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Eight Dolphins of Katrina: A True Tale of Survival

Last updated Monday, February 22, 2016

Author: Janet Coleman
Illustrator: Yan Nascimbene
Date of Publication: 2013
ISBN: 054771923X
Grade Level: 3rd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Apr. 2015

Synopsis: On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina crashed a forty-foot tidal wave over the Marine Life Oceanarium in Gulfport, Mississippi. The dolphin house was demolished, and its inhabitants swept from their tank into the Gulf of Mexico. After growing up in captivity, how could the eight bottlenose dolphins feed and protect themselves in the wild? And if they could survive, would their trainers ever see them again? This fascinating picture book—enriched with both beautiful color-wash illustrations and photographs taken by the trainers themselves—tells this dramatic, happy-ending story.

Note to readers:
•  Read the inside cover of the book that explains what happened to the dolphins during Hurricane Katrina.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What do you think the book is about?
•  Have you ever seen a dolphin? Where?
•  Who do you think is Katrina?

•  Oceanarium- a large seawater aquarium in which marine animals are kept for study and public exhibit.
•  Bouy- an object that floats on water to show areas that are safe or dangerous for boats
•  Bow (of a boat)- front of a boat
•  Pod- a group of ocean animals that are swimming together
•  Commentator- a person who provides a description on a television program of an event (such as a sports contest) as it is happening
•  Conservation- the protection of animals, plants, and natural resources

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Do you think it was hard to transport the dolphins to the swimming pools?
•  What happened to the dolphin house?
•  Why did they bang the buckets together and blow the whistles?
•  Do you think all eight dolphins stay together?
•  Where did they take the dolphins after they found them?

Craft ideas:
•  Make a collage using tissue paper and magazine cutouts to make a ocean scene showing dolphins, seaweed, and other marine life. See: (towards the end of the page)
•  Make a scrapbook similar to the one at the end of the book. Draw your favorite pets or different animals & write something about each one's personality.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!