Another Kind of Hurricane
Tamara Ellis Smith
My middle-grade novel, Another Kind of Hurricane, is the story of two ten-year-old boys—Zavion, who lives in New Orleans, and Henry, who lives in rural Vermont—and the remarkable intertwining of their paths right after Hurricane Katrina. How do Zavion and Henry meet? It’s all thanks to a marble—a small, round, lucky piece of glass—tucked away in a pair of Henry’s jeans that his mom accidentally donated to the hurricane relief effort. Now they are Zavion’s jeans. Rich with imagery and hope, Another Kind of Hurricane explores how lives connect in unexpected, even magical, ways.
I’m not a huge procrastinator. I don’t like the feeling of knowing something has to be done—it just sits in my brain, popping like popcorn, which is so uncomfortable—so I usually get things done as soon as I can. But not always. And when I want put things off, I do it either by getting lost in a book or surfing the web. (I especially like looking for sweet music videos, Jon Stewart clips, recipes, or cool shoes!)
Henry and Zavion love procrastinating, though. Henry does more than Zavion (he’s a little like me and doesn't like that feeling of something hanging over his head), but they both definitely have their favorite ways to avoid doing what they don’t want to do.
Henry’s Five Favorite Ways to Procrastinate
1. Teaching his dog, Brae, cool tricks—like skateboarding, getting a water bottle out of the fridge, and taking out the garbage.
2. Watching endless hours of Animal Planet and learning weird animal facts.
3. Hiking up and hanging out on Mount Mansfield.
4. Going to the pet store and playing with the guinea pigs, rabbits, kittens, and snakes.
5. (A secret one) Playing with his half brothers and sisters.
Zavion’s Five Favorite Ways to Procrastinate
1. Arranging and rearranging his room.
2. Running errands—like food shopping at the market (he likes to cook).
3. Doing striders on the block outside his house. (A strider is a run over a short distance where you begin easy and increase speed and then slow down again.)
4. Videoing things he sees on walks around his neighborhood with an old camera his neighbor gave him.
5. (A secret one) Taking long showers while singing or playing pretend trumpet at the top of his lungs.
Brae is an even better dog than Lassie!
Henry could watch Animal Planet all day!
Mount Mansfield. It's the tallest mountain in Vermont!
View of Lake Pontchartrain, near Zavion's neighborhood.
Three of Zavion's lucky rocks that he keeps on his windowsill.
He can arrange and re-arrange them for hours!
Is this Zavion? Nah, it's a statue of Louis Armstrong in New Orleans. But Zavion imagines its him some times…
Tamara Ellis Smith earned her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives in Richmond, Vermont, with her family. This is her first novel. Visit her on the Web at www.tamaraellissmith.com.
*All photos from Wikipedia except for the striped rocks, which are from: http://www.portlandmonthly.com/portmag/2014/07/rocks/
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “ I don’t usually/often read middle grade….” This book is something special. ANOTHER KIND OF HURRICANE is an unforgettable story of how lives connect in unexpected, even magical ways, and is rich with imagery and hope. It has also been selected as an Indies Introduce New Voices Summer/Fall 2015 pick.
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