Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere
Chronicle Books / 2015
Auteur·rice : Julie T. Lamana
Les premières lignes / the first lines :
Friday, August 26, 2005 – 3:17 p.m.
I was on my tippy-toes, bouncing up and down on the first step of the bus, stuck behind my second cousin, Danisha, and her melon-sized butt. My little sister, Sealy, was up in there sobbing, but there wasn’t a dang thing I could do about it, 'cause I was all squished between the biggest fifth-grader in the Lower Ninth Ward and a clump of sweaty kids all but killing each other behind me.
Danisha hit me square in the chest with a booty-bump and glared over her shoulder. “Girl, you best stop pushin’ me!” Her bottom lip was rolled out so far, I couldn’t help that my eyes went straight to the shiny bubblegum-pink underside.
“Hey, hey, hey, now, you girls stop all that messin’ around,” my bus driver mumbled all slow in his old-man voice. Mr Frank had drove my daddy to school when he was a kid, using the same old bus, except it was new and shiny back then, not all beat-down and rusted-out like it was for us. Daddy guessed Mr Frank had to be close to a hundred and twenty years old.
Contenu / content :
Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere is a first-person narrative. The narrator, Armani Curtis, can think about only one thing: her tenth birthday. All her friends are coming to her party, her mama is making a big cake with blue icing, and she has a good feeling about a certain wrapped box. Ten years old is a big deal to Armani. It means she’s older, wiser, more responsible. But when Hurricane Katrina hits the Lower Nines of New Orleans and tears her world apart, Armani realizes that being ten means being brave, watching loved ones die, and mustering all her strength to help her family survive the storm.
Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere is such a gripping novel. Not only does it tell about the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana but its lively style makes you experience it through a ten-year-old’s eyes. The characters, the descriptions and the situations sound true. Julie T. Lamana’s first novel is a brilliant story about courage and survival.
Pistes / Activities to participate in the festival :
3e/ 2nde : Katrina was one of the deadliest and most destructive hurricanes in United States history. Research Hurricane Katrina and create a visual presentation that illustrates your findings. The best videos or slide-shows will be displayed at La plage Verte during Cherbourg Children’s Books Festival.
Be sure to learn the following:
- When and where did Hurricane Katrina strike?
- Why was New Orleans so badly affected?
- What was the result of the levee breeches? What areas of the city were most impacted?
- What was the estimated cost of damage?
- What were the biggest challenges for recovery?
3e/ 2nde /1ère :
1 - Film a 3 to 4 minute (3e/2nde) or a 5 to 6 minute (1ère) Duo Interpretation (or Duo interp) of Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere by Julie T. Lamana and send it to Cherbourg Children’s Book Festival.
A duo interp is a short performance in which the two performers act out a literary piece under certain restraints : no eye contact, no touching your partner and no props. The performers can cut anything out of their piece but cannot add any dialogue.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duo_Interpretation or watch examples on youtube or on this link : https://lfib.ac.th/en/lfib-life/la-vie-du-secondaire/ressources-pour-la-classe/english-lecteur/3496-workshop-2nde
2 - Throughout the novel, readers are offered great insight about Armani’s point of view based on the events of Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere. Assume the role of Armani’s brother Georgie and imagine his account to his family, detailing what he may have experienced and witnessed after he jumped off the roof into the water (chapter 20, page 132). The best videos will be displayed at La Plage Verte during Cherbourg Children’s Book Festival.
To prepare, create an outline using the five Ws (who, what, when, where and why). Remember to write in first person and give special attention to sensory imagery (what you saw, smelled, heard, etc.).
3 - Select a favorite scene from Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere and create a comic strip for that scene or a graphic novel. The best comic strips or graphic novels will be displayed at La plage Verte during Cherbourg Children’s Books Festival.
The illustrations can be digitally or manually created. If so, the narrative and dialogues can be extracted, adapted or inspired from Julie T. Lamana’s text.
1ère : Write a sequel to the novel Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere or imagine what happens after chapter 60: focus on the reunion of the blended Curtis family in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The best sequels will be displayed at La Plage Verte during Cherbourg Children’s Book Festival.
To prepare, create an outline using the five Ws (who, what, when, where and why). Remember to write in first person and give special attention to sensory imagery and feelings.
Roman sélectionné pour le niveau 3ème-lycée