The Theory of Hummingbirds by Michelle Kadarusman is a story about believing in yourself, overcoming adversity, and taking flight, just like a hummingbird. Full of beautiful ideas and #ownvoices disability representation, this is a wonderful book for young readers and a great quick read for older audiences.
Kadarusman constructs a beautiful world of hummingbirds and running races, wormholes and eco-schools. The Theory of Hummingbirds is a smooth, easy-flowing narrative with a lovely sense of calm and gentleness. Kadarusman’s writing style is friendly and welcoming, which goes a long way towards creating an inviting story. Main character Alma’s world is always relatable and engaging.
Alba lives with talipes equinovarus, otherwise known as a club foot. Her best friend, Levi, lives with asthma. Kadarusman’s representation of disability is refreshing. While Alba’s story focuses on the things she wants and wishes for her club foot, which she calls Cleo, it works to adapt and reshape those wishes. Alba learns to acknowledge her difference and work with it in ways that, as a woman with a disability, I found particularly helpful and positive.
Alba’s friendship with Levi is informed by their shared love of hummingbirds and their disability experiences, but it isn’t without its conflicts. Kadarusman takes many opportunities to let her characters grow and learn about themselves, each other, and the world. And about hummingbirds and space-time too, of course!
Did you know that a group of hummingbirds is called a charm, a glittering, a hover, or a troubling? The Theory of Hummingbirds focuses on themes of persistence, confidence, friendship, and learning—you can expect plenty of fun hummingbird facts like this one! I’d recommend The Theory of Hummingbirds to readers aged 8 to 10 (or older readers looking for a nice, quick book!).
The Theory of Hummingbirds is Canadian/Australian/Indonesian author Michelle Kadarusman’s first middle-grade book, and it’s been nominated a number of prestigious awards since its release in 2017. Michelle is also the author of Girl of the Southern Sea and Music for Tigers. You can stay up to date with Michelle on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Have you read The Theory of Hummingbirds yet? If so, let me know what you thought! If not, what’s your favourite animal?
Title: The Theory of Hummingbirds
Author: Michelle Kadarusman
Publication Date: 16 October, 2017
Publisher: UQP Press
Alba has been best friends with Levi since forever. They’re both obsessed with hummingbirds and spend their lunchtimes hiding out in the school library. Alba normally doesn’t mind that Levi’s got a science theory on just about everything. But when he becomes convinced the school librarian has discovered a wormhole in her office, Alba thinks maybe he’s gone too far.
Then there’s Cleo. That’s what Alba calls her left foot, which was twisted in the wrong direction at birth and has been strapped in a brace for most of Alba’s life. With the final cast about to come off, Alba is set on running in her first cross-country race. But what if Levi doesn’t believe she can do it?
Alba’s only ever wanted to be ‘normal’, so why does it feel like she’s losing more than Cleo and a pair of crutches?
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