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9781772781991_cover Enlarge Cover
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list price: $16.95
also available: Hardcover eBook Paperback
published: Nov 2020
publisher: Pajama Press Inc.

Music for Tigers

by Michelle Kadarusman

reviews: 0
0 of 5
0 ratings
list price: $16.95
also available: Hardcover eBook Paperback
published: Nov 2020
publisher: Pajama Press Inc.

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.


About the Author

Michelle Kadarusman grew up in Melbourne, Australia, and has also lived in Indonesia on the island of Bali and in the cities of Jakarta and Surabaya on Java. Her novels include The Theory of Hummingbirds and Music for Tigers, which was an honor book for the Green Earth Book Award, among others. Today Michelle lives in Toronto, Canada, and Byron Bay, Australia.

Author profile page >
Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
8 to 12
4 to 7
  • Short-listed, Cypress Fairbanks ISD Horned Toad Tales
  • Short-listed, Forest of Reading Silver Birch Fiction Award
  • Long-listed, Green Earth Book Award
  • Commended, USBBY Outstanding International Book
  • Winner, Northern Lights Book Awards: Middle-Grade Cultural Category
  • Commended, Quill & Quire Books of the Year Honourable Mention
  • Commended, Washington Post KidsPost Summer Book Club selection
  • Commended, Kirkus Reviews Best Middle Grade Books of the Year
  • Commended, CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens selection
  • Commended, A CBC Books "The best Canadian YA and middle-grade books of 2020" selection
  • Commended, Junior Library Guild selection
Editorial Review

Praise for Music for Tigers

A 2021 USBBY Outstanding International Book

A 2020 Washington Post KidsPost Summer Book Club selection!

2020 Northern Lights Book Awards: Middle-Grade Cultural Category Winner

2021 Green Earth Book Award longlist

2021-2022 Cypress Fairbanks ISD Horned Toad Tales shortlist

2021 Forest of Reading Silver Birch Fiction Award nominee

A 2020 Kirkus Reviews Best Middle Grade Book of the Year

A CBC Books "The best Canadian YA and middle-grade books of 2020" selection

2020 Quill & Quire Books of the Year Honourable Mention


2020 CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens selection

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

“Michelle Kadarusman engages young readers with a carefully laid trail of compelling tidbits....This is a book about the wonders of nature, the importance of conservation supported by indigenous connections to the land, and the need for persistence in the face of adversity.”—Canadian Children’s Book News

“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

“A vividly descriptive Middle-Grade work with an ecological focus—enriched by elements of music, friendship, and atypical neurology….I would readily recommend this for young contemporary fiction and nature lovers. There’s some great potential here for building empathy, educating on species extinction, and expanding familiarity with neurological diversity—all while steeping readers in the atmosphere of an incredibly unique biome.”—YA Books Central

“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


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