Another Kind of Hurricane

Posted on Jun 6, 2016 in BR Library

9780553511932By Tamara Ellis Smith
Publisher: Random House Children’s Books
Pages: 336
Lexile: 570L
Age Range: 9 – 12 Years

In this stunning debut novel, two very different characters—a black boy who loses his home in Hurricane Katrina and a white boy in Vermont who loses his best friend in a tragic accident—come together to find healing.

A hurricane, a tragic death, two boys, one marble. How they intertwine is at the heart of this beautiful, poignant book. When ten-year-old Zavion loses his home in Hurricane Katrina, he and his father are forced to flee to Baton Rouge. And when Henry, a ten-year-old boy in northern Vermont, tragically loses his best friend, Wayne, he flees to ravaged New Orleans to help with hurricane relief efforts—and to search for a marble that was in the pocket of a pair of jeans donated to the Red Cross.

Rich with imagery and crackling with hope, this is the unforgettable story of how lives connect in unexpected, even magical, ways.


“Elegant prose and emotional authenticity will make this title sing not only for those who have experienced tragedies, but for everyone who knows the magic that only true friendship can foster.”
—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“The hurricane’s outcome isn’t glossed over. Smith takes her time showing the struggle and desperation New Orleans citizens experienced. Through Zavion, we learn how hunger may cause people to steal and how being turned away from safety at gunpoint can cover them with a veil of hopelessness. Even so, Another Kind of Hurricane is not dependent on Hurricane Katrina to steer the story. Grief is the driving force.”
The New York Times Book Review, Kimberly Willis Holt

“Two 10-year-old boys, Zavion and Henry, live 1600 miles apart in New Orleans and in Vermont; facing separate tragedies, they become connected by a treasured marble and by the power of their grief. After Zavion loses his home to Hurricane Katrina, he and his father move to a temporary home in Baton Rouge. Meanwhile, Henry’s best friend Wayne has a fatal accident while hiking on a mountain trail. Debut author Smith handles the aftermath of both events tenderly, as well as how they begin to unite the characters: Henry loses a marble that he and Wayne shared when his mother donates his jeans to a New Orleans charity; Henry hitches a ride to the city with a volunteer in an attempt to find the marble. Meanwhile, Zavion stows away in a bird rescue van back to New Orleans. Smith sensitively depicts both Henry’s rage toward the mountain he loved for betraying him and Zavion’s consuming feeling of obligation to the home that has vanished. As the boys’ paths converge, their stories are gracefully laced together and their individual communities are vividly imagined.”
Ages 9–12. Agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (July)
Publishers Weekly