Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Flight of the Hummingbird by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas

Michael Yahgulanaas has created striking Haida artwork in red, black and white to illustrate a fable told by the Quechan people of Ecuador. The story is of a hummingbird who is the only creature to do anything about extinguishing a fire when a great forest is burning. The other animals all watch, but do nothing, while Dukdukdiya (the Haida word for hummingbird) flies back and forth with a single drop of water each time. She tells the others, "I am doing what I can." Yahgulanaas explains that in traditional Haida stories, it is often the most diminutive being that offers the most critical gift or the necessary solution.

The fable is suitable for all ages, from about age 4 through to adult. For older readers, this very slim book also includes inspirational messages from Wangari Maathai and the Dalai Lama about caring for the environment.

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