Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes

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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.

Ninth Ward is a deeply emotional story about transformation and a celebration of resilience, friendship, and family--as only love can define it.

About Jewell Parker Rhodes

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Jewell Parker Rhodes is the Piper Endowed Chair and founding artistic director of the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University. She has won numerous awards for her books for children and adults. Ninth Ward, her first novel for young readers, was named a Coretta Scott King Honor Book, a Notable Book for a Global Society, and a Today show Al's Book Club for Kids selection. You can visit Jewell online at
Published August 16, 2010 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. 215 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Travel, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Action & Adventure, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Born with a caul, 12-year-old Lanesha can see and sometimes communicate with spirits, and her guardian, former midwife Mama Ya-Ya, has dreams and visions that foretell the future.

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Twelve-year-old Lanesha lives with her surrogate mother, Mama Ya-Ya in the lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans.

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Common Sense Media

Though not related to Lanesha by blood, Mama Ya-Ya offers Lanesha all the love of both a mother and a grandmother, and they are both fully aware of how lucky they are to have each other.

Aug 16 2010 | Read Full Review of Ninth Ward

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