Song of the Hummingbird
A homage to the pre-Colombian woman that celebrates the endurance of the human spirit in the face of cataclysm.
by Graciela Limon
Publication Date: April 30, 1996
Format: Trade Paperback
Imprint: Piñata Books
Ages: 11 and up
From Aztec princess to slave and concubine, Hummingbird – or Huitzitzilín in her native Nahuatl – recounts her life during the Spanish conquest of Mexico. She experienced first-hand the wonder of gods’ arrival—those bearded, armored men who descended from their vessels on horseback—and the brutal devastation of her land and her people. She witnessed the obliteration of Tenochtitlán and suffered the loss of her identity, being forced to discard her traditional garb, to speak a language foreign to her tongue, and to forsake her ancestral gods.
Expressing a confidence and freedom that women have strived for centuries to attain, Huitzitzilín passionately relates her tale to Father Benito, the priest who seeks to confess and convert her, to offