Reading guide for Zane and the Hurricane by Rodman Philbrick

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Zane and the Hurricane

A Story of Katrina

by Rodman Philbrick

Zane and the Hurricane
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Feb 2014, 192 pages
    Jul 2015, 192 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Elena Spagnolie

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Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

  1. Define family from the points of view of Zane, Malvina, and Mr. Trudell Manning.
  2. Describe Zane's relationship with his mother.
  3. Why was his mother so determined for him to meet his father's relative?
  4. Discuss Zane's thought that "you can't miss someone you never knew."
  5. Why didn't Miss Trissy tell Zane the reason his father ran away from home?
  6. How did her silence make Zane more curious about his dad?
  7. Explain why Tru thought a boy should know about his daddy.
  8. How did Zane's idea about family change by the end of the novel?

  1. Explain why putting more effort in gym class may have benefitted Zane when he was struggling to survive against the rising water.
  2. Why was the Superdome the only chance that some citizens had for survival?
  3. Describe the living conditions at the Superdome.
  4. Explain how crime ravaged the city and threatened the wellbeing of many people, including Zane, Malvina, and Tru.
  5. Why did Tru realize that they had to get out of New Orleans?
  6. How did Zane and Malvina call upon their ingenuity to get Tru out of the city?
  7. Explain how Tru saved Malvina by risking his life, and how Malvina saved Tru by risking her life.

  1. Discuss how the minister at the New Mission Baptist Church instilled hope in his parishioners.
  2. Explain how Mr. Trudell Manning managed to stay calm and hopeful.
  3. Tru encouraged the children not to look back.
  4. Debate whether this advice was hopeful or hopeless.
  5. Discuss how the chaos and lack of food, water, and healthcare at the Superdome made Zane feel hopeless.
  6. How did Tru's cousin Belinda give them hope at the end of the story?
  7. Explain the irony in the name of her animal shelter.

  1. Zane experienced fear throughout the novel. What were his most fearful moments?
  2. Explain what Zane meant when he said that being afraid is tiring.
  3. How did Malvina and Tru help to calm his fears?
  4. At what point did he begin to panic?
  5. In what ways did fear cause Zane to feel homesick for his mother?
  6. How did the news coverage of Katrina create fear in Zane's mother, especially when she couldn't reach her son by telephone?
  7. In what ways was Malvina fearless?

  1. Explain what Belinda meant when she told Malvina that she had the "heart of a lioness Cite evidence from the novel to support this claim.
  2. Discuss Zane's courageous journey from the moment he arrived in New Orleans until his mother arrived from New Hampshire to take him home.
  3. How did Tru and Malvina show courage when they rescued Zane and Bandit?

  1. Debate whether Zane acted responsibly when he chased Bandit back to Miss Trissy's house.
  2. How did Tru step up and take responsibility for Zane and Malvina?
  3. At what point did the children have to become responsible for Tru?
  4. What might Zane's mother say to him about responsibility once they safely returned to New Hampshire?

  1. Discuss Miss Trissy's opinion on the subject of race and color.
  2. She preferred the term "mixed race" instead of "multiracial." Explain the difference.
  3. Define racial profiling. How were Zane, Tru, and Malvina victims of racial profiling?
  4. Tru said that the police and fire department weren't looking out for the people in their neighborhood. How was this a form of profiling?
  5. Explain the role of racism in the scene where guards used a helicopter to rescue expensive rugs and threatened Tru's life.

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of The Blue Sky Press. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

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