Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey ” as Want to Read:
Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  905 ratings  ·  202 reviews
The John J. Harvey fireboat was the largest, fastest, shiniest fireboatof its time, but by 1995, the city didn't need old fireboats anymore. So the Harvey retired, until a group of friends decided to save it from the scrap heap. Then, one sunny September day in 2001, something so horrible happened that the whole world shook. And a call came from the fire department, asking ...more
Paperback, 48 pages
Published August 4th 2005 by Puffin Books (first published August 5th 2002)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Fireboat, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Fireboat

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.35  · 
Rating details
 ·  905 ratings  ·  202 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey
The John J. Harvey is a fireboat from the thirties that was retired in 1994. She was purchased from the NYFD by a group of preservationists in the late nineties. They restored the boat, and she was placed on the National Park Service's Register of Historic Places. The Harvey was not expected to ever fight fires again, but on September 11th, 2001, firemen reporting to the scene of devastation at the Twin Towers found water pipes broken and buried. The fire trucks were not able to pump water. A ca ...more
Sep 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers Looking for Children's Stories About 9/11
Commissioned in 1931, the John J. Harvey was the sleekest and fastest fireboat of its day, racing around New York City to put out fires. After many years of service it was retired, and was due to be scrapped when a group of friends purchased it, refurbished it, and had it declared a historical landmark. No one expected that it would ever be used to fight fires again. Then, on September 11th, 2001, New York City was attacked and the water pipes around the Twin Towers were damaged. Suddenly the Jo ...more
Feb 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
We have a lot of transportation books around our house, and I thought this was just one more cute little book about a plucky little boat, kind of like Little Toot. It's not. It's prettily drawn and gives the history of fire boats in New York, and of the John J. Harvey in particular, which was restored to its original glory by a group of people who just took pleasure in owning it. I was reading along to the boys, and then came to a black page with simple white text describing September 2001: "som ...more
Oct 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: elm-572
Looking for a story about hope,courage, and determination? Then, the nonfiction book Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey is for you! This award winning book was written and illustrated by Maira Kalman and tells the story of the reemergence of one of New York City's greatest fire-boats of all time, the John J. Harvey. For any K–3rd grade teacher, I recommend reading this book aloud to your students as the pictures alone will captivate them and the story will motivate them to nev ...more
Manik Sukoco
Dec 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Maira has done it again. She has written an extraordinary book about New York. Fireboat is a book about the tragedy of 9/11. The book focuses more on the Heroes than the tragedy. This book will be a good tool for teachers and parents to use to help explain the event. Fireboat is about a fireboat named Harvey. She starts with the history of the boat back in 1931. She also tells about other events that happened in 1931, "Snickers hit the stores... the word HOT-CHA was invented." Then it moves forw ...more
Sydney Dunigan
Apr 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wow-books
Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey was an extraordinary informational text. It is an amazing book for upper elementary grades, especially during the early days of September. This tells the story of a boat that was famous for putting out fires and being big and shiny, but eventually wasn’t needed anymore. The Harvey retired, and then a group of people decided to renovate it to be good as new! Then, on September 11th, the Fireboat was absolutely needed to help put out the flames ...more
Danielle D'Onofrio
Apr 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey was truly an extraordinary informational text. It is perfect for any upper elementary grade (3-5) who are learning about the events of 9/11. It tells the story of a boat that was famous for putting out fires, but later in time was not needed. However, a group of people decided to take over the boat and renovate it to be good as new! On September 11th, many water pumps were not working, and the Fireboat's team stepped up to help! For four days ...more
I didn't know this story and like any good picture book, it tells me why I should know this story.

