Authors: Tamara Ellis Smith
In connection with the publication of this book, the author has made a donation to the nonprofit organization
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Text copyright Â© 2015 by Tamara Ellis Smith
Cover art copyright Â© 2015 by Christopher Silas Neal
All rights reserved. Published in the United States by Schwartz & Wade Books, an imprint of Random House Children's Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York.
Schwartz & Wade Books and the colophon are trademarks of Penguin Random House LLC.
Visit us on the Web!
Educators and librarians, for a variety of teaching tools, visit us at
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Smith, Tamara Ellis.
Another kind of hurricane / Tamara Ellis Smith. â First edition.
Summary: The world itself seems to bring together Henry, whose best friend died near their home in the mountains of Vermont, and Zavion, who lost his home in Hurricane Katrina, so that the boys can help each other heal.
ISBN 978-0-553-51193-2 (hc) â ISBN 978-0-553-51194-9 (glb)
ISBN 978-0-553-51195-6 (ebook)
[1. Loss (Psychology)âFiction. 2. FriendshipâFiction. 3. DeathâFiction. 4. GriefâFiction. 5. SurvivalâFiction. 6. Hurricane Katrina, 2005âFiction.] I. Title.
eBook design adapted from printed book design by Rachael Cole
Random House Children's Books supports the First Amendment and celebrates the right to read.
For everyone in New Orleans and Vermont whose lives were affected by Hurricane Katrina or Tropical Storm Ireneâand for everyone who came to help.
And in memory of my grandmother Eleanor Ellis,
a secret writer and real adventurer. If she were alive today, I know she'd take me on a garage-sale hunt for magic marbles.
From high in the sky, above the pathways of parrots, above cloud lines, above the blueâwhere the moon and the sun take turns shining over rivers and valleys, oceans and forests, towns and cities and farmlandâfrom here you can see things
To the south, a thick white wind chases its tail. Rain crashes down like an endless bucket of marbles tipped on its side. Fish dive deep to escape the deafening sound, stray dogs slink to the edges of buildings and press their bodies against the walls, people fill plastic bottles with water, push furniture against doors, grab the hands of their children and pull them up flights of stairs
It is a hurricane
From high in the sky, you can see the spiral of ocean water, moist air, and windâand a boy in the middle of it all
But that's not all you can see
If you turn your head, if you look north, you can see another
spiral. A spiral of sharp, cold air; a mountain; and another boy. Listen to the beating of his heart. Pounding, pelting, whooshing like rain and wind. Inside the boy, rain falls like an endless bucket of marbles tipped on its side, and wind blows hard
It is another kind of hurricane
The wind wrapped itself around the two-by-fours that held Zavion's house straight and tall. The wind pushed and moaned just beneath the drywall. Papa had said they needed to get to the attic, to the highest point in the house.
But the attic didn't seem high enough.
The wind snuck through the walls. First blowing up and then pounding. Then sideways. Pound. Then down. Pound. Then down again with a piercing squeal. Zavion didn't know where he would feel it, or where he would hear it next. His teeth chattered. He squeezed his eyes shut, but that didn't stop the wind and that didn't stop his body from shaking so hard he thought his heart might shake right out of his chest.
Zavion closed his eyes and pictured Grandmother Mountain. He imagined climbing to its top. A real mountain would rise above this wind and Zavion would be safe.
“Zavion!” Papa called through the wind. He sounded far away, but he was only downstairs.
“I'm coming up!”
Zavion's eyes darted around the room. Nothing was where it should be. Papa's rolls of canvas caught and tore on nails protruding from the walls. They flapped in the wind like shredded flags. Zavion crawled over to the window and held on to the sill. He peeked outside. It was morning, but it seemed as if the wind had blown the hours forward into night.
The dark sky poured rain on Zavion's street. Only it wasn't a street anymore. It was a river. The wind came again and Zavion's hands shook as he gripped the wooden sill. He pressed his chin against his hands to still them, but then his chin shook too.
Outside lay an enormous oak tree split in half. A work boot, jammed between two dangling branches. A lamp, sucked in and out of the water. A piece of the roof had broken off his neighbors' house and sped down the river. Someone clung to the roof. He strained his eyes to see who it was andâ Was it? Yes. His neighbor's daughter. Zavion took care of her sometimes. It was so easy to make her laugh.
The wind gusted. She slipped on the wet roof.
Zavion closed his eyes. When he opened them again, a man was pulling the little girl out of the water.
The attic was definitely not high enough. It was not the top of a mountain. A mountain would rise above this.
This was the end of the world.
Zavion had lost all controlâfor only the second time everâand this was the end of the world.
Zavion's fingers dug into the wood on the sill. He tried to calm himself. He remembered the bench outside his school where he sat to tie his sneakers before he ran home every afternoon after cross-country practice. His bed neatly made with his pillow squared and his book tucked into the top right corner. His peanut butter and honey sandwiches wrapped in wax paper and lined up in the refrigerator.
“Sweet Jesus!” Papa stood, soaking wet, at the top of the attic stairs. “The first floor. It's flooded. Sweet Jesus. I couldn't save anything.”
“What about your paintings?” asked Zavion.
“All my murals. All my paintings. They're gone.” Papa dropped an armful of cereal boxes and two cartons of juice onto the floor. “This was all I could get.”
“What about the second floor?”
“I don't know. Everything is shakingâ”
“What about my room? Mama's mural?”
“Oh, Zavion, I just don't knowâ”
“I'll get the survival kit,” said Zavion. He'd made it himself,
put it in the downstairs hall closet. He'd check on his mural when he went to get it.
“There are water moccasins down there, Zav. Snakes swimming in our kitchen.”
“You're not going downstairs.” Papa stood like a fence in front of the stairway, but his eyes moved frantically around the room. “We have to leave.”
Zavion pulled ruined canvases over to the window, and he and Papa waved them like flags, trying to get the attention of the helicopter flying overhead. But it kept on going.
The wind gusted and flung Zavion to the attic floor.
“The walls are breaking,” Papa said. “We have to get out of here.”
The wind found a path that it liked. It was a violin bow then, squealing back and forth across the two-by-fours. Back and forth, back and forth. Screaming. It splintered the walls of the attic and set itself free. But the wind stayed inside Zavion. The screaming wind filled him. Stayed twisted around the bones in his body.
Zavion pulled himself up. He and Papa waved the white flags again, and this time, when a helicopter flew overhead, it shone its lights on them. But then it just kept on going.
It kept on going.