Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 9 to 12
- Grade: 3 to 6
- Reading age: 9 to 12
Whenever Casey’s famous mom went on tour, she took her daughter along. But since settling down with a new husband and baby, things have changed. After years of domestic life, Casey’s mom is anxious to go back to her old life — without Casey. Devastated, Casey is left to keep the house running and care for Ginny, her autistic sister, while her step dad withdraws into his own private grief. Who is there to notice when Casey needs attention? To find comfort, Casey begins building fires to send smoke signals to her mother, hoping her mother will see her message.
Casey has been hiding her anger behind a wall of house chores and the impossible job of keeping her sister calm. Soon the ritual fires won’t be able to relieve her growing resentment. One day she won’t be able to build a fire big enough to contain it all.
A powerful free verse novel by the author of Libertad, Burn explores a girl’s desperate attempt to keep her family together, even as her own growing obsessions threaten to destroy them.
About the author
Alma Fullerton is an award winning author- author/illustrator. She lives in NorthLake PEI with her husband, and dog. Born in Ontario Canada, she grew up in a large military family and has lived in in Ontario, British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Germany. Alma struggled with reading and memorized most things until the age of nine when, with the help of her grade four teacher, she realized she had dyslexia. By grade nine Alma loved reading. Besides writing and illustrating Alma now works in schools as an educational assistant who helps children with learning disabilities figure out the best way for them to learn.
Her books have been nominated and/or have won awards including the Governor General Finalist 2008, TD Canadian Children's Literature Award finalist 2009 & 2011 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award winner 2009, CLA Children's Book of the Year Honor Book 2009, 2011 Golden Oak Award winner 2009, Once Upon a World Children's Book Award Winner - 2009, Manitoba Young Readers' Choice Award shortlist - 2010, SilverBirch Award shortlist -2010, 2014, Silver Birch Express 2023, Blue Spruce Award 2014 & 2016, 2022, Kentucky BlueGrass Award 2015 and the 2016 Marilyn Baillie picture book award.
- Short-listed, CLA Book of the Year for Children Award
- Short-listed, TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award
“This is a must-have, must-read young adult novel. It deals with a parent who abandons her family and the resulting emotional problems but is neither pessimistic nor gloomy. The ending is unexpected but satisfying, without seeming trite. Despite her shortcomings, Casey is a young woman with whom readers will relate on many levels. The events of the plot move quickly, and, while perhaps they are not typical, they are representative of the daily stresses we all face. Fullerton has written a literary, heart-warming, approachable and original novel – how fortunate for us!” ****/4, Highly Recommended
BurnThis powerful free-verse novel explores Casey’s desperate attempt to take care of her autistic sister and keep her family together after her mother leaves. To find comfort, Casey becomes obsessed with building fires to send smoke signals to her mother, hoping she’ll see them and come back. When the everyday pressures get to be too much for Casey, her obsession with fire escalates into a very dangerous situation.
Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2011.