One School, One Read

  • Begin: page 86 – “Malvina gets quiet…”

  • End: page 99 – “...hope for the best.' he says.”


Information for this Section:

  • The city of New Orleans, Louisiana is divided into 17 wards. Politically, the wards or local neighborhoods are used in voting in elections, subdivided into precincts. The city has not had officials elected to represent wards since 1912, but the ward designations remain a part of New Orleans' fabric. Socially, it is not uncommon for New Orleanians to identify where they are from by their ward number. The State of Louisiana is divided into 64 parishes (French: paroisses) in the same way that 48 other states of the United States are divided into counties.
  • A levee is an elongated naturally occurring ridge or artificially constructed fill or wall, which regulates water levels. It is usually earthen and often runs parallel to the course of a river in its floodplain or along low-lying coastlines. The main purpose of artificial levees is to prevent flooding of the adjoining land and to confine the flow of the river. Look at these breached levees

Discussions Questions

  1. One page 86, Zane looks at other survivors and thinks they are “probably wondering what a light-skinned New Hampshire boy is doing in this particular neighborhood.” Can make any inferences about the neighborhood? How does this reflect segregation, profiling, class differences?
  2. When Malvina sees Dylan Toomey  “[she] looks at him the way she looked at the snake that slipped into our canoe.” How is she feeling?
  3. On page 95, Tru says: “Zane Dupree! Guess you figured out by now, you dint get rescued by no Red Cross!” What does he mean?
  4. On page 98, Zane says “I got this awful feeling the bad stuff isn’t over”. Why do you think he feels that way?
  5. On page 99, Trudell says, “This a place don’t take kindly to strangers” he says after observing the “big, stately homes.” What does he mean?



  • As the survivors enjoy the food from the school cafeteria, Malvina says the New Orleans fish sticks don’t taste bad, especially with dipping sauce. Try this remoulade sauce recipe with fish sticks.
  • On page 99,  Trudell says “Don’t tell me about no Red Cross. They gone. Evacuated and left us to our troubles.” Look at Red Cross response and rescue effort for Katrina.  Read this summary to see how the organization did not meet the needs of the victims.
  • Explore more information about what a levee is by looking at this article.
  • Take a look at the canoe video here or the canoe steering guide here. Does anyone have any experience paddling a canoe? How did you learn? Was it difficult? Keeping in mind the flood water levels, do you think this could be even more difficult for the characters?  What extra challenges might they have?