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A Fire Story
Contributor(s): Fies, Brian (Author)

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ISBN: 1419735853     ISBN-13: 9781419735851
Publisher: Abrams Comicarts
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Binding Type: Hardcover
Published: March 2019


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.  

Additional Information
BISAC Categories:
- Comics & Graphic Novels | Nonfiction - Biography & Memoir
- Comics & Graphic Novels | Literary
- Nature
Dewey: B
Physical Information: 0.9" H x 6.6" W x 9.1" (1.30 lbs) 160 pages
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Contributor Bio(s): Fies, Brian: - Brian Fies is a writer and cartoonist of the award-winning graphic novels Mom's Cancer and Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow? Although he lost his home, he and his wife are rebuilding in Santa Rosa, California.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2019 March #2)

"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.)

Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2019 May)

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 Award–winning 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

Copyright 2019 School Library Journal.
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