EMWF Kids: Music for Tigers

Thursday May 21, 10:30 a.m. EST (online)

Presenter: Michelle Kadarusman
For ages: 8-12 (but all animal lovers welcome!)

This event will include ASL Interpretation.

Learn about the mysterious animal at the centre of Michelle Kadarusman's new middle grade novel, Music for Tigers. The thylacine, more commonly known as the Tasmanian tiger, was a dog like marsupial with dark tiger stripes across its back. It was Australia's largest carnivorous marsupial before it was hunted into extinction over eighty years ago. But is the Tasmania tiger really extinct? Michelle will talk about recent reported sightings of the Tasmanian tiger and the inspiration behind her story. A take-away activity will include a chance to win a signed copy of the book.

Learning themes: extinction, conservation, cryptid species, Australian geography and history


Music For Tigers
Published by Pajama Press

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?


Michelle Kadarusman grew up in Melbourne, Australia, and has also lived in Indonesia and Canada. Her 2019 novel Girl of the Southern Sea is a Governor General’s Award finalist. Like Alba in The Theory of Hummingbirds, Michelle underwent a series of surgical procedures to correct talipes equinovarus, or clubfoot, as a child. Like Alba, she believes in loving what you do; for her, that includes writing for children and teens, founding the literacy charity Raising Readers, and working for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. Born in Australia, Michelle now lives in Toronto, Ontario, with her family and one very noisy dog.

Want a copy of the book?

The Bookshelf (Guelph) is our bookselling partner for this event. If you would like to purchase a copy of the book from this event, you can order online at bookshelf.ca or phone 519-821-3311 x1. Free shipping or curbside delivery in Guelph. $10.00 shipping cost outside of Guelph.

Thank you to our supporters:
The Pollock Family Fund (Lead Funder, Children's Programming)
The Angel Gabriel Foundation, The Canada Council for the Arts, The Department of Canadian Heritage, Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation, The Ontario Arts Council and Wellington County.