Read Across Rowlett - Parent Letter and Volunteers Needed!

Wildfire by Rodman Philbrick    Read Across Rowlett Novel

Plot Summary, from Scholastic’s Parent Resource Page:

“Flames race toward Sam Castine's summer camp as evacuation buses are loading, but Sam runs back to get his phone. Suddenly, a flash of heat blasts him as pine trees explode. Now a wall of fire separates Sam from his bus, and there's only one thing to do: Run for his life. Drought has made the forest a tinderbox, and Sam struggles to remember survival tricks he learned from his late father. Then, when he least expects it, he encounters Delphy, an older girl who is also lost. Their unlikely friendship grows as they join forces to find civilization.


The pace never slows, and eventually, flames surround Sam and Delphy on all sides. A powerful bond is forged that can only grow out of true hardship -- as two true friends beat all odds and outwit one of the deadliest fires ever.”

Awards and Recognition:

  • Written by Newbery Honor Author Rodman Philbrick 
  • KIRKUS Starred Review
  • FL Sunshine State Reader Selection, 2021-2022 Grades 6-8

Educational Value: 

  • Throughout the novel, the characters need to be resourceful, including the use of a fulcrum and lever to extract a jeep that is stuck.
  • At the end of the novel, information about wildfires and useful safety tips add to the reader's understanding of one of the US's most dangerous natural disasters.

Emotionally Sensitive Material:

  • Mention of father who died previously in the Afghanistan War; main character recalls lessons learned from his father throughout the book.
  • Arson caused by two minor characters contributing to forest fire.
  • Mention of the main character’s mother in treatment for an addiction to opioids, after sustaining a neck injury. 
  • Brief mention of firefighters who died trying to save people.

Violence & Scariness: 

  • Entire book is set in the woods with people in fear of harm from a forest fire

Romance, Physical Development:

  • None. 


  • None.

Age Inappropriate Substance Use:

  • None. 

Reviews & Supporting Materials:

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