Children’s book about wildfires wins Nautilus Prize – YubaNet

2022 Nautilus Book Award Silver Seal Winner, The Very Timely Picture Book Who needs a forest fire? explains how the devastating California wildfires were do not always destructive of forests and ecosystems. The Nautilus Awards stand for “Better Books for a Better World.”

Children today see and learn about the massive fires where firefighters are dispatched to battle the flames. Who needs a forest fire?(beautifully illustrated by award-winning Canadian artist Sue Todd and Central California science illustrator Emily Underwood) demonstrates why we need fire! But not the destructive megafires we see today.

Who needs a forest fire? is the first children’s picture book by author Paula Henson, an environmental educator based in Los Angeles, which tells the story of when the California wildfires served First Peoples and how for thousands of years Native Americans used fire as a tool to tend the forest floor like a garden. The fire kept the forest ecology strong.

-Find out why today’s destructive megafires continue to burn year after year in California

-Learn why plants, animals and humans need fire

-Understand how Native Americans in California used fire as a tool to keep forest ecology strong

-Find out what we can do to help California’s forests and native plants and animals avoid megafires.

A free teacher’s guide to Who needs a forest fire? offers activities and resources that meet California State educational standards, making this book an ideal teaching tool.

“…stunning, engrossing and brimming with educational facts…a brilliant and beautifully illustrated factual read that should appeal to and resonate with a wide range of ages…”

Piret Griffith, Children’s Librarian, Truckee Library

The book was commissioned as part of the interpretive exhibition on humans and their relationship with fire: FOREST⇌FIRE. Created by Llewellyn Studio, the project is a partnership between the Nevada County Arts Council, Truckee-Donner Recreation and Parks District and the University of California, Berkeley – Sagehen Creek Field Station, with Educational and Environmental Outreach by Sierra Watershed Education Partnerships.

Who needs a forest fire?

Paula Henson, author

Sue Todd, illustrator

Emily Underwood, Illustrator

Independently published by Terra Bella Books, 2021

Pages: 44

Price: $16.99 print book; $11.99 eBook

ISBN: 978-1-7357212-0-0 (print) 978-1-7357212-1-7 (ebook)

Available at: and

Angela C. Hale