Title: If the Fire Comes: A Story of Segregation During the Great Depression

Author: Tracy Daley

Publishers: Jolly Fish Press, North Star Editions



Genres: Historical, Middle Grade

Rating: 5/5


Release Date: 1st September 2019

Where To Buy: Amazon UK, Amazon USA, Wordery, Book Depository

Summary: It’s 1935, and the Great Depression and California drought has left eleven-year-old Joseph McCoy shining shoes to help his family survive. Through his hard work and games with his sister, Joseph has figured out how to get by as one of the few black people in a mostly white community. But the order of the town is disrupted when an all-black Civilian Conservation Corps camp comes to Elsinore, sparking racial tension. It isn’t long before prejudice spreads like wildfire and threatens to force the work camp to leave. Could Joseph’s secret project save the camp and bring his family hope for the future? If not, the whole town just might go up in flames. It’s the storytellers that preserve a nation’s history. But what happens when some stories are silenced? The I Am America series features fictional stories based on important historical events from people whose voices have been under represented, lost, or forgotten over time

Thank you so much to North Star Editions/Jolly Fish Press and NetGalley for sending me a ebook copy of If the Fire Comes by Tracey Daley (from the I Am America series), in exchange for an honest review.

Review: From the first line of this book I knew it was going to have such a heart to it and that I would instantly enjoy reading it.

The story follows Joseph McCoy a poor shoeshiner living during the Great Depression. He and his sister Maya who had suffered with polio both love pretending that they are spies, living with their uncle and their pigeons that Joseph saved. When one day Joseph is working and spying all at the same time he learns of things that were coming and changing in his town. These changes are the CCC workers coming to help cut out the fires in their area. Most of the citizens are unwilling to accept them. Joseph makes some new friends including George of the CCC, he learns a new job training his pigeons and he is brave and helps his people.

This story was so beautifully told, it had parts that made you smile, parts that made you laugh, other parts that made you sad. Throughout the whole book you are enticed and moved by what you are reading really wanting to know more of what is going to happen next, wanting to know more of what Joseph and Maya are doing.

This is a perfect historical story told in such a delicate and wonderful way, sharing what it was truly like during the depression, of how people were treated, how those willing to help were unwanted, of the hard work the CCC workers did and the ignorance they were given. Those times were not easy and this book shows a true example of it.

The art work by Eric Freeberg was beautiful and made it even more enjoyable getting to see the characters on the pages as you read. The back of the book holds vital information and facts of the real life people during the depression and is so informative, I’m so happy it was included.

I highly recommend reading this book not only children but adults too, stories like this are very rarely told and it teaches you so much. History is for all and anyone reading will have their eyes opened and will learn so much. I will certainly be looking for the other three books in this series as I enjoyed this one so much.


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