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Launchpad: Music for Tigers, by Michelle Kadarusman

"A middle-grade book that reads like a love letter to the unique flora and fauna of the Tasmanian Tarkine." —Booklist

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This spring we've made it our mission (even more than usual) to celebrate new releases in the wake of cancelled launch parties, book festivals, and reading series. With 49th Shelf Launchpad, we're holding virtual launch parties here on our platform complete with witty banter and great insight to give you a taste of the books on offer. You can request these books from your local library, get them as e-books or audio books, order them from your local indie bookseller if they're delivering, buy them direct from the publisher or from online retailers.

Today we're launching Music for Tigers, by Michelle Kadarusman, whose Girl of the Southern Sea was nominated for the Governor General's Award. 


Book Cover Music for Tigers

The Elevator Pitch. Tell us about your book in a sentence.

A middle-grade novel about a young violinist from Toronto who discovers that her family secretly harbours a sanctuary for extinct Tasmanian tigers in the remote Australian rainforest.

Describe your ideal reader.

Budding activists who love nature and wildlife.

What authors/books is your work in conversation with:

A young Jane Goodall meets Waltzing Matilda.

What is something interesting you learned about your book/yourself/your subject during the process of creating and publishing your book?

I learned the heart-breaking vulnerability of our planet's old growth forests. And that you should never ever attempt to hand-feed a wild Australian possum.

Tell us about the setting of the story. 

The story is set in the Tarkine rainforest in Tasmania, Australia. It's an incredibly remote, and stunningly beautiful, ancient temperate rainforest that is continually under threat from mining and logging. Bulldozers and chainsaws can erase thousands of years of biodiversity in a matter of minutes. This story is a love letter to nature and the importance of taking care of our environment and all its creatures.

An important part of any book launch are the thank you’s. Go ahead, and acknowledge someone whose support has been integral to this project.

I am forever grateful to my publisher Gail Winskill who is an unwavering champion of my work. And to my editor Ann Featherstone who guides and elevates the words and ideas so gently that revisions actually become a joyful process.

What are you reading right now or next?

An advance reader of Colleen Nelson's middle-grade sequel to Harvey Comes Home, called Harvey Holds His Own. It's fantastic. And in adult reading: From the Ashes, by Jesse Thistle. It's devastating and brilliant.



Book Cover Music for Tigers

About Music for Tigers

From Governor General’s Literary Award finalist Michelle Kadarusman comes a novel about a young violinist who discovers her mother’s family secretly harbor a sanctuary for extinct Tasmanian tigers in the remote Australian rainforest

Shipped halfway around the world to spend the summer with her mom’s eccentric Australian relatives, middle schooler and passionate violinist Louisa is prepared to be resentful. But life at the family’s remote camp in the Tasmanian rainforest is intriguing, to say the least. There are pig-footed bandicoots, scary spiders, weird noises and odors in the night, and a quirky boy named Colin who cooks the most amazing meals. Not the least strange is her Uncle Ruff, with his unusual pet and veiled hints about something named Convict Rock.

Finally, Louisa learns the truth: Convict Rock is a sanctuary established by her great-grandmother Eleanor—a sanctuary for Tasmanian tigers, Australia’s huge marsupials that were famously hunted into extinction almost a hundred years ago. Or so the world believes. Hidden in the rainforest at Convict Rock, one tiger remains. But now the sanctuary is threatened by a mining operation, and the last Tasmanian tiger must be lured deeper into the forest. The problem is, not since her great-grandmother has a member of the family been able to earn the shy tigers’ trust.

As the summer progresses, Louisa forges unexpected connections with Colin, with the forest, and—through Eleanor’s journal—with her great-grandmother. She begins to suspect the key to saving the tiger is her very own music. But will her plan work? Or will the enigmatic Tasmanian tiger disappear once again, this time forever?

A moving coming-of-age story wrapped up in the moss, leaves, and blue gums of the Tasmanian rainforest where, hidden under giant ferns, crouches its most beloved, and lost, creature.

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