Claudia in the Storm: A Hurricane Katrina Survival Story (Girls Survive)

With Hurricane Katrina on track to hit New Orleans, twelve-year-old Claudia and her family are preparing to weather the storm. But nothing can prepare them for the awful flooding that occurs when the levees that surround the city fail. Even worse, after a chaotic helicopter evacuation, Claudia and her younger sister become separated from the rest of their family. Now it is up to Claudia to protect and comfort her sister through the tragedy. Readers can learn the real story of the Hurricane Katrina from the nonfiction back matter in this Girls Survive story. A glossary, discussion questions, and writing prompts are also provided.

The Boy Who Wouldn’t Read

The Boy Who Wouldn't Read by Denise McConduit

Robbie doesn’t like to read. Homework is horrible, libraries are boring, and his parents won’t stop nagging him to pick up a book! Robbie wishes that he never has to read again. When the sorcerer Sileas appears to grant his wish, Sileas tries to warn Robbie that he’ll be sorry for his stubbornness. But Robbie won’t listen, and with a twirl of Sileas’s magic wand, all the words in the world disappear.

Robbie’s wish has come true, but the world is not the carefree place of his dreams. Street signs are blank and money is worthless. Robbie is lost and alone, and without street signs, it is difficult to find his house. Without traffic signs, cars are crashing and people are confused about which bus to catch. When he finally makes his way back home, he thinks that life can’t get any worse-but that’s before he tries to fix himself a meal without the help of any food labels. What Robbie thinks is frozen pizza are actually popsicles, and his cookies are dog biscuits!

This topsy-turvy world without words isn’t fun-it’s dangerous, and Robbie is getting hungry. Sileas the sorcerer reappears, and Robbie tries to tell him that he’s learned his lesson. But will the word-wielding wizard restore the world with words?

Great book, good read. My daughter enjoyed reading it. There is a great moral to the story with wonderful twists I between.
— Berenice Guerrero, Amazon Reviewer

We received our book today and it is stunning in both prose and pictures. Both of my kids have just gotten it and have read it now several times. The main character Robbie is extremely relatable (especially) to my son! The distinct rhythms of the paragraphs were great in our fluency practice. The creativity pulled them and held them from start to finish. Kudos to Mrs. McConduit!
— Keyana J. Fletcher, Amazon Reviewer

D.J. and the Debutante Ball

D.J. and the Debutante Ball by Denise McConduitAt D.J.’s grandfather’s birthday dinner, an announcement is made. D.J. learns that his sister will be the queen of the debutante ball and that he will be a page. He soon discovers that being involved in a debutante ball is a lot of work and includes learning how to be a gentleman.

After one day there, D.J. and his cousin Alex prove to be washouts at the Maison de Etiquette School. However, Grandfather saves the day when he invites D.J. and Alex for a weekend away to learn about manners. Instead of being a chore, learning how to be a gentleman becomes an adventure for D.J. and his cousin.

D.J. and the Debutante Ball is a great book for all those little boys who love being boys and think that manners are just for girls. Sometimes, even little boys have to be gentlemen, as D.J. discovers, and this book makes learning etiquette fun.

“D.J.’s rough-and-tumble character contrasts entertainingly with the formal situation in which he finds himself. Young readers will sympathize with his resistance to becoming more civilized and they may pick up some tips about manners along the way.”

— New Orleans Times-Picayune

“Here is a delightful little book that helps us understand the Mardi Gras mystique and gives us another chapter in D.J.’s adventurous life.”

— Columbus (Miss.) Commercial Dispatch

D.J. and the Jazz Fest

D.J. and the Jazz Fest by Denise McConduitWhere in the world can children hear jazz, gospel, blues, and Cajun music? Where can they eat foods like shrimp po’ boys and strawberry snowballs? Where can they buy handmade crafts and see performances of all kinds by people of all ages? They can do all of this and more only at Jazz Fest in New Orleans!

D.J. reluctantly agrees to go to his first Jazz Fest with his mother and her godmother, Nanan. Looking cool in his favorite baseball cap and new sunglasses, D.J. first notices the large crowd of people and the huge tents everywhere that hold the stages for the performers.

At the Children’s Tent, girls perform an Oriental dance and a boy D.J.’s size breaks boards with his foot! D.J. meets his cousin, Jonathan, in the Children’s Tent, and they go on to have a great day filled with food, music, and crafts. As D.J. would say himself, “It was a great Jazz Fest weekend indeed!”

“D.J. reluctantly agrees to go to his first Jazz Fest with his relatives, only to discover an unexpected world of culture and music.”

— Midwest Book Review

“We go with him and are in for a truly invigorating experience.”

— Children’s Literature

“A book that is a celebration of a city and its music as well as a celebration of family.”

— Multicultural Review

“A wonderful children’s book to have in any elementary school or public library.”

— Louisiana Library Association Bulletin

D.J. and the Zulu Parade

D.J. and the Zulu Parade by Denise McConduitEvery child loves the fun and excitement of wearing costumes and pretending. Now imagine if you got the chance to dress up and ride in a Mardi Gras parade. That is exactly what happens to the main character in D.J. and the Zulu Parade. Yet riding on the popular Zulu parade on Fat Tuesday, dressed as a page to the queen of Zulus, he finds that along with the thrills comes some concerns. Like any child thrown into a new situation, young D.J. finds that it can be quite overwhelming. D.J has to cope with his fears of falling off the float, of what his costume will be, and about the make-up he will have to wear.

This book answers many questions children have about the customs and traditions of their own heritage, and it does so in a way children can understand and relate to. They can see their own fears and worries in D.J.’s view of the experience. The appeal of the book is to both the children of New Orleans who experience Mardi Gras every year, and children in general. The message of the book and the mystery of the traditions of New Orleans have a universal appeal.

A book for children aged five to eight, D.J. and the Zulu Parade is based upon the experiences of McConduit’s son who actually rode in the Zulu Parade. A busy mother of four, Ms. McConduit also finds time to write poetry and participate in the New Orleans Poetry Forum.

“Mardi Gras is coming and for the first time, young D. J. is going to be a page for the queen of Zulu, the oldest black parade in the New Orleans Mardi Gras. With his beads, costume, and even that dreaded makeup he despises so much, he is prepared to serve his queen as one of the stars of the parade.”

— Pelican Publishing Co.

“This is a lovely book about the history and traditions of a New Orleans tradition. It will appeal to young and old, black and white, especially now after Katrina when New Orleans people are trying so hard to hang on to what is left of their former lives and traditions.”

— Kathleen D., Slidell, LA