In April of 1986, when I was about 7 and a half, a tornado blew through my small Nebraska town. That’s not at all uncommon. But that day the tornado destroyed my grandparents’ home, the big white house they had lived in since my mother, her sister and two brothers were little kids. It also took the roof off of the barn and did other damage around the property.

I was working in the picture books today and saw two books about tornadoes that looked like great stories.

Marsha Diane Arnold dedicates the book to her father’s seven brothers and sisters, two of whom share names with the two sisters in the story. The oldest sister seems to be the bravest until the day of the tornado. Claustrophobia stops her from heading for the safety of the storm cellar and only her little sister can help her overcome it.

It does not say if the story is based on an actual event, or where it took place. But the story talks about Sandhills plums and a town called Ravenna. Where I am from in Nebraska is at the edge of the Sandhills and there is a town called Ravenna not too far away. My guess is that most Midwest states can be generalized like that. 

Lucille and Natt are enjoying a warm summer day when the weather turns bad. Mama puts them in the storm cellar and goes after their elderly neighbor. The kids ride out the storm alone and, like always, the storm passes.

These stories give very realistic descriptions of what tornado weather is like. The green sky (green like the algae on the horse tank’s surface or like Lucille’s mama’s guacamole) and the thickness of the air. If you live in tornado alley, you can picture it exactly.

I also found a chapter book on my fiction shelf I’d like to read:

This story is based on the tornadoes that hit Grand Island, Nebraska in 1980. I’m too young to remember it happening but I’ve heard the stories.

I’m hoping no one is too badly injured in it. My family was fortunate and only lost material possessions. Grandma and Grandpa were safe and sound and the storm passed.


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