The Little Hummingbird

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9781553655336: The Little Hummingbird
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This inspiring children’s book is based on a South American indigenous story about a courageous hummingbird who defies fear and expectations in her attempt to save the forest from fire. The illustrated story is supplemented by a natural and cultural history of hummingbirds, as well as an inspiring message from Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai. The evocative artwork by internationally renowned Haida artist Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas complements this optimistic tale that encourages everyone to take responsibility for their home and the planet.

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About the Author:

Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas challenges native stereotypes through illustrative story telling. His artwork is informed by many years of dedication to public service and political activism, mostly on behalf of the Haida.

Yahgulanaas creates pop-graphic narratives that riff on traditional Haida stories and painting techniques, and developed "Haida Manga" the distinctive art form for which he is widely known. A trickster-like sense of humour contributes to his work’s appeal. Yahgulanaas’ books include Flight of the Hummingbird, A Tale of Two Shamans, The Last Voyage of the Black Ship, Hachidori, and most recently RED, a graphic novel published by Douglas & McIntyre.

Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas has exhibited in several major galleries, including the Bill Reid Gallery, the McMichael Gallery, the Museum of Anthropology, the Glenbow Museum, and the National Arts Center in Ottawa. His Haida Anime Flight of the Hummingbird” is featured on YouTube. For the past two decades, besides developing his unique visual style, Yahgulanaas has spent most of his time working with other Haida people to prevent their homeland, Haida Gwaii, from being logged.

Wangari Muta Maathai was born in Nyeri, Kenya, in 1940, the daughter of farmers in the highlands of Mount Kenya. She is the founder of the Green Belt Movement, which, through networks of rural women, has planted over thirty million trees across Kenya since 1977. In 1986 the Movement established a Pan African Green Belt Network, which has taught people from other African countries the Green Belt Movement’s approach to environmental conservation and community building. Several African countries have since started similar successful initiatives.

From School Library Journal:

K-Gr 3–Based on a South American indigenous story, this book tells of a forest fire that causes the animals to flee for their lives. All except Little Hummingbird, that is, who begins ferrying single drops of water from a nearby stream to the forest. As she works steadfastly to douse the flames, one by one the animals cry out their reasons for running away. Finally Big Bear asks, “Little Hummingbird, what are you doing?” and she replies, “I am doing everything I can.” This fablelike tale shows readers how one person can make a difference in everyday life. It will resonate with children and provide a jumping-off point for discussions about how change happens. The illustrations are monochromatic and beautifully representative of Native Haida art. The motif continues onto the endpapers in a stunning black and gray pattern that is both dramatic and satisfying. The author includes back matter on the place of hummingbirds in legend and in an afterword, Nobel Prize-winner Wangari Maathai offers insight into the importance of the individual.Joan Kindig, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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