A Storm Called Katrina by Myron Uhlberg and Colin Bootman

When I chose this book from Netgalley, I wondered if information about a national disaster could be distilled into a meaningful (and appropriate) children’s book. The answer is: absolutely.

A Storm Called Katrina Front Cover

A Storm Called Katrina Front Cover (Peachtree Publishers)

THE PLOT: Louis Daniel is a 10-year-old boy who lives in New Orleans. When the levees break, Louis’s family is forced to abandon their home and try to make their way to safety. But in the Superdome, Louis’s father becomes separated from the rest of the family. What can a little boy do to help find him in all the chaos?

MY TWO CENTS: The book does a fantastic job of making a connection between Louis and a little lost dog. As I’ve mentioned in another post, sometimes people feel more strongly about animals than they do about human victims. Children especially will be more interested in a poor abandoned dog who finds a happy home than they would be in human refugees, yet the point is made. Also, it’s wonderful that Louis gets to use his musical talent, and the one item he took from their flooded house (his horn), to help his father find them in the Superdome. It makes Louis the hero of the story in a believable way. It emphasizes that children can use problem-solving skills, and the talents they develop can be used in ways they wouldn’t necessarily imagine. The illustrations are very nice. They show the family’s danger, but aren’t overly scary.

BOTTOM LINE: If your child asks questions about disasters such as Katrina, or you feel your child should be gently exposed to some of the harsher realities of life, check out this book. It’s a way to introduce a difficult subject while still highlighting the positive elements of human survival.

TEACUP RATING: Five out of five teacups. The recommended age is for Age 4/preschool and up, but I think first grade (Age 6 and up) might be more appropriate. Really, it depends on the maturity/reading level of your child. As always, read the book yourself first to make a determination.

ON SALE DATE: The book is available now in hardcover.

Note: Review is based on an ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Innkeeper’s Dog by Deborah Bence Boerema

This is the first children’s book I’m reviewing, and it’s well worth checking out. It’s written especially for Christian families, but I think its message would be appealing to any religious group if adults make slight adjustments as they read to children.

The Innkeeper's Dog Front Cover (Tate Publishing and Enterprises, LLC)

The Innkeeper’s Dog Front Cover (Tate Publishing and Enterprises, LLC)

THE PLOT: Thaniel the Spaniel has been hearing stories his whole life about the night Jesus was born. He feels left out and inadequate next to his other animal friends, who all gave gifts to the baby. As time goes by, though, Thaniel learns that his own special qualities are gifts he can continue to give every day.

MY TWO CENTS: It’s been many years since I considered myself a religious person…and the end of this book choked me up. I’m not even kidding. I truly felt like I was reading someone who gets it, who really understands the true meaning of Christianity. If you are Christian, this would be a beautiful story for your children to grow up with.

I think non-Christian parents could also slightly adapt the book as they read to children. After all, the message of service to and care of your fellow humans is universal, and a very worthwhile message to pass on to children. For instance, think of Charlotte’s Web. Its message isn’t specifically Christian, but the idea of sacrificing for your friends is common to many religious beliefs.

Finally, I love that The Innkeeper’s Dog has a dog as the main character. Awww, puppies! The illustrations are very sweet and children will enjoy looking at them.

NOTE: Some activities related to the book are available here under the “Lessons from Thaniel” tab.

BOTTOM LINE: A perfect children’s story for Christmas, or really any time of year. Start a new family tradition with this book.

TEACUP RATING: Absolutely 5+ out of 5 teacups. Incorporate reading into an afternoon teatime with your children to nurture their love of reading.


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