Title: A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge
Author: Josh Neufeld
Publisher: Pantheon Books (2009)
Happy day four everyone! If you’ve read all four of my posts thus far, you are awesome, mom! Just kidding. My mom doesn’t have a computer.
A word about my rating for this book. It may be a bit controversial because the language in this book would make it a rated “R” film; however, I feel strongly about the usefulness of this book in the classroom. I use it. I have a class set. I would not hesitate to allow a younger student to read this book. The language comes from a real place, and Hurricane Katrina is a time in our history in which I do not want our artists pulling punches.
If Don Brown’s Drowned City is the terrifying big picture of Hurricane Katrina, then Neufeld’s is what we see when we take a magnifying glass to Brown’s work. Focusing on actual survivors of the event, A.D. uses actual images, conversations, and news footage, and delivers a personal telling of the event. Perfect for the English or Social Studies classroom, this text, paired with Brown’s book, and I pair it with some of Spike Lee’s HBO documentary When the Levees Broke, is a perfect look into the tragic event.
As an educator, there is a lot to discuss with this book, and if you go to my Resources Page, you will find a list of questions that I use with this book in my own classroom. I get a lot out of discussing the large images and color shifts evident in the book. Like Drowned City, the immensity of the images in A.D. help in the overall understanding of the disaster. There are also many pages with no words at all, allowing us to take in the images silently.
In 2015, Neufeld penned a ten-year-later follow up comic that is available on the web. He re-visits with most of the people featured in A.D. to see how they are ten years after Katrina. Put it all together with some YouTube of the hurricane, and you have an amazing unit not only on an event that devastated our country, but one that opens up a world of interesting discussion topics about live, government, priorities, etc.
This is an important graphic novel. This type of reporting (minus political cartoons) is rare, and it can engage the readers in ways traditional text and video cannot. If you have not read this book. Go get it. You will not regret it.
I reviewed this in a previous blog, but I did not consult it when I took on this one, but I’m linking to it here if you want to check it out. Some of the same ideas, but a few new ones as well.