Forgotten Fire

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Forgotten Fire (2002) is a young adult novel by Adam Bagdasarian. The book is based on a true story and follows the young boy Vahan Kenderian through the Armenian Genocide of 1915 to 1923.[1] It became a National Book Award finalist, National Book Award for Young People's Literature honor, and the IRA Children's Literature and Reading Notable Book for a Global Society.[2]

Plot summary[edit]

In 1915 Vahan Kenderian is living a life of privilege as the youngest son of a wealthy Armenian family in Turkey. This secure world is shattered when some family members are whisked away while others are murdered before his eyes.

Vahan loses his home and family, and is forced to live a life he would never have dreamed of in order to survive. Somehow Vahan’s incredible strength and spirit help him endure, even knowing that each day could be his last.


Vahan Kenderian- the protagonist of the story. Throughout the novel, Vahan goes though many difficult experiences before reaching the final destination Constantinople and safety. He runs away from Turkish soldiers, fakes deafness, experiences family deaths, Vahan isn't the most brilliant or brave of the Armenians, but he is fortunately helped by many people along the way.

  • Sisak Kenderian - Vahan's brother who he found nearly dead in the street.
  • Armenouhi Kenderian - Vahan's sister who eats poison to avoid the possibility of being killed through being captured and held prisoner at the Goryan's Inn.
  • Oskina Kenderian - Vahan's sister who he becomes separated from but eventually reunites with.
  • Mumpreh Kenderian - Vahan's uncle who was accused of being a revolutionary and killed by Turk soldiers.
  • Selim Bey - The "Butcher of Armenians." Governor of Van and responsible for the deaths of the thousands of Armenians.
  • Diran Kenderian - Vahan's older brother who is killed by Turkish soldiers very early in the book.
  • Sarkis Kendrian - Vahan's father who is taken before the rest of the family and perishes in an unknown way.
  • Toumia Kendrian - Vahan's grandmother who is killed beside the Tigris river.
  • Tavel Kendrian - Vahan's brother who is killed by Turkish soldiers along at the same time as Diran
  • Dr. Tashian - a man that takes Vahan into his home as a servant later in the book.
  • Mrs. Tashian - the wife of Dr. Tashian who is crippled by headaches and dies of a horrific stroke.
  • Seta - a girl that Vahan falls in love with. She dies giving birth to the son of the German consul.
  • Pattoo - Vahan′s friend.


  1. ^ "Forgotten Fire". Armenian National Institute.
  2. ^ Reilly, Mary Ann; Gangi, Jane M.; Cohen, Rob (2010). Deepening Literacy learning : art and literature engagements in K-8 classrooms. Charlotte, NC: Information Age. p. 326. ISBN 1607524589.