Spring 2024


The Culture, Science, and Future of Fire

  • Interest Level: Grade 8 - Grade 12
  • Reading Level: Grade 8

“Fire is part of nature. It’s just like the rain, the sunrise each day. It’s a natural occurrence, a part of nature necessary to complete lifecycles of different plants and animals.” –John Waconda, director of the Nature Conservancy’s Indigenous Partnerships Program

“Every time you put a fire out, you’re just postponing it. You just increase the actual fuel load that is out there, so when it does happen you get these massive megafire events.” –Malcolm North, fire ecologist

“Climate change is creating the perfect conditions for larger, more intense wildfires.” –Robert Scheller, professor of landscape ecology and associate dean of research at North Carolina State University

Wildfire is a natural process that takes place worldwide. In dry conditions, a single spark can transform into a megafire that sweeps across the landscape, burning everything in its path. Despite fire’s deadly reputation, ecosystems such as forests and grasslands depend on it to clear out debris and promote new plant growth.

Environmental scientist Ferin Davis Anderson and author Stephanie Sammartino McPherson examine how Indigenous people, farmers, and forestry departments have used fire to manage natural resources and how human development and climate change are impacting the frequency and intensity of wildfires. By delving into how fires start and burn, fire suppression and firefighting, and the ecological importance of burns, they explore people’s long relationship with fire and reflect on fire’s regenerative benefits and destructive capabilities alike. Discover the history of large-scale fire and what its future may look like in Wildfire.

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Interest Level Grade 8 - Grade 12
Reading Level Grade 8
Genre Science, Young Adult
Category 5 Kinds of Nonfiction, 5KN: Traditional Nonfiction, STEM, STEM: Earth Science, STEM: Life Science/Plants, STEM: Technology
Copyright 2024
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Twenty-First Century Books ™
Language English
Number of Pages 144
Publication Date 2024-04-02
Text Type Informational/Explanatory
BISACS YAN050060, YAN050090, YAN052020
Dewey 363.37/9
Dimensions 6 x 9
Features Author/Illustrator biography, Bibliography/further reading, Charts/Graphs/Diagrams, Glossary, Index, Photo captions, Reviewed, Sidebars, Source notes, Starred Reviews, Table of contents, Teaching Guides, and eSource

Author: Ferin Davis Anderson

Ferin Davis Anderson is an environmental scientist and an enrolled citizen of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa/Ojibwe/Anishinaabe/Mitchifs in North Dakota. She works as the Supervisor of Environmental Sciences for the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community's Land and Natural Resources Department where she is responsible for stewarding and restoring natural areas for the SMSC. Ferin weaves traditional knowledge and western science together to make more holistic management decisions, including using fire as an ecological and cultural tool to achieve beneficial and healing outcomes. Witnessing Indigenous people revitalize and reconnect with this practice has been one of the greatest gifts of her career.

Author: Stephanie Sammartino McPherson

Stephanie Sammartino McPherson wrote her first children's story in college. She enjoyed the process so much that she's never stopped writing. A former teacher and freelance newspaper writer, she has written more than thirty books and numerous magazine stories. Her recent books include Hothouse Earth: The Climate Crisis and the Importance of Carbon Neutrality, winner of the Green Earth Book Award for young adult nonfiction, and Breakthrough: Katalin Karikó and the mRNA Vaccine. Stephanie and her husband, Richard, live in Virginia.

Lerner eSource™ offers free digital teaching and learning resources, including Common Core State Standards (CCSS) teaching guides. These guides, created by classroom teachers, offer short lessons and writing exercises that give students specific instruction and practice using Common Core skills and strategies. Lerner eSource also provides additional resources including online activities, downloadable/printable graphic organizers, and additional educational materials that would also support Common Core instruction. Download, share, pin, print, and save as many of these free resources as you like!


“Fire is part of nature. It’s just like the rain, the sunrise each day. It’s a natural occurrence, a part of nature necessary to complete lifecycles of different plants and animals.” –John Waconda, director of the Nature Conservancy’s Indigenous Partnerships Program … View available downloads →

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Wildfire: An Interview with Authors Ferin Davis Anderson and Stephanie Sammartino McPherson

Wildfire is a natural process that takes place in forests and grasslands all over the world. Although commonly seen as destructive and deadly, fire is a necessary part of ecosystems; they refresh the land and allow for new plant growth. Wildfire: The Culture, Science, and Future of Fire… View →


April is the perfect time for new beginnings…and new books! Check out our new releases to discover entertainment for the rainy spring days. New in Picture Books Haiku, Ew!: Celebrating the Disgusting Side of Nature by Lynn Brunelle and illustrated by Julia Patton Interest Level: Grade 2… View →


School Library Journal

“With the prominence of wildfires in the news and the popularity of television shows like Fire Country, wildfires and fire ecology are bound to be a subject of interest to many young readers. This book is recommended to satisfy the curiosity of middle school and junior high readers.”—School Library Journal

Children's Literature Comprehensive Database (CLCD)

“Anderson explores the science of wildfires and the history of policies and attitudes towards wildfires. She examines the connection between climate change and wildfires, and looks at the people and technology available to fight fire . . . an excellent resource for research. Reviewer Rating: 4”—Children’s Literature


“It’s nice to have this balanced, reassuring offering that puts wildfires into ecological perspective. . . This authoritative STEAM selection has multiple crosscurricular applications, engaging live action-style reporting on narrow escapes and heroic deeds, and serves as a buffer for climate anxiety.”—starred, Booklist

Kirkus Reviews

“Advocacy for Indigenous fire-management practices, a thorough account of wildfire science, information on firefighting—and a blazing black-and-orange color scheme—make this book a hot ticket. . . Skillfully introduces the complex story of wildfires, Indigenous knowledge, and climate change.”—Kirkus Reviews