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Fire Starters

By Jen Storm
Illustrated by Scott B. Henderson & Donovan Yaciuk
Imprint: HighWater Press

Categories: Young Adult Fiction, Prejudice & Racism, Coming of Age, Law & Crime
Big Ideas: Aspects of Indigenous Cultures, Restorative Justice, Smudging, Contemporary Setting, Social Emotional Learning, Death, Grief, and Bereavement, Social Justice, Discrimination, Prejudice and Racism

Interest Age: 12–18
Grade: 7–12
Reading Level: Fountas & Pinnell Z+, Lexile® Framework for Reading: HL570L
Paperback : 9781553796855, 56 pages, December 2016
Ebook (PDF) : 9781553796954, 56 pages, February 2017
Ebook (EPUB) : 9781553796985, 56 pages, February 2017


Fire Starters tackles restorative justice on a contemporary reserve in Northwestern Ontario.

When two white teenagers accidentally set fire to a gas station, their Indigenous classmates are wrongly accused. The truth slowly comes to light as contrasting systems of justice are explored—both the traditional ways of the community and Canadian law enforcement.

Fire Starters explores prejudice, racism, and what reconciliation could look like, "moving it from a concept to [an] on-the-ground example of what reconciliation could mean, in action, in a small community" (Debbie Reese).


Among recommended Indigenous titles for building an Inclusive Graphic Novel Collection


Selected as an AIYLA Honor Book

American Indian Youth Literature Award (AIYLA)

Among CCBC's Best Books for Kids and Teens list(2017)

The Canadian Children's Book Centre (CCBC)

With her story, Jen moves reconciliation from a concept to an on-the-ground example of what reconciliation could mean, in action. I recommend Jen Storm's Fire Starters.  There’s a lot to study, think about, and of course, talk about.

Debbie Reese, American Indians in Children's Literature (AICL)

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, The National Reading Campaign