Deborah Hopkinson

Award Winning Author of Fiction & Nonfiction for Children & Teens

The Deadliest Fires Then and Now

Deadliest Fires Then and Now

What is this book about?

As the sun sank over the town of Peshti­go, Wis­con­sin, one warm Octo­ber night in 1871, a smoky haze hung in the dry air. There had been lit­tle rain, and small fires had been rolling through town con­tin­u­ous­ly since the sum­mer. For weeks the peo­ple had tried to pro­tect their homes and busi­ness­es from fire. But they could not pro­tect them­selves from what would cul­mi­nate in the dead­liest fire in Amer­i­can history.

As indus­tri­al­iza­tion surged across the coun­try, and West­ward col­o­niza­tion lev­eled forests to build cities, fires became a main­stay in Amer­i­can life. And as pop­u­la­tions grew, so too did the human toll that fire could exact. Through the nine­teenth and twen­ti­eth cen­turies, Amer­i­cans searched for new and inno­v­a­tive ways to com­bat the threat of fire. And with cli­mate change threat­en­ing to set the whole world aflame, we are once again in a fight for our planet’s future.

Through the eyes of sci­en­tists, wit­ness­es, and sur­vivors of ter­ri­ble fires alike, author Deb­o­rah Hop­kin­son brings the hor­rif­ic his­to­ry of dead­ly fires to life, trac­ing a line from the Peshti­go and Great Chica­go fires of 1871 to the wild­fires rag­ing in the west­ern Unit­ed States today. Filled with more than 50 peri­od pho­tographs and illus­tra­tions, facts, and pull-out box­es for eager non­fic­tion readers.

Awards and Accolades

  • OCTE (Ore­gon Coun­cil of Teach­ers of Eng­lish) Ore­gon Spir­it Award in the Non­fic­tion / Infor­ma­tion­al Text category
  • Vir­ginia Library Asso­ci­a­tion, 2023 Car­di­nal Cup Award, Series of Note


Deadliest Fires Then and Now

author, Deb­o­rah Hop­kin­son
Scholas­tic Focus
ages 7 and up, 2022
ISBN 978–1338360233

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