I’m a big fan of graphic novels. I actually started teaching a graphic novel unit when I taught sophomores and was amazed at how much my students really enjoyed reading the books and doing the assignments. Even my reluctant readers found graphic novels they enjoyed and my more advanced students could challenge themselves by examining the levels of symbolic depth that can be added in the graphic portion of the storytelling.
I was excited to see Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina & New Orleans on the Eliot Rosewater nomination list. This is a great look at a fairly recent historical event that so many current high school students have only a very passing knowledge of. They may know the name Hurricane Katrina, but few know real details.
This book is a great resource for them. The story is laid out chronologically, taking the disaster day by day. There are not huge chunks of text to dive into, but the pictures speak volumes. Although I would not call any of the images graphic, exactly, they are haunting and upsetting because they help readers understand the devastation in a very real way.
While the book does a pretty good job of keeping bias to a minimum, it does present the multitude of ways that local, state and federal agencies failed the people of New Orleans. The author also makes it very clear who was most impacted by the disaster: the poor.
I think this is an excellent book for anyone who likes graphic novels, but particularly for 7-12th graders who need some historical perspective