When Gerald was a child he was fascinated by fire. But fire is dangerous and
powerful, and tragedy strikes. His substance-addicted mother is taken from
him. Then he loses the loving generosity of a favorite aunt. A brutal
stepfather with a flaming temper and an evil secret makes his life miserable..
The one bright light in Gerald's life is his little half sister, Angel, whom
he struggles to protect from her father, Jordan Sparks, who abuses her, and
from their mother, whose irresponsible behavior forces Gerald to work hard to keep the family together.
As a teenager, Gerald finds success as a member of the Hazelwood Tigers
basketball team, while Angel develops her talents as a dancer. Trouble still
haunts them, however, and Gerald learns, painfully, that young friends can
die and old enemies must be faced. In the end he must stand up to his
stepfather alone in a blazing confrontation.
Sharon M. Draper has interwoven characters and events from her previous
novel, Tears of a Tiger, in this unflinchingly realistic portrayal of poverty
and child abuse. It is an inspiring story of a young man who rises above the
tragic circumstances of his life by drawing on the love and strength of
family and friends.
From School Library Journal: The riveting first chapter was originally published as a short story in Ebony magazine under the title " One Small Touch". Forged by Fire is a grim look at an inner-city home where abuse and addiction are a way of life and the children are the victims. There's no all's well ending, but readers
will have hope for Gerald and Angel, who have survived a number of
gut-wrenching ordeals by relying on their constant love and caring for one
From Susie Wilde - Children's Literature: It was a big year for Sharon M. Draper who won the Coretta Scott King novel award and was also named the 1997 National Teacher of the Year. The book serves as testimony to her commitment to honestly revealing what she sees in classrooms. It is the story of Gerald who in early life almost dies in a fire when his abusive mother deserts him to search for drugs. Until he's nine, he thrives when his tough and loving Aunt Queen takes hold of him. But at nine his mom's back with an abusive husband and a small sister who he's determined to protect. His reliance and courage gives witness to the spirit of the
- 1998 Coretta Scott King Award
- 1998--ALA BEST Book Award
- 1998--Parent's Choice Award
- 1998--ALA Quick Piks Award
- Best Books for the Teen Age--1998--New York City Library
- Young Hoosier Book Award--2001
The Hazelwood Trilogy