Wind by Roland Smith (Storm Runners, book 1)

(Book 1 – Wind, book 2 – the Surge, book 3 – Eruption)

Author’s website with link to Storm Runners online game   and  author video/trailer

Summary: Chase is dropped off with a family friend at their Florida “farm” ( with circus animals: elephant, large cats, etc.) while his father travels to nearby St. Petersburg to  help people prepare for Hurricane Emily. Chase and two friends are stranded when the hurricane shifts course and takes aim at his bus ride home.

Personal Reaction: The book is short and keeps the suspense moving with each chapter given a time stamp. Book 1 only runs through the hurricane as it arrives and hovers (the eye of the storm) and the sequels tackle the storm as it departs. I have a real issue with alligators, and this book really gives me the willies because the kids are forced to deal with gators in several ways. I don’t mind making sure kids understand the seriousness of a hurricane, but I hope this doesn’t give younger kids nightmares or make them feel they have to carry a “go-bag” every day.

Points for discussion with children or topics for study: Hurricane safety, natural disaster preparedness; teamwork

Connections to other books? non-fiction about hurricanes or hurricane safety (Florida’s Hurricane History by Barnes, or SAS Urban Survival Handbook for those who want to be Chase); Hurricane Song by Volponi gr 8+, Escaping the Giant Wave by Kehret gr 5+

Realia: flashlights or headlamps, batteries, rain poncho, mylar blanket, GPS unit, satellite phone, Florida hurricane tracking maps, stuffed animals or figurines, power tools, circus flyers, athletic trophies or medals (swimming, track), school bus model, backpack, lightning bolt earring

Food items connected to story: energy bars, coffee & doughnuts

Review based on audiobook format.

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