New novel takes on Hurricane Katrina from child’s perspective

When Hurricane Katrina hits, 9-year-old Gertie evacuates New Orleans and spends a year in Memphis, making new friends and a new life in Nechama Liss-Levinson’s “When the Hurricane Came”
(PR NewsChannel) / July 18, 2012 / GREAT NECK, N.Y. 
When the Hurricane Came

"When the Hurricane Came" by Nechama Liss-Levinson

“When the Hurricane Came” (ISBN 1470082535) by Nechama Liss-Levinson follows a young girl as her family rebuilds their life in Tennessee after Hurricane Katrina devastates their hometown of New Orleans. The author drew on her own experience with the disastrous storm as a volunteer worker on two relief missions to the Crescent City.

Intended for children ages 8 to 11, this novel helps its young readership learn to cope with sudden change in any circumstance. The book follows 9-year-old Gertie, who must leave behind her house, her possessions and her friends. She will spend the next year in Memphis making new friends at a new school, celebrating the Jewish holidays in someone else’s house and learning how to deal with loss.

“When the Hurricane Came” is ultimately a story about charity and focusing on what is truly important in life. In the midst of difficult times, Gertie will learn that we all are capable of great sacrifice and can band together to promote the greater good.

Liss-Levinson’s book will appeal to young readers who want to know how they would deal with a natural catastrophe or even with the more mundane problems that life brings. Written by a psychologist, it reveals the ways, both bold and subtle, in which children cope with the complexities of life. The postscript of the book offers suggestions for children to plan their own social action projects to make the world a better place. In support of this theme, the author is sponsoring a “Be the Change” essay contest for children in grades three through six. Kids are asked to write about what they think they could do or what they have already done to help others and change the world. Contest rules appear on the book’s website, listed below.

“When the Hurricane Came” may be the only novel for children that looks at how Hurricane Katrina affected the life of a Jewish-American family. This makes it “a valuable addition to children’s literature,” says Johanna Hurwitz, author of “Busybody Nora” and other popular children’s books.

As the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaches and the hurricane season moves into full swing, this timely children’s novel addresses the reality of communities who showed resilience in the face of tragedy.

“When the Hurricane Came” is available for sale online at and other channels.

About the Author: A practicing psychologist, Nechama Liss-Levinson is the author of four other children’s books, including “When a Grandparent Dies” (Jewish Lights Publishing) and “Remembering My Pet” (Skylight Paths Publishing). “When the Hurricane Came” was the recipient of the Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award from the Association of Jewish Libraries.

Nechama Liss-Levinson
Phone: (516) 466-0361


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