Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes should be on every school’s reading list.
A storm is brewing in the Gulf.
Lanesha and Mama Ya-Ya are looking for signs to determine just how bad it will be. They both have the gift of “the sight”. Meaning, they can see ghosts and interpret meaning in things to predict the future.
Mama Ya-Ya can see the storm forming in her dreams. But there’s something clouding the aftermath that is to come. Unsure of what it all means, she calls on Lanesha to ask her mom for an answer. But Lanesha, an orphaned child with a “don’t feel sorry for me,” attitude hasn’t spoken to her mom in years despite seeing her on a daily basis; fore she died birthing Lansehsa and has haunted Mama Ya-Ya’s house ever since.
Ninth Ward tells the story of a little girl growing up in one of the hardest hit communities during 2005 Hurricane Katrina.
Curious about the world she lives in and beyond, Lanesha’s love for learning prompts her to grasp onto new vocabulary words and incorporate their meaning into her daily life the same way she does with the many signs Mama Ya-Ya has taught her to recognize.
Acknowledging just how different she is from other children, Lanseha sticks to herself despite being surrounded by a tight knit community of peculiarities. However, when goodnatured and well meaning kids begin to gravitate to her, Lanesha begins to ponder if just being herself isn’t so different after all.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Rhodes’ ability to create relatable characters is what makes her one of my favorite authors. I would recommend this book to anyone, young and old who enjoys a plot driven book with a fearless heroine.
Review by Trinika A.