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Fire Starters

(The Debwe Series)

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  90 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Looking for a little mischief after discovering an old flare gun, Ron and Ben find themselves in trouble when the local gas bar on Agamiing Reserve goes up in flames, and they are wrongly accused of arson by the sheriff’s son. As the investigation goes forward, community attitudes are revealed, and the truth slowly comes to light.

Fire Starters is one book in The Debwe Seri
Paperback, 53 pages
Published December 1st 2016 by HighWater Press
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3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  90 ratings  ·  23 reviews

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May 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
“Fire Starters” is an excellent book for middle graders about the prejudice facing indigenous peoples. It’s also a morality tale about taking responsibility for your actions. Tough subject matter to read, as it should be. The artwork is great.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.
L.T. Getty
Fire Starters is essentially a slice of life showcasing intercultural relations between a fictional reserve and the small town it resides beside. When a local gas bar goes up in flames, two aboriginal teens are suspect by the police and blamed by the public because they were seen earlier with a flare gun in hand. Parental Note: Tobacco use is used for both the expected personal use as well as for more traditional offerings. Religious symbols are also seen throughout, but it's not a religious sto ...more
Wayne McCoy
Apr 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
'Fire Starters' by Jen Storm with art by Scott Henderson tells a good moral fable for younger readers. It works well in a graphic novel form.

Ron and Ben live on the Agamiing Reserve. Their grandmother looks after them when their mother is away. When they find an old flare gun in their deceased uncle's tackle box, they decide to take it to the dump and shoot it off. When the gas bar is burned down, they are accused, but the real person who did it won't come forward.

It's a story that feels like an
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars.

Fire Starters has an interesting story, which feels tragically believable. It addresses racism, white privilege, etc. Despite its heavy topic, it has a relatively happy ending. It's worth the read. I liked the art (and for those who have seen my previous reviews of work by Scott B. Henderson, yes I liked it better with colour), which I thought suited the story.

I will happily read anything else from Jen Storm if she puts out anything else. I definitely plan to continue reading books fro
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-comics
A touching story of family and prejudice being corrected. A very hopeful take on a very real problem. I love how empowered and unique each woman in the story was. I loved the mother with big arm muscles, as that isn't a physique you see very often in comics. I also liked that one of the main character was a little chubby, as that is also rare in comics.

I look forward to checking out more books in this series.
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My experience with Highwater Press is that they consistently publish great indigenous graphic novels and literature. In this case, Jen Storm’s Firestarter is expertly illustrated by Scott B Henderson.

The story and the art merge into a well crafted tale of the struggle many indigenous youth face with racism as they manoeuvre through the justice system. I know not all police are racist but in this story the officers are quick to point to finger at the 2 native youth in question. Added to this is
Olivia darlingreads
This was a short little graphic novel about two aboriginal boys being automatically blamed for a crime they didn't commit, which unfortunately happens a lot. The author is from winnipeg manitoba, my area, and if your not from around here or haven't seen stuff like this happen, I can imagine this book is very eye-opening. I hope to see more and more stories like this out there, it was very well done, good for younger readers, and I loved the graphic novel aspect of it :)
Jenny Staller
A very quick read with a simple but powerful story. The plot--two Native boys are accused of starting a fire because they were earlier seen with a flare gun--does a beautiful job of illustrating prejudice and injustice without coming across as too didactic. Because of the brevity of the graphic novel, the characters aren't very well developed, giving the story a fable-like quality. This should be an easy sell to my library's graphic novel fans.
Rachel Taylor
Apr 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
For every white person who grew up near reserve - read this breathtakingly beautiful graphic novel.

Remember that no matter where you grew up, it’s near reserve.

Be prepared to swallow some hard truths, and be prepared to see what reconciliation can look like. Remember that reconciliation takes white people in positions of power surrendering that power to indigenous leaders.
Mary Kate Downing
Jun 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Love that it features indigenous characters and is written by a native author; wish that it were longer and that it included more exposition and character development. Also, the artwork was well done, but I think the high-school-aged characters looked like they were way older than they were supposed to for some reason.
Mar 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was an easy read - a really approachable format for talking about Racism and prejudice. I think the lesson about reconciliation is an important theme. I'm going to make my 13 year old son read this to return it to the library.
Frederick Tan
Sep 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
Two Ojibwa boys who happen upon a flare gun in their garage took the opportunity to play with it. However, they were subsequently blamed for setting fire to a gas bar station. They have to clear their name when the local police come looking for them.
Aug 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Heavy issues addressed... quickly. I would have liked to see more resolution. The ending comes disappointingly fast.
A fine story about responsibility when a friend is a fuckup. Very didactic, but the high stakes could appeal to kids in grades 5+.
Tina Christopher
May 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel, ya
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May 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Jul 18, 2018 rated it liked it
better than reading Highlights at the dentist waiting room.
May 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
An authentic look into small town Canada.
J.L. Slipak
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it

I received this book in exchange for my honest review.

Now we have a dynamic trio! Author Jen Storm teams up with the amazing illustrator Scott B. Henderson and colour artist Donovan Yaciuk.

First, I’d like to note that this is not a middle-grade read but more intended for the young adult group of readers. The artwork is fantastic and greatly compliments Storm’s story.

Now to the content. I found that toward the end, as the conflict and tension continued to build, I was ready for an exp
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Other books in the series

The Debwe Series (7 books)
  • Manitowapow: Aboriginal Writings from the Land of Water
  • The Gift Is in the Making: Anishinaabeg Stories
  • Three Feathers
  • Blanket of Butterflies
  • The Stone Collection
  • Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Issues in Canada
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