When (Natural) Disaster Strikes

by Jocelyn R.

Tornadoes. Earthquakes. The tail-end of a hurricane. These are the natural disasters I’ve personally experienced. I still remember the tornado siren going off when I was in first grade, and the long minutes that followed as we crouched down in the hallway with our arms over our heads, waiting to see what was going to happen (no one was injured, but the school’s windows were destroyed). Ever since these childhood experiences, I’ve been drawn to books that portray natural disasters, both fictionalized accounts and true stories about the events.

Want to read about flooding? While not a completely natural disaster (since the flooding was caused by the collapse of a failing dam after torrential rains), the Johnstown Flood devastated the area. The Johnstown Flood by David McCullough is an engaging narrative nonfiction book that describes the events leading up to the devastating Johnstown flood and its aftermath, while novel in verse Three Rivers Rising by Jame Richards puts a human face on the disaster.


Does living in an earthquake prone area make you wary about reading earthquake stories? Not me! I truly enjoyed reading Aftershock by Jill Sorenson. The romantic suspense novel opens with an earthquake that collapses an overpass and traps several people beneath. And if true stories are more edifying for you, you might try A Crack in the Edge of the World: America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906 by Simon Winchester. This book draws on first-person narratives of the time to explore the San Francisco quake.

Now, don’t think I’ve forgotten about hurricanes. Royal Street by Suzanne Johnson is an urban fantasy novel full of action, magic, and intriguing plot twists that portrays the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina and the city’s long recovery. And Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina & New Orleans by Don Brown is a fast-paced and compelling graphic novel that uses text and artwork to reveal the grim reality of the storm.


Wild fires freak me out! But that doesn’t stop me from reading about them. Two romance novels that explore this natural disaster (even though arson is sometimes the cause of the fire) are Chasing Fire by Nora Roberts and Wild Heat by Bella Andre.

So, these are just a few of the books I’ve read about natural disasters. Do you read books on this topic? Have any favorites to share with us?


Tags: , , , ,


One response to “When (Natural) Disaster Strikes”

  1. Jackie P. says:

    Three Rivers Rising is WONDERFUL. I was drawn toward any and all disaster books as a kid and teen. I blame Richard Peck‘s Blossom Culp novel, Ghosts I Have Been, where she somehow gets stuck on the Titanic.

Leave a reply (comments are moderated before posting)