“My name is Fire / but everyone calls me / Little Fire.” In this beautiful, poetic ode to the invigorating power of fire, award-winning children’s book author Jorge Argueta describes—in English, Spanish and Nahuat—the characteristics of fire from the perspective of one little flame. From its birth as a spark, Little Fire flits like a firefly and plays hide and seek inside a volcano. He grows between two sticks rubbed together or on a stone that strikes another. Little Fire is red, yellow, orange and turquoise. “I look like the sun / but I am no sun. / I am Fire, Little Fire / who laughs, / who dances.” Little Fire sings, “sizzle, / hiss, / whoosh, / crackle, crackle.” With stunningly beautiful illustrations by Felipe Ugalde Alcántara that depict the natural world, this poem about the importance of fire reflects Argueta’s indigenous roots and his appreciation for nature. Containing the English and Spanish text on each page, the entire poem appears at the end in Nahuat, the language of Argueta’s Pipil-Nahua ancestors. The sequel to Agua, Agüita / Water, Little Water, this book is an excellent choice to encourage children to write their own poems about the environment.
Named to the Texas Library Association’s 2020-2021 Tejas Star Reading List
Northern Lights Book Award Winner, nature/environment category
A Junior Library Guild Selection
“Argueta’s playful trilingual homage to fire spans its incarnation from spark to lava flow. Full-page blazes of oranges, yellows, reds and indigo underscore the simple narrative of the poem. A gentle exploration of culture and nature.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“VERDICT: With simple verse and vibrant illustrations, this picture book celebrates the power of fire and the author’s Pibil Nahua Indian heritage.”—School Library Journal
“Fire may not receive as much devoted literature as other elements, but Argueta concisely depicts its potential, front its more dangerous manifestations like volcanic eruptions and wildfires to its more familiar presence in our kitchens and campfires.”—Booklist
“A lyrical journey through the water cycle, sure to inspire the imaginations of young readers and listeners.”—School Library Journal (starred review) on Agua, Agüita / Water, Little Water
“With tenderness and humanity, this bilingual book describes the hopes, fears, and uncertainties of the thousands of displaced children that arrive every year at the southern border of the United States . . . Poignant, heartbreaking, and sadly, timely.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review) on Somos como las nubes / We Are Like the Clouds
“Extremely vital.”—Booklist (starred review) on Somos como las nubes / We Are Like the Clouds
Jorge Argueta, a Pipil Nahua Indian from El Salvador and the 2023 Poet Laureate of San Mateo County, is a prize-winning poet and author of more than twenty children’s picture books. They include Una película en mi almohada / A Movie in My Pillow (Children’s Book Press, 2001) and Somos como las nubes / We Are Like the Clouds (Groundwood Books, 2016), which won the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award and was named to USBBY’s Outstanding International Book List, the ALA Notable Children’s Books and the Cooperative Children’s Book Center Choices. His Madre Tierra / Mother Earth series celebrates the natural world and is made up of four installments: Tierra, Tierrita / Earth, Little Earth (Piñata Books, 2023), winner of the Salinas de Alba Award for Latino Children’s Literature; Viento, Vientito / Wind, Little Wind (Piñata Books, 2022), winner of the Premio Campoy-Ada given by the Academia Norteamericana de la Lengua Española; Fuego, Fueguito / Fire, Little Fire (Piñata Books, 2019); and Agua, Agüita / Water, Little Water (Piñata Books, 2017), winner of the inaugural Campoy-Ada Award in Children’s Poetry. His poetry collection, En carne propia: Memoria poética / Flesh Wounds: A Poetic Memoir (Arte Público Press, 2017), focuses on his experiences with civil war and living in exile. The California Association for Bilingual Education honored him with its Courage to Act Award. In addition, Jorge Argueta is the founder of The International Children’s Poetry Festival Manyula and The Library of Dreams, a non-profit organization that promotes literacy in rural and metropolitan areas of El Salvador. Jorge divides his time between San Francisco, California, and El Salvador.
FELIPE UGALDE ALCÁNTARA was born in Mexico City and studied Graphic Communication at the National University of Mexico’s School of Art. He illustrated Mother Fox and Mr. Coyote / Mamá Zorra y Don Coyote (Piñata Books, 2004) and Little Crow to the Rescue / El Cuervito al rescate (Piñata Books, 2005).
ATOS Interest Level: Lower Grades
Category: Picture Book
ATOS English: 2.4
ATOS Spanish: 1.5
LEXILE English: 570L
LEXILE Spanish: 480L
Accelerated Reader Quiz #: 513266