As Florida and Louisiana, Puerto Rico, and other Tropical Cyclone affected populations deal with the impacts of hurricanes and other tropical storms, some have written hurricane-based literature. These works may tell the stories of real or imagined experiences of living through a hurricane to provide insight for others not affected, or provide warnings in a playful way to younger children. These stories took on a higher level of prominence following the impacts of Hurricane Katrina and the nation remembering the Crescent City’s experience.
In this article, we share 8 books about the Katrina Hurricane, and other tropical cyclones.
THE GREAT HURRICANE: 1938 BY CHERIE BURNS
This nonfiction book uses firsthand accounts like diary entries to depict the 1938 hurricane’s impact on Long Island and New England. In a time before reliable meteorological predictions, many people’s plans continued with no warning about the coming storm. Winds reached 180 miles per hour, devastating the coastline. This is a fascinating piece of local history.
SALVAGE THE BONES BY JESMYN WARD
Jesmyn Ward won the National Book Award twice: first for this novel in 2011 and then for Sing, Unburied, Sing in 2017. This novel follows a working class black family in rural Mississippi in the days leading up to the tropical cyclone known as, Hurricane Katrina. Esch, the 14-year-old narrator, is resilient and relatable. Readers get to know about everything from her love of ancient mythology to her sexual feelings.
THE PERFECT STORM BY SEBASTIAN JUNGER
This creative nonfiction bestseller from 1997 tells the story of the so-called “perfect storm”: a rare combination of storm systems. The fishing vessel the Andrea Gail, from Gloucester, Massachusetts, was lost and all six crew members presumed dead. In 2000, the book was adapted into a movie starring George Clooney.
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ZEITOUN BY DAVE EGGERS (for Tropical Cyclone)
In this nonfiction book from 2009, Eggers tells the story of Abdulrahman Zeitoun, a Syrian immigrant, and his wife, Kathy. After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Zeitoun navigates the streets of New Orleans in a canoe, assisting neighbors and local animals. He’s later suspected of terrorism and arrested. The stress takes a huge toll on his family. If you’ve followed this story in the news recently, you know that their lives have become even more tumultuous since the book was published.
THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD BY ZORA NEALE HURSTON
This novel is Hurston’s best-known work, a classic of African American literature and American literature in general. It’s a brilliant exploration of race, a young woman’s romantic and sexual awakening, and nature. The 1928 hurricane in southern Florida is important to the plot, as well as symbolically. A passage about the hurricane’s raw power also provides the novel with its title.
MOON TIDE BY DAWN CLIFTON TRIPP (for Tropical Cyclone)
This historical novel begins in 1913 and culminates in the infamous Great Hurricane of 1938. Set in the small, coastal town of Westport, Massachusetts, most of the novel describes small-town life, social class, and relationships. The slow pace picks up near the climax, when the hurricane arrives.