Children’s Book Reviews
Children's Book Reviews: Fire Starters
Publish August 1, 2017
Jen Storm’s debut graphic novel, Fire Starters, explores what happens when two brothers from the Agamiing Reserve are falsely accused of arson by the sheriff’s son. Assuming Ron and Ben are guilty, the police treat the teens harshly and dismiss their grandmother’s insistence that the boys could not be involved in the fire. As rumours fly in their small rural town, the brothers face mounting discrimination at school and on the hockey rink. Meanwhile, the real culprits find it increasingly difficult to hide the truth.
Fire Starters reminds readers of the many perspectives involved in reconciliation. The story moves beyond Ron and Ben’s experiences as aboriginal teens poorly treated by a white community to include the experiences of law enforcement officers, family members, and even the arsonists themselves. Complementing the fast-paced plot, Henderson’s artwork is drawn from a wide variety of perspectives, and Yaciuk’s moody colours suit the rising tension experienced by all characters. A cautionary tale about the consequences of prejudice and racism, Fire Starters is a valuable addition to conversations about the importance of reconciliation and the power of the truth.
Roseanne Gauthier is the Youth Services Librarian for the PEI Public Library Service. She has worked in the Faculties of Education at both the University of Prince Edward Island and Mount Saint Vincent University and spent two amazing years as the Children’s Librarian at the Confederation Centre Public Library. She holds an MLIS from Dalhousie University, and an MA from the University of Waterloo. Roseanne lives in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island with her husband, their adorable daughter, and two tuxedo cats.
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