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Extended Audio Sample Ninth Ward, by Jewell Parker Rhodes Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,834 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jewell Parker Rhodes Narrator: Sisi Aisha Johnson Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2010 ISBN: 9781449840471
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Twelve-year-old Lanesha lives in a tight-knit community in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward. She doesn’t have a fancy house like her uptown family or lots of friends like the other kids on her street. But what she does have is Mama Ya-Ya, her fiercely loving caretaker, wise in the ways of the world and able to predict the future. So when Mama Ya-Ya’s visions show a powerful hurricane, Katrina, fast approaching, it’s up to Lanesha to call upon the hope and strength Mama Ya-Ya has given her to help them both survive the storm.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Jewell Parker Rhodes has written a powerful novel about family and survival in the face of tragedy and has created in her twelve year-old narrator, Lanesha, a true heroine.” 

    Walter Mosley

  • “The dynamics of the diverse community enrich the survival story, and the contemporary struggle of one brave child humanizes the historic tragedy.”

    Booklist

  • “Heartbreak and hope are reflected in Lanesha’s story, which will capture even reluctant readers due to the inventive storytelling and the author’s ability to bring history to life.” 

    School Library Journal

  • Recipient of a Coretta Scott King Award Author Honor in 2011

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Emily | 1/31/2014

    " I don't usually write a prose review, but this book warrants at least this. The language is gorgeous, and the story is well-crafted and can be appreciated by tweens and non-tweens. it takes an event that is still sad and charged for so many and gives it notes of hope. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nichole Hurst | 1/28/2014

    " The book recreates the before and after events surrounding Hurrican Katrina for a twelve year old black girl named Lanesha, who grows up in the lower ninth ward of New Orleans. After her mother's death, Lanesha is cared for a woman who helped birth her- Mama Yaya, who is considered a healer and midwife. Abandoned by Lanesha's uptown family, Mama Yaya didn't hesitate to take the girl in. Unfortunatley, Lanesha is bullied at school and made fun of for her green eyes, despite loving math and being a smart girl. Lanesha and Mama Yaya both have mystical powers, as Lanesha is able to see ghosts and Mama Yaya is psyhic and can see the future. Yaya dreams of a storm that is followed by blackness, which is Hurricane Katrina. With no money to evacuate, Lanesha has to take on the responsibility of survival for the two of them. This is when Lanesha's character fully develops, and we see her become a strong reslilent young woman. Rhodes further develops the plot at this point with Mama Yaya's health failing, the water continuing to rise, and the chaos that took place after this horrible event. This book uses clean languange and could be used in an upper elementart classroom, but I would target it at middle school students. This is a book that I would have in my classroom library, but one that I would use to teach about New Orleans and Hurrican Katrina, mystical themes, and stong family relationships. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 3samantha | 1/26/2014

    " I loved the book. It was very interesting and sad. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Malen | 1/19/2014

    " Good book ever!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 svm | 1/14/2014

    " this book made me think of the writing of toni morrison and jeannette winterson. sort of mystical/magical. a very gripping story at the end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rebecca Anderson | 1/10/2014

    " Great book about Katrina for kids in 4-8th grade. The last 1/4 of the book was especially riveting. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mandy | 12/18/2013

    " This was beautiful! I love stories about New Orleans, specifically about Katrina. And I loved the tie-in of the supernatural ability to see the non -living :-) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jenny | 11/9/2013

    " the book was sad and exiting at the same time "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jennifer | 10/3/2013

    " Loved this story - heartbreaking yet hopeful. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dolores | 5/18/2013

    " A lovely story about love and the strength and confidence that you can draw, regardless of the situation from being so very loved. This is a great way to introduce a very ugly story to younger readers. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mackenzie Rodeghier | 3/24/2013

    " This book was a very real account of people surviving in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. It was very inspirational, easy enough to read, and really raised cultural awareness! I'd recommend this book for middle schoolers. Overall an interesting read! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stephanie | 2/12/2013

    " Touching story about Hurricane Katrina and its effects on a child. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Melina Romin | 5/12/2012

    " Spoiler alert:tear tear- Mama YaYa dies -sniff sniff "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shreya | 1/18/2012

    " The book is good and has a lot of morals in it. It shows how important life is, and the struggles people face. In my opinion the book was nice to read. At first I thought it was boring but then it became interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Portia | 10/29/2011

    " This book was ok i mean it really grabbed me and it felt like i should start preparing for Katrina [despite that it already happened]it had a really good plot and it was exciting just what every book should be like!!! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chelsea | 5/21/2011

    " I feel like this proves to me again that things become more real and thought provoking on page. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Fabulous | 5/19/2011

    " I really enjoyed this book about a young girl's experience with Hurricane Katrina. It gave wonderful insight on the less fortunate in New Orleans and provided great insight into cultural beliefs. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hoover Public Library Kids and Teens | 5/11/2011

    " Great read for all of us who are continuing to deal with the devastation left by the April 27th tornadoes. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laura | 4/28/2011

    " A wonderful, beautiful book. Lanesha is an amazing character. Too bad we all don't have the self-empowerment and positivity she does. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nicole | 4/13/2011

    " Loved the writing style- very lyrical and poetic. Beautiful imagery and cadence. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katie Jane | 4/4/2011

    " Listened to this one. The reader is fabulous. It only took me FOREVER to listen to because I had to take a break in the middle. Why? Because I was listening to it during the April 27 tornadoes, and it was hitting too close to home. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barbara | 3/30/2011

    " Quick read. The strongest part of the novel is the description of the Hurricane and the breaking of the levees. As the author described the rising water, my heart was in my mouth. Excellent depiction of the fear that must have gone through the 9th Ward. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stephanie | 3/27/2011

    " Very interesting fictional account of Katrina. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Donquierafaber | 3/20/2011

    " After reading this, I can't imagine a children's book about Katrina being written any other way. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Martha | 3/19/2011

    " So sad and beautiful. I became pretty attached to Lanesha, and would definitely read another book about her. I want to know what happens next! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Abby | 3/6/2011

    " Jewell Parker Rhodes uses imagery that evokes all the senses to paint a picture of New Orleans' Ninth Ward and then builds tension pitch-perfectly depicting Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Courtney | 3/3/2011

    " A slow start, but an excellent book. "

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