Getting Ready for the Read-In

Monday, we’ll begin discussing Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes. I hope you’re going to join us!!

Have you looked closely at the amazing cover of this book?

Shino Arihara design this cover which hints of the magical aspect of the story. We can’t see much in the young girl’s face other than her determination and what about that flower umbrella?

In describing how she came to write the book, Rhodes says the following on her blog.

My own family had experienced the 1994 Northridge Earthquake; my children were five and three. My three year old stopped speaking; my five year old, kept hiding. For a week, my husband, children, and two dogs all lived on our “big bed” in a broken house without utilities. But we were all safe, and we were all together – I couldn’t imagine the trauma of dislocation and death Katrina caused to Louisiana families.

Still, it wasn’t until 2008 when Hurricane Ike was threatening New Orleans, that Lanesha’s voice spoke to me: “They say I was born with a caul, a skin netting covering my face like a glove.  My mother died birthing me.  I would’ve died, too, if Mama Ya Ya hadn’t sliced the bloody membrane from my face.

There she was! An orphan, someone nurtured with care by an elder, and someone born with a caul, a sign of  “second sight.” I just knew Lanesha was a survivor—a strong, resilient, and heroic child to be celebrated. With loving from Mama Ya Ya, friends, and the companionship of a dog, Lanesha would endure. Lanesha is the child who throws her arms about herself and says, “I like me.”

With that voice, I knew I had my next story.