Southwest Children's Literature

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The Magic Hummingbird

Book Review:

For four years the crops of a village have frozen before they were harvested causing starvation, forcing villagers to leave. Two young children are left behind. The children search for food in an attempt to survive. A handmade hummingbird toy comes to life and brings the children corn, saving them. Then the hummingbird goes in search of the parents and villagers. On the way, it goes deep into the underground to ask Mu?'ingwa, the god of fertility, to bring back rain to the village. The god agrees and begins his long trek upwards bringing with him rain and regenerating the earth. When the hummingbird finds the parents, they are like skeletons walking. They follow the hummingbird back to their old village and find it ready to inhabit and food plentiful.

The story was written in traditional storytelling form with wording and phrases that make it a captivating read aloud. The village abandons the children as in older stories. The abandonment has not been left out for a softer story but is there to show reality in an imperfect world. The children save the village and are the heroes. Children can relate to the strength of the children in the story and find a place for themselves in the victory.


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