The John J. Harvey was rescued from the brink of scrap metal by a group of guys who didn't want to see the ol' fireboat break apart after playing a pivotal role in saving buildings along the harbor in the city for so long. After it was restored it was an integral piece of machinery run by a group of the volunteers who used it during 9/11 to help squelch the fires and pump water into the area when t
Oct 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Such a sweet book about a restored fire boat that almost went to the junkyard but instead was able to be used to help put out the World Trade Center Fires. Read it aloud with my 5, 8 and 10 year olds. It’s a perfect 9/11 read for kids combined with “America Is Under Attack” by Don Brown and “ The Man who walked between the Towers” by Mordecai Gerstein.
Brittany Van
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Puffin Books, 2005, 48 pgs., Genre: Non-fiction, Grade level: Pre-K-2, GR level: G, Lexile level: 280L
Fireboat is one of my favorite books to teach a lesson for September 11th due to its vivid illustrations and realistic events. This book reveals a true story as to how a retired New York City fireboat proved that it can instill hope in the people when they need it most, even when it had thought to no longer be useful. The people of New York City thought they did not have a use for old fireboats,
Alex Z
May 30, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: picturebooks
Leon loves Kalman's books about Pete, the dog who eats everything, so I tried this one too. It's a lovely tale, but I really wish that authors or publishers would think about putting some kind of warning on Picture books - which are aimed at little kids - when that book contains massive death (9/11 in this case), which can be hard to explain to those little kids. Yes, I could have read it myself before reading it to Leon, but it's a PICTURE BOOK for goodness sake. I shouldn't have to check it fo ...more
Angela Ball
Jan 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kidlit-ed204
(KidLit ED204 category: non-fiction picture book)
The John J. Harvey was taken out of retirement and restored in 1995, just in time for one of the worst days in the United States' history.
Most of the children that might have "Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey" read to them, probably won't know anything about 9/11. They probably weren't even born yet.
This book takes a touching look at the history of the John J. Harvey and the men that believed in her. Maira Kalman is the auth
Sep 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Wanda by: Melki
Shelves: audiobooks
11 SEP 2016 - read by a very nice lady here -

The illustrations are lovely and informative. The Harvey's participation in 11 SEP is tastefully illustrated and worded. I still cannot imagine what this was like in New York City. My own memories are of feeling afraid, crying and dread of something yet to come. My son remembers the day in this way - planes crashed into the buildings, mommy cried, and daddy went off to war. Yikes!

I will be purchasing a copy of
Mar 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 547, picturebook, rescue
Near epic tale of the fireboat Harvey from its 'birth' in 1931 to its rebirth in 2001. Factual treatment of the events of 9/11 and the Harvey's part in helping out that day. Text and illustrations work well together. What really caught my eye was the 2 page illustration showing a cloudless blue sky with 2 black airplanes headed toward 2 white buildings. The text almost seems to be pushed as far to edge as possible as if to say, 'what is about to happen is too big for words.' ...more
Sep 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone!
Beautiful and brilliant. Kalman takes an treasured artifact, (the John J. Harvey which I have been on in a harbor cruise by the way) and a moving event (9-11 attacks) and tells their story perfectly, flawlessly and with stunning graphics to boot. This isn't the clincher though. The clincher is that her telling appropriate for all ages. As a native New Yorker, I highly recommended it. ...more
Dave Schaafsma
Jul 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Maira Kalman tribute to a fireboat, first in use in NYC in 1931, retired in 1995, bought by a bunch of people who just thought it would due fun to own this boat, and fixed up, unretired, and was used in 9/11. Kalman's art is always so fun and colorful and splashy and effervescent, and this one has a touch of every day heroics and nostalgia in it.
Randie D. Camp, M.S.
This is a remarkable story. The first time I read this, I had no idea it was about September 11th and it took me by surprise but it is a nice way to help children understand the events that took place that day.
Kate Grahek
Mar 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In this amazing true story, the day of September 11th, 2001 is brought to life. My students loved hearing about it and it developed into a great conversation. The illustrations in this book were a little abstract but still manageable for students to understand. I would recommend this book!
This was an amazing book. The illustrations were great and the story was very emotional. It brought up all the feelings like 9/11 happened just today. Very important book. Read for grad school for Info Books for Youth.
Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
Beautiful story...I cried at the end. Can't wait to share this with my teachers. ...more
Rosie Odem
Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey is a book about an old fireboat in New York that was used to put out fires in the early to mid-1900s. As time went on the John J. Harvey wasn't as much of a necessity, but rather than letting it get sold for scraps a group of friends decided to fix it up so they could bring it out on the water. The Harvey, thought of as useless to many when it came to fighting fires, proved everyone wrong on September 11, 2001. On that day the city needed all ...more
Dec 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maira Kalman is one of my favorite artists, so when I found a copy of Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey on the street, I clearly had to bring it home. I don't know why it took me so long to get around to actually reading it: I like Kalman, I like boats, I like books about NYC. Well, no matter: I finally read it, and aww, what a sweet/touching picture book this is. I actually got to take a (free!) ride on the John J. Harvey in 2010, so I think I must have learned the boat's st ...more
Meredith Peace
Oct 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 1-20
Fireboat is a story about a fireboat that helped fight fire on September 11th, 2001. At the beginning of the book it talks about how New York City is thriving. A fireboat named John J. Harvey is introduced, and the book explains all the different parts of it. The book discusses how Harvey begins to get older and it eventually gets decommissioned. Later, a bunch of people decide to fix the fireboat up. Then on September 11th, 2001 the refurbished fireboat was used to help fight fires. The
I have admittedly a bit of a fascination with how 9/11 is being preserved in our collective memory, particularly how it will be transmitted to generations without firsthand memories of the event (I have a history degree, okay, it's not that weird!). FIREBOAT gives a (understandably sanitized) account of September 11 from the perspective of the John J. Harvey, a firefighting boat pulled out retirement due to the fire hydrants at Ground Zero being non-functional.

