Friday, February 13, 2004


Cameron, A. 2003. COLIBRI. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. ISBN 0374315191
[Suggested Grade Levels 7-10]

Colibri, which means Hummingbird in Spanish, is kidnapped at the tender age of four. She had been riding on a crowded bus in Guatemala City when the horrible kidnapping took place. As the story opens, the young girl has been living with her "Uncle" for eight years. The child, renamed Rose, unwillingly helps her provider earn his wages as a con-artist and petty thief. Rose knows a dishonest way of life is not a good one, but she is afraid to make changes. Moreover, she fears the unknown. The heroine uses her visions and intuition to guide her to leave her "Uncle." Once she stands up to him, she learns truths about herself and her provider that open a whole new world of opportunity for her.

The young heroine is the kind of character readers fall in love with immediately. Her
honesty and integrity are qualities that make her a heroine readers root for from the
beginning until the end. This is a story about trusting in oneself. Colibri was taken
from her family when she was four. Yet, the lessons of truth, honesty, and goodness
stay with the girl through eight difficult years. Ms. Cameron uses rich, beautiful language to tell her story. For example, the heroine says, "A person can't live without something beautiful. Even if it was just something another person would have put in the trash, I had my cup, and to me it was beautiful." The tale is composed of poignant points such as the one quoted. This is a book readers will carry in their hearts.

Young adults may pick one of Rose's visions detailed in the text and share its
meaning to the group.

Rose believes in signs. For example, she believes a cup shattering means that
she has a divided heart. Have readers think about signs they believe in or have
heard about and discuss them with the group.

Other books that can provide more insight into the significance of the name Colibri:
Palacios. THE HUMMINGBIRD KING. ISBN 0816730520

Other books that can provide more insight into Guatemalan culture:
Vecchiato, Gianni. GUATEMALA RAINBOW. ISBN 0876544448

Other books that can prompt discussion about the topic of abandonment:
Pressler, Mirjam. MALKA. ISBN 039923984

By Laura K. Davis

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