First Fire: A Cherokee Folktale

First Fire: A Cherokee Folktale


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Why are ravens black? Why do screech owl eyes look red in light? How did we get fire? You’ll find the answers to those questions in this retelling of a Cherokee pourquoi folktale. The earth was cold and dark but the animals could see fire coming from the tree on the island. They tried to fly or swim to the island to bring back the fire heat and light. What happened to some of the animals? Which animal brought it back and how? This fictional story includes a 4-page For Creative Minds section in the back of the book and a 41-page cross-curricular Teaching Activity Guide online. First Fire is vetted by experts and designed to encourage parental engagement. Its extensive back matter helps teachers with time-saving lesson ideas, provides extensions for science, math, and social studies units, and uses inquiry-based learning to help build critical thinking skills in young readers. The Spanish translation supports ELL and dual-language programs. The interactive ebook reads aloud in both English and Spanish with word highlighting and audio speed control to promote oral language skills, fluency, pronunciation, text engagement, and reading comprehension.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781628552164
Publisher: Arbordale Publishing
Publication date: 02/10/2014
Pages: 32
Sales rank: 772,270
Product dimensions: 8.30(w) x 9.80(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile: AD570L (what's this?)
Age Range: 4 - 8 Years

About the Author

Nancy Kelly Allen is a school librarian and the award-winning author of more than 30 picture books. Her inspiration for writing The First Fire was to honor her Cherokee great-grandmother, Sarah. She hopes that this book will provide younger generations an insight into the mystery and wonder of traditional folktales. Some of her recent and award-winning titles include On the Banks of the Amazon, What Sea Creature Is This?, and Trouble in Troublesome Creek. Nancy lives in Kentucky with her husband and two dogs. Visit her website:

Sherry Rogers spent twelve years as a corporate graphic designer and artist before "leaving it all behind" for the freelance world of illustrating children's books. Through illustrating The First Fire, Sherry remembers her own ancestor, Na Ni, a Cherokee woman from the mountains of North Carolina. Some of Sherry's other Arbordale titles include The Penguin Lady, Ten for Me, Hey Diddle Diddle, Newton and Me, Moose and Magpie, Paws, Claws, Hands & Feet, and The Deductive Detective; as well as her award-winning titles: Sort It Out!, Kersplatypus, Burro's Tortillas, and If You Were a Parrot. Sherry lives in Northern California with her family and their pets.

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First Fire: A Cherokee Folktale 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Literary_Classics_Reviews More than 1 year ago
First Fire, by Nancy Kelly Allen, is the retelling of a Cherokee folktale recounting the mythical events that unfold as a variety of creatures attempt to capture fire.  When a bolt of lightning strikes a sycamore tree on a nearby island, the animals decide they needed fire for themselves.  These animals, whose unique characteristics are developed as a result of their encounter with the elusive fire, endure a number of trials as each, one at a time, attempts to retrieve a burning ember. Author, Nancy Kelly Allen, has taken a timeless folktale and given it wings in this lovely retelling of the first fire encountered by the creatures of this land.  Illustrations by Sherry Rogers are vividly depicted and offer vibrant and expressive renderings of this classic tale. First Fire comes highly recommended to classrooms, home and school libraries and for gift giving.
book4children More than 1 year ago
I can't help but be drawn to Native American folk tales. They come from such an interesting culture and they are both entertaining and educational. This particular book is a Cherokee story of how animals first found and claimed fire. Kids love learning about stories like this. I read it several times to my girls. They loved the explanations of why a raven is black and why the horned owl has white rings around its eyes, among others. The story also teaches a good moral. The animal that finally figures out how to transport fire is not big or powerful. It is a small spider with a plan. The book is written well, and the illustrations are a nice fit with the writing. First Fire is a beautiful story that has been passed down for generations and will give kids a glimpse at the lives of people that lived on this continent long ago. For teachers/homeschoolers: Check out the publisher's website for resources, quizzes, and activities to use this in the classroom. Each Arbordale book comes with 2-6 pages of curriculum connections in the back. This is a section of information relating to the book and that fits into Common Core, Next Generation Science Standards for grades K-3.
ACS_Book_Blogger More than 1 year ago
This brilliantly written book is a Cherokee pourquoi folktale. Animals are discussed throughout the book. Animals brought fire back to an island to keep them warm when it was cold outside. It answers questions such as, why are ravens black? How do we get fire? Why do some owl eyes look red when you look at their eyes? The illustrations are perfectly matched to an inspiring folktale. In the back of this book you will find maps, true and false along with various other activities. I recommend this book, it's great! DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy was provided by Abordale Publishing (formerly Sylvan Dell Publishing) in exchange for our honest review. Opinions expressed are solely those of the reviewer and no compensation was received for this review.
FeatheredQuillBookReviews More than 1 year ago
The stories of how things came to be began to flow out into the air under the nighttime skies. The stars twinkled as the children listened to their father’s tales of when the “world was new” and there was no fire to be had. The spider, snake, and birds looked over the water as “the Thunders hurled a lightning bolt.” The skies lit up with a dazzling display and a sycamore tree soon lit up in flames. It was very cold and the animals needed that fire spreading through the sycamore’s branches, but how could they get it? The “council of animals” met and decided that they did indeed need that fire and someone had to go get it. The raven volunteered and quickly spread his white wings and flew toward the flames. Raven leaned forward peering into the flames trying to figure out how to return with the fire. Instead “the heat scorched Raven’s feathers black.” Legend says that is why the raven’s feathers are black. “I’ll get the fire,” shouted Screech Owl. Off he went to the burning branches of the sycamore tree. A sudden flash of flames quickly burned Owl’s eyes. Legend says that is why “Screech Owl’s eyes shine red in the bright light.” Neither Raven nor Screech Owl were able to bring back the fire, but could one of the other animals do it? This is a fascinating, fun look at a Cherokee legend that explains how we got fire. The Cherokee storyteller in this tale is relaying to his own children things he heard from his elders. We learn how Raven, Screech Owl, Hoot Owl, Horned Owl, Racer (a racer snake), and Spider attempt to capture the fire and light from the sycamore’s branches and return with it. We then learn how each animal was changed by his attempt. The tale will be quite memorable as children will not only learn about legends, but also how they are passed on from generation to generation. The artwork lights up the pages with excitement and brings the tale to life. Newly independent readers can tackle this beginning nonfiction book with a bit of assistance with words such as “sycamore.” There are four pages of activities in the back of the book. Additional complementary activities can be accessed on the publisher’s website. Quill says: If you are interested in Native American culture, you'll love to learn about these Cherokee legends!
HomeSchoolBookReview More than 1 year ago
Why are ravens black? Why do screech owl eyes look red in light? And how did the earth get fire? This Cherokee folktale, retold by Nancy Kelly Allen and nicely illustrated by Sherry Rogers, begins “when the world was new.” The nights painted the earth with frost, the days blew cold winds, and ice daggers dangled from cliffs. Yet, earth had no fire. One day Thunder hurls a lightning bolt which strikes a sycamore tree on an island and creates flames. Several animals see what happens, but how can they get the fire? The white raven goes first, but its feathers are singed black. Next, the screech owl makes a stab at it, but the fire burns its eyes and turns them red. Several other animals also try, such as the hoot owl, the horned owl, the racer snake, and the tiny spider. All but one fail. Which one succeeds and is able to bring the fire back for the animals? The section “For Creative Minds” in the back of the book contains further information about the Cherokee people, fire (including a true-false quiz), and water spiders, with even more free learning activities online at the publisher’s website. Anyone interested in Native American folklore will especially appreciate First Fire: A Cherokee Folktale.