Southern Cross the Dog by Bill Cheng
This is a well written first novel about Robert a poor eleven year old black boy in Louisiana. The great flood of 1927 hits and his life takes many turns. He travels full circle from his childhood friends back to those same friends enduring the loss of his family, his jobs, his freedom and his dignity all the while taking care of those he considers his friends. Robert wants nothing more than to be rid of his terrible life yet he keeps a talisman around his neck to keep the “dog” that follows him at bay.