Parents' Guide to

Into the Firestorm: A Novel of San Francisco, 1906

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Plucky orphan survives San Francisco's big quake.

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Deborah Hopkinson's take is exciting and, at times, moving as the plucky, good-hearted orphan struggles to help others in the face of overwhelming disaster. The details of the earthquake and subsequent fire are gripping, most vividly in the characters' journey across the city while pursued by flames.

Readers of this book surely will be reminded of a similar disaster that happened a century later -- the destruction of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina. Though one was fire and the other flood, the stories are similar: Cities destroyed not so much by acts of nature as by the following failures of man. The differences lie in the effectiveness of the responses to the disasters.

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