Worlds Afire by Paul B. Janeczko

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Synopsis

In his first full-length poetic work, celebrated poetry anthologist Paul B. Janeczko creates a stirring fictional account of the 1944 Hartford circus fire.

One summer afternoon in 1944, hundreds of circus lovers crowded under the big top in Hartford, Connecticut, breathlessly waiting for the show to begin. Minutes later, the event took a horrifying turn when a fire broke out and spread rapidly through the tent, claiming the lives of 167 souls and injuring some 500 more. Sixty years later, Paul B. Janeczko recalls that tragic event by bringing to life some unforgettable voices — from circus performers to seasoned fans, from firefighters and nurses to the little girl known as Little Miss 1565, a child whose body was never claimed. This spare, startling book uses the lyrical power of language to render historical tragedy with a human face, leaving an emotional impact young readers will not soon forget.
 

About Paul B. Janeczko

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Paul B. Janeczko is a renowned poetry anthologist who has edited more than twenty collections for young readers, including A POKE IN THE I: A COLLECTION OF CONCRETE POEMS, which was both a NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW Best Illustrated Book and a PUBLISHERS WEEKLY Best Book of the Year, and SEEING THE BLUE BETWEEN: ADVICE AND INSPIRATION FOR YOUNG POETS. He is also a brilliant poet in his own right, and with WORLDS AFIRE removes his anthologist’s hat and assumes a full-fledged role as author and poet. He says, "More than anything else, I wanted to give a voice to the people whose lives were forever changed by the fire. And to give those who perished a chance to speak as well.
 
Published February 2, 2004 by Candlewick. 112 pages
Genres: Young Adult, Literature & Fiction, Children's Books. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Worlds Afire

Kirkus Reviews

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In 29 taut, free-verse poems, Janeczko describes the Barnum & Bailey Circus fire in Hartford, Connecticut.

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Publishers Weekly

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Janeczko, who has edited such standout collections as A Poke in the I , here takes on an ambitious task: a novel in verse about a circus fire in Hartford, Conn., on July 6, 1944.

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