Unlike the rest of her nature-obsessed family, Louisa wants to be a musician, not a biologist.
But when Louisa’s mother finds out that the Australian government is about to destroy the Tasmanian rainforest camp their family has managed for decades, she insists that Louisa leave Toronto and spend the summer on the strange, small island with her even stranger uncle Ruff. But when Uncle Ruff gives Louisa a copy of her great-grandmother’s journal, Louisa becomes fascinated with her family’s history of secretly protecting endangered species, including the mysterious Tasmanian tiger, widely regarded as extinct. With the help of her new friend and neighbor Colin—a boy who has autism spectrum disorder—Louisa deepens her connection with her family’s land, with history, and with her love of music. Kadarusman masterfully creates a lush, magical world where issues associated with conservation, neurodiversity, and history intersect in surprising and authentic ways. The book’s small cast of characters (principals seem all white) is well drawn and endearing. Crucially, the author acknowledges the original, Indigenous inhabitants of the land as experts, something rarely seen in books about environmental degradation. Louisa’s narratorial voice strikes the right balance of curiosity, timidity, and growing confidence, and her character’s transformation feels both incredibly natural and incredibly rewarding to behold.
A beautiful conservation story told in a rich setting and peopled with memorable characters. (Fiction. 10-14)
Praise for Music for Tigers
A 2020 Washington Post KidsPost Summer Book Club selection!
2021 Forest of Reading Silver Birch Fiction Award nominee
2020 Junior Library Guild selection
2020 CBC Books “12 middle-grade and YA books to read this summer” selection
★ STARRED REVIEW “Kadarusman masterfully creates a lush, magical world where issues associated with conservation, neurodiversity, and history intersect in surprising and authentic ways….Crucially, the author acknowledges the original, Indigenous inhabitants of the land as experts…A beautiful conservation story told in a rich setting and peopled with memorable characters.”Kirkus Reviews Starred Review
★ STARRED REVIEW “Incorporating themes of diversity and environmental preservation into her adventure, Kadarusman (Girl of the Southern Sea) creates a story straight out of adolescent daydreams....Compassionate and endearing, Music for Tigers hits all the right notes.”Shelf Awareness Starred Review
★ STARRED REVIEW “A stirring tale that will inspire young readers to take to heart our collective responsibility as stewards of the planet, Music for Tigers is a coming-of-age story with a conservation twist.”Foreword Reviews Starred Review
★ STARRED REVIEW “In her third outstanding middle-grade novel – after Theory of Hummingbirds and Girl of the Southern Sea – Kadarusman continues to be a clear, insightful, and humourous guide to unfamiliar experiences and settings, and in this case species. She’s unearthed the fascinating history of an extinct animal and entwined it with a heartfelt story of a dedicated family whose good deeds have run up against the ever-encroaching, commerce-driven modern world.”Quill & Quire Starred Review
“Throughout Music for Tigers, Kadarusman provides interesting information about Tasmania’s Tarkine rainforest, its original human inhabitants and the variety of wildlife that has lived there, before and after European settlers destroyed a way of life.”Washington Post KidsPost
“Author Michelle Kadarusman deftly incorporates Australian history into this middle-grade book that reads like a love letter to the unique flora and fauna of the Tasmanian Tarkine….Music for Tigers is perfect for young readers interested in ecology and preservation.”Booklist
“A well-told and timely story, which gently but firmly addresses topics such as environmental impact, endangered species, neurodiversity, friendship, bullying, and being your best self....A solid choice for middle grade collections providing a balanced and comprehensible voice to the environmental discussion for young people.”School Library Journal
“A good story in an unusual setting. Written for readers 8-12 years of age, especially animal lovers.”Winnipeg Free Press
"In this new novel for kids aged nine to 12 years, author Michelle Kadarusman imagines the Tasmanian tiger having survived at a secret sanctuary in the remote Tarkine rainforest."The West Australian
“Verdict: Students who enjoy nature stories, especially those who are interested in cryptid species, will enjoy this book….This character and setting driven plot appeals on many levels and introduces a setting not well represented in children’s books in the United States. I recommend it for middle school and public libraries.”Oregon Coast Youth Book Preview Center
“[P]rovides an uncommon but insightful blending of science and art….[A] fun, engaging read for middle grade children, one that will appeal to many different readers because of its diverse themes and subjects. Louisa’s relationships with Colin and Rufus are delightful to read, and the novel covers important topics with delicacy and grace. Music for Tigers is a heartwarming story of personal growth and friendship that will draw readers in with its charm. Highly Recommended.”CM Magazine
“There is art within the pages of Music for Tigers....Music for Tigers is a statement, albeit a songful one, of our impact on the natural world for our own purposes, destroying critical habitats and species. It implores us to step up and put conservation and preservation measures in place...”CanLit for LittleCanadians