It's a fair story (vaguely reminded
Amy Sherwood
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fireboat, The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey
Awards: None
Grade Level: Pre-K-2nd
Original Summary: The John J. Harvey was the fastest, largest, shiniest fireboat in New York City. In 1995, the city didn’t need old fireboats anymore and the John J. Harvey was retired and sat in the river waiting to go to a scrap yard. A group of friends decided to buy it and rebuild it, and when the tragedy of the 2001 Twin Towers terrorist attacks struck America, the John J. Harvey was called back into act
Sep 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
i can't REALLY rate this as i'm NOT the target demographic, however, at one point i was so i guess my rating is still valid??

i have vivid memories of reading this book as a wee girl, and i really wanted to revisit the book now that i'm older. i was 1 and a half during 9/11 so a book like this was really the only education i got about the attacks. and for a 3 or 4 year old me it was a good enough explanation. it's really more about the boat than the events of the day, but that's all a child as yo
Lindsey McCord
Oct 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrenlit1
Summary: Fireboat is the story based on the real fireboat, the John J. Harvey. This fireboat lives a very fulfilling life. He sails the New York waterways to fight fires. After he is retired, he is bought by a crew that wants to preserve the boat and the legacy it has left behind. Then, the attack on the World Trade Center happens. Read this book to find out how this old, retired ship aided the people of New York City after 9/11.

Evaluation: I liked this book. It provides a unique 9/11 story that
Meghan Hardy
Sep 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dr-smith-s-rdng
The John J. Harvey fireboat was launched in 1931. The boat along with its crew put out fires all along New York piers. The boat went into retirement after several years, but the boat wasn't done fighting just yet. On 9-11, the fireboat was called to help put out the fires on that horrible day. This is the story of the John J. Harvey.

I loved this book. My favorite things were the pictures. They were not neatly drawn and there was a mess about them, but it conveyed the story so well. At the beginn
Jan 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is such an interesting story, spanning 70+ years.

The book starts with context about New York in 1931, and then it introduces the reader to the John J. Harvey fireboat, its components, its work, and its crew (including the dog Smokey, "who did not put out the fires but had many nice spots," which made me laugh out loud). We then skip forward to 1995, when the Harvey no longer seemed relevant but a new group of people worked to save and restore it. And finally, we move to 2001 and see how the
Darise Ortiz
Sep 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: informational-4
Very Nice book!!! This story tells about a boat and it's adventures. BUT! On September 11th, many water pumps were not working, and the Fireboat's team stepped up to help! For a couple of days, the fireboat team took action and help those people from the tragedy that had just occurred in that evening 9/11. Damage from the twin towers was shocking and unbelievable. They felt they needed to help at least what they could. Afterward, they left happy because they knew they had done something nice to ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Man Who Walked Between the Towers
  • First Day Jitters
  • 14 Cows for America
  • Miss Mary Mack
  • It's a Book
  • The Crayon Man: the True Story of the Invention of Crayola Crayons
  • Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes
  • Enemy Pie
  • America Is Under Attack: September 11, 2001: The Day the Towers Fell
  • Boy + Bot
  • The Book with No Pictures
  • The Story of Ruby Bridges
  • My Papi Has a Motorcycle
  • Dreamers
  • Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy's Parade
  • Dragons Love Tacos
  • Thank You, Sarah: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving
  • Those Shoes
See similar books…
Maira Kalman was born in Tel Aviv and moved to New York with her family at the age of four. She has worked as a designer, author, illustrator and artist for more than thirty years without formal training. Her work is a narrative journal of her life and all its absurdities. She has written and illustrated twelve children's books including Ooh-la-la- Max in Love, What Pete Ate, and Swami on Rye. She ...more

Related Articles

You may know actress Jenny Slate from her role as Mona-Lisa Saperstein on Parks and Recreation. Or maybe your introduction to her was through one...
39 likes · 14 comments