Read-In: Ninth Ward


I’ve really enjoyed the questions and comments that Doret and Vasilly have generated on their blogs! I’ve had a busy week this week, much busier than I would like with such a project going on, but thinking about Lanesha and MamaYaYa has kept me grateful, has kept me focused and has given me purpose this week.

Here are my questions!

1.   Lanesha talks a lot about symbols in the book. She mentions words, numbers and math as symbols. I found other symbols in the book; what symbols did you find? What did they mean to you?



2.  My grandmother was like a second mother to me. My sister and grandmother both had 6 fingers. I was in the NOLA train station that summer before the hurricane hit and I’ll always remember the beautiful murals in that building. I cannot think of a deeper way the story relates to me, thankfully my coming of age was nothing like Lanesha’s.  How does the story relate to you?




3 thoughts on “Read-In: Ninth Ward

  1. 1. I’m always attuned to food as symbols. On page 110, Lanesha doesn’t smell the normal Sunday breakfast smells and we know she never will again in quite the same way — it’s a symbol of the change that is about to happen. On page 121: “I look around me — the kitchen is clean, quiet, and the refrigerator is filled with food and water.” Lanesha feels pride about getting everything ready for Katrina and that full refrigerator felt to me a symbol for her resilience and independence.

    2. My mother died in July 2005 and I remember while watching the news of Katrina in August and early September that I was oddly glad that she didn’t live to see it. My grief for my mother and the people lost in New Orleans all kind of got tied up together. Her house was in the small town of Louisiana, Missouri and a lot of her cleaning and cooking gear that we cleared out of the house that fall ended up on a truck called Louisiana helping Louisiana. It went to churches down there to help people with clean up and re-establishing households. I remember crying after delivering my last load to that truck a few hours before it left on its journey. Thinking of my mother’s stuff being used by people who needed it somehow made both her death and their suffering very real to me.


  2. I really like how the story had a deeper meaning about family. I love that Lanesha had someone like Mama Ya-Ya to believe in her and encourage Lanesha to be herself. Sometimes I think we don’t see that enough in YA lit but we see it more in MG.


  3. Joy, You really had a special connection to this story, didn’t you? I’m glad you were able to make such a positive and meaningful connection with your donations.
    I have to admit I missed the symbolism with the food! There was a lot there, though to show Lanesha’s growing independence.

    Vasilly, you are right! YA novels usually stay away from strong family ties. I wonder how the story would change if it had been written for older teens?


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