Young Survivors of Major Hurricane

Ninth Ward

Working together as a team through difficult times creates bonds that will last a lifetime.

In the Ninth Ward, the theme of working together as a team is expressed in the way Lanesha and TaShon survive Hurricane Katrina. When the waters started rising and flooding Lanesha's house, she and TaShon were able to escape to the roof and out of the water's reach. But they needed to get to safety, so when Lanesha spots a fishing boat stuck between two nearby houses, she and TaShon try to get it unstuck. They were trying to grab a long, slim tree trunk out of the water to knock the boat out of its place. On page 199, Lanesha narrates, "Together, me and TaShon inch the long, slim trunk out of the water, balancing it with our hands and bodies." Then she thinks, "Thank goodness the tree trunk isn't bigger. Thank goodness I have TaShon." This shows that without TaShon, Lanesha wouldn't have been able to get the tree trunk or even find the courage and hope to try. Working together also created a stonger relationship between the two because they both learned that they have each other's backs, no matter what hardships they had to go through together. On page 212, Lanesha says, "' Mama Ya-Ya says we're going to be fine, TaShon. I say, we're going to be best friends forever.'" They both found that they were compatible with each other and that they were both strong and persevering enough to get through the storm and the flood. They may have been bullied at school, but they certainly had the strength and willpower to survive something much bigger. Without the brave teamwork between the two, who knows what would have happened!

In the book, two kids, Lanesha and TaShon, work as a team to survive Hurricane Katrina, going through incredible hardships together.

In the Ninth Ward, there are three main characters, Lanesha, Mama Ya-Ya, and TaShon. Lanesha is a twelve year-old girl who lives in the Ninth Ward in New Orleans with Mama Ya-Ya. She is constantly bullied about her "witch eyes", which are green with specks of yellow. She can also see ghosts. Mama Ya-Ya is the midwife who helped birth Lanesha, and has taken care of her ever since her mother died at childbirth. She is old and half-blind, but loves Lanesha with all her heart and sees her for the person she really is. TaShon is a boy Lanesha's age who is also bullied by kids at school, and likes to be alone and invisible to others. But when he and Lanesha work as a team during the flood, his true character is brought out, and he is a very strong-willed boy. These three characters have to face Hurricane Katrina, which ruins their neighborhood and floods their house. Mama Ya-Ya was very sick and troubled at the time, and she dies when they are trying to escape the water. After that, the two kids escape to the roof, where they knock a boat free from a stuck position, and row their way across the water until rescuers find them. Through this whole thing, Lanesha and TaShon create a strong friendship that will last forever.

Jewell Parker Rhodes

Jewell Parker Rhodes was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She loves to read and write stories, and she travels globally to teach creative writing to middle schoolers, high schoolers, and college students. Writing the Ninth Ward was a dream come true for her. This book won many awards, two of them which were the 2010 Coretta Scott King Award and the 2010 Parent Choice Foundation Gold Award.