author and illustrations.
  • Be creative in ways to read this book aloud as it ties into science, history & social studies (and of course brings out issues of social justice).
  • Set the tone for classroom discourse surrounding civil rights and social justice.
  • Think about ways that issues could be debated as a class (use the debate centers).

Additional information

Winner of the 2016 ALA Sibert Award Honors

Winner of the 2016 Orbis Pictus award

Will Eisner Award Nominee for Best Publication for Teens

“An excellent chronicle of the tragedy for a broad audience; children, teens, and adults will all be moved.” –kirkusreviews.com

“This book could almost make its point on the powerful illustrations alone, but Brown’s precise language secures the historical details in an unforgettable way.” –nytimes.com

Buy this book!

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