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Pub Date May 07 2024 | Archive Date May 07 2024

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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, she realizes that even though they are young, they can dream and work together for a more sustainable future. With a poetic, haunting family story by esteemed author Viet Thanh Nguyen and gorgeous art from 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.
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...

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ISBN 9781662651199
PRICE $18.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 19 members

Featured Reviews

A heartwarming and touching story about a Vietnamese girl whose life is changed when she experiences a wildfire. Simone is awakened by her mother and rushed out when a wildfire threatens her home. She experiences things she's never experienced and learns about her mother's life as a little girl in Vietnam who was forced to evacuate during a flood. This was truly such a sweet and beautiful story, and I absolutely adored it. It's got stunning art inside and the story itself is wonderful.

*Thanks Netgalley and Astra Books for Young Readers, Minerva for sending me an arc in exchange for an honest review*

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This story is so full of heart and kindness and joy. It's a story of perseverance and courage. I was so moved by it. The illustrations are beautiful and the words flow so neatly on the pages. This one is winning awards, I'm sure of it.

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I will read anything Viet writes. Simone, named for his daughter, is the star of this children's book. For every Vietnamese American child living in Southern California, this book is for you. It teaches the importance of climate change in relation to wildfires. It teaches friendship and family. It's also just cute.

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In this story, a little girl has to evacuate her home with her mother, due to wildfires in their area. Her mother shares about her childhood experience of evacuating from a flood in Vietnam, and the girl colors pictures at a community shelter, which helps her cope and make new friends. The illustrations are gorgeous and breathtaking, and I appreciate how the author shares powerful messages about family history, survival, art, and community without being too heavy-handed. The author's note at the end is also meaningful.

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Simone and her Mother live in California. There’s a wildfire and they must evacuate, it’s scary. Simone learns new things about her Ma, wildfires and the firefighters fighting the fires. It was an engaging and captivating book. The illustrations were dynamic. It will capture your attention as well. Highly recommend.

I received an advanced review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

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A picture book of hope belongs in every K-5 school collection.
There is enough "meat" here for a teacher or parent to dig into.
Who is Fred Hampton? And why is he important?
Why does the author weave in the expression "You can't fight fire with fire?"
In what ways does the author inspire the reader to feel compassion for the fire fighters who were underpaid?
How does the author make the reader believe that children will grow up to build a better world?
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.

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Simone and her mother must flee in the middle of the night due to wild fires. The evacuation reminds Simone's Vietnamese mother of a time when she too had to evacuate her home due to flooding. in the evacuation center (the high school gymnasium) Simone finds comfort in drawing and engages the other children as they draw the firefighters and their homes in order to calm and center themselves. Beautiful tones give a warmth to Simone and her mother.

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This picture book is amazing. It tells the story of a child who must evacuate because of the fires in California. This child’s mother had to evacuate Vietnam because of the floods decades years ago. This book connects both stories together and impart a of feeling of everything will be OK. The artwork is a master class. The effect of the colored pencils makes one feel like you’re looking at the children’s drawings. And then the masterful way in which the artist uses color between black and white and when they put in the little pops. The black-and-white for the fear in the craziness with the little hints of brighter things to come. And then full color when things are settling down and getting back to normal and finding happy. All total this book is amazingly well done and should be a contender for the next Caldecott.

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