Publication Date:

May 2024



Age Group:

5 - 9 years


20.32 x 25.4 cm

Original language and publisher

English | Minerva

Territories Handled

World excl. Asia and North America





★“Stunning…. a powerful, multilayered depiction of an increasingly common situation.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED

“A touching story about having to leave your home in haste…. shows the importance of art in our lives in the most difficult moments. Absolutely gorgeous illustrations.” – Katie Fransen, The Novel Neighbor, St. Louis, MO

“So full of heart and kindness and joy. I was so moved…the illustrations are beautiful and the words flow so neatly….This one is winning awards. I’m sure of it.” — Lindy Wilson, librarian

“Touching.” – Booklist

“Evocative….Phan’s inventive illustrations … introduces a full rainbow spectrum of experience.” – Publishers Weekly

Powerful, poetic, and gorgeous. — The Conscious Kid

“Belongs in every K-5 school collection….the beautiful thing about this book is that the words and illustrations produce critical thinking, and believes in the capacity of school age children to discuss current events with a sense of wonder, compassion, and intellectual depth.” – Stephanie Creamer, Librarian, International School of Ho Chi Minh City

From Pulitzer Prize-winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen and illustrator Minnie Phan comes an unforgettable story of a Vietnamese American girl whose life is transformed by a wildfire.

When Simone is awakened by her mom as a wildfire threatens their home, it is the beginning of a life-changing journey. On their way to take shelter in a high school gym, the family passes firefighters from a prison unit battling the fire. Simone’s mom tells her that when she was a girl in Viet Nam, she was forced to evacuate her home after a flood. Joined by other children sheltering in the gym, Simone, a budding artist, encourages everyone to draw as a way to process their situation. After a few days, Simone and her mom are able to return to their home, which is fortunately still standing, and her outlook has changed. As Simone begins creating a piece of art with one of her new friends from the shelter, she realizes that they too can be firefighters, dreaming and working for a more sustainable future. With a poetic, haunting family story by esteemed author Viet Thanh Nguyen and gorgeous art from Vietnamese American illustrator Minnie Phan, this powerful tale introduces an unforgettable young heroine who awakens to a new role fighting for her community and for the future of the planet.