GRAPHIC NOVELS
A Fire Story
illus. by Brian Fies. 160p. Abrams ComicArts. Mar. 2019. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9781419735851.
COPY ISBN

RedReviewStarIn 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.

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