Storm Warriors

January 2001

Driven from his home by the Ku Klux Klan and still reeling from the death of his mother, Nathan moves with his father and grandfather to the desolate Pea Island on the Outer Banks of North Carolina to start a new life. Fortunately, life on Pea Island at the end of the 19th century is far from quiet. The other island residents include the surfmen--the African American crew of the nearby U.S. Life-Saving Station--and soon Nathan is lending an extra hand to these men as they rescue sailors from sinking ships. Working and learning alongside the courageous surfmen, Nathan begins to dream of becoming one himself. But the reality of post-Civil War racism starts to show itself as he gradually realizes the futility of his dream. And then another dream begins to take shape, one that Nathan refuses to let anyone take from him.


Awards and Honors

  • ALA Notable Children’s Book
  • Winner of the 2002 Virginia Library Association’s Jefferson Cup Award
    Virginia Young Readers Middle School List for 2003-2004
  • North Carolina Battle of the Books Reading List
  • ALA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults 2004
  • Los Angeles 100 Best Books of 2001 (International Reading Association)
  • Nebraska Golden Sower Award nominee
  • South Carolina Junior Book Award nominee
  • Sunshine State Young Readers Award nominee
  • Rebecca Caudill Young Readers Book Award nominee
  • Virginia Young Readers Award nominee
  • Maryland Black Eyed Susan Award nominee
  • Sasquatch Award nominee (Washington Library Media Assn.)
  • Georgia Children's Book Award nominee
  • Keystone to Reading Book Award nominee
  • Delaware Blue Hen Award nominee
  • Parent's Guide to Children's Media Award 2001
  • A Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Book
  • A New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age
  • Junior Library Guild selection
  • *Starred review The Book Report
  • *Starred review Voice of Youth Advocates
  • German translation
  • Featured on C-SPAN Book TV


The Book Report, starred review
"An excellent example of a book based on factual accounts with an intriguing fictional story intertwined. A wonderful novel for young adults."

"Carbone does a good job of suggesting not only just the physical setting but also the boy's strong sense of self, family, and community as an African American child growing up in a place and time when racism limited his choices, if not his ambitions."

"[A] rousing tale of men against the sea."

Horn Book
"A thoughtfully crafted first-person narrative, the book combines historical figures with created characters in the best traditions of the historical novel. It moves rapidly through a series of exciting battles with the inexorable forces of nature in a progression of short, readable chapters. The descriptions of setting are remarkable, engrossing but never intrusive. The whole is an adventure that brings to life the realities of life for many black people after the Civil War."

From School Library Journal
"...this is a beautifully told story, marked by convincing, distinctive characters and stirring descriptions of the surfmen's highly skilled and highly dangerous work. An author's note adds fascinating information about how the book came to be written."

Related Links - Information about Maritime safety today
US Life-Saving Service Heritage Association

For more information about the United States Life-Saving Service:

These images will help you see how the Breeches Buoy works.

towns folk come out to help
with breeches buoy rescue

breeches buoy rescue during a storm