A Fire Story
A Fire Story
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Annotation: Presents a true-to-life account of the 2017 Northern California wildfires that left homes destroyed, families broken, and a community determined to rebuild.
Catalog Number: #186100
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
No other formats available
Special Formats: Graphic Novel Graphic Novel
Copyright Date: 2019
Edition Date: 2019
Pages: 153 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-419-73585-3
ISBN 13: 978-1-419-73585-1
Dewey: 363.379
LCCN: 2018951659
Dimensions: 24 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
Kirkus Reviews
A new life and book arise from the ashes of a devastating California wildfire.These days, it seems the fires will never end. They wreaked destruction over central California in the latter months of 2018, dominating headlines for weeks, barely a year after Fies (Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow?, 2009) lost nearly everything to the fires that raged through Northern California. The result is a vividly journalistic graphic narrative of resilience in the face of tragedy, an account of recent history that seems timely as ever. "A two-story house full of our lives was a two-foot heap of dead smoking ash," writes the author about his first return to survey the damage. The matter-of-fact tone of the reportage makes some of the flights of creative imagination seem more extraordinary—particularly a nihilistic, two-page centerpiece of a psychological solar system in which "the fire is our black hole," and "some veer too near and are drawn into despair, depression, divorce, even suicide," while "others are gravitationally flung entirely out of our solar system to other cities or states, and never seen again." Yet the stories that dominate the narrative are those of the survivors, who were part of the community and would be part of whatever community would be built to take its place across the charred landscape. Interspersed with the author's own account are those from others, many retirees, some suffering from physical or mental afflictions. Each is rendered in a couple pages of text except one from a fellow cartoonist, who draws his own. The project began with an online comic when Fies did the only thing he could as his life was reduced to ash and rubble. More than 3 million readers saw it; this expanded version will hopefully extend its reach.Drawings, words, and a few photos combine to convey the depth of a tragedy that would leave most people dumbstruck.
Publishers Weekly
-On Monday, my house disappeared,- begins this quietly devastating graphic memoir. In 2017, Fies (Mom-s Cancer) and his wife, Karen, lost their home to the Sonoma County wildfires. Fies posted sketches about their experience online as it happened, then expanded the hastily drawn strips (included at the end of the book) into this measured, well-researched account. Despite the pain he and his wife endure sifting through the ashes, Fies goes light on sentimentality, instead focusing on the realities of surviving the crisis and rebuilding literally from the ground up. Moving beyond his own experience, Fies shares the -fire stories- of other Sonomans, illustrating -the comfort and horror of realizing you-re not alone.- It-s the small details that give the telling weight: the black puddles of liquefied trash cans; the remains of Christmas decorations; how Fies has to tell his car insurer that he no longer has a license plate because the car melted; the search and rescue teams checking bedsprings for human bones. The clean, simple art, tinted in bright spot colors, gives the material breathing room and makes the characters relatable. Without pleading or preaching, this affecting record guides readers through the experience of enormous loss, then out through the other side. (Mar.)
School Library Journal Starred Review
In 2017, California wildfires drove author-illustrator Fies ( Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow? ) from his California home with his wife and some scant possessions. In the days after, Fies chronicled his story through a webcomic, created from scans of his Sharpie-drawn pages. Now he has expanded the narrative to include the months following the disaster, incorporating the accounts of fellow survivors. Much like his Eisner Awardwinning Mom's Cancer , this book is heartrending. The art is cartoonish (bringing to mind Calvin & Hobbes ), which helps ease the sadness. There's a brief moment of profanity (as the author stares at the ruins of his home), but there is otherwise no explicit content. Some readers may not want to read the wordy side stories, but they can be skipped in favor of the core tale of Fies and his family. VERDICT In an era of increasing national disasters, this book will help teens understand the impact of tragic events. A must for most collections. Tammy Ivins, University of North Carolina at Wilmington
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
A new life and book arise from the ashes of a devastating California wildfire.These days, it seems the fires will never end. They wreaked destruction over central California in the latter months of 2018, dominating headlines for weeks, barely a year after Fies (Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow?, 2009) lost nearly everything to the fires that raged through Northern California. The result is a vividly journalistic graphic narrative of resilience in the face of tragedy, an account of recent history that seems timely as ever. "A two-story house full of our lives was a two-foot heap of dead smoking ash," writes the author about his first return to survey the damage. The matter-of-fact tone of the reportage makes some of the flights of creative imagination seem more extraordinary—particularly a nihilistic, two-page centerpiece of a psychological solar system in which "the fire is our black hole," and "some veer too near and are drawn into despair, depression, divorce, even suicide," while "others are gravitationally flung entirely out of our solar system to other cities or states, and never seen again." Yet the stories that dominate the narrative are those of the survivors, who were part of the community and would be part of whatever community would be built to take its place across the charred landscape. Interspersed with the author's own account are those from others, many retirees, some suffering from physical or mental afflictions. Each is rendered in a couple pages of text except one from a fellow cartoonist, who draws his own. The project began with an online comic when Fies did the only thing he could as his life was reduced to ash and rubble. More than 3 million readers saw it; this expanded version will hopefully extend its reach.Drawings, words, and a few photos combine to convey the depth of a tragedy that would leave most people dumbstruck.
Reading Level: 6.0
Interest Level: 7-12

Early morning on Monday, October 9, 2017, wildfires burned through Northern California, resulting in 44 fatalities. In addition, 6,200 homes and 8,900 structures and were destroyed. Author Brian Fies's firsthand account of this tragic event is an honest, unflinching depiction of his personal experiences, including losing his house and every possession he and his wife had that didn't fit into the back of their car. In the days that followed, as the fires continued to burn through the area, Brian hastily pulled together A Fire Story and posted it online--it immediately went viral. He is now expanding his original webcomic to include environmental insight and the fire stories of his neighbors and others in his community. A Fire Story is an honest account of the wildfires that left homes destroyed, families broken, and a community determined to rebuild.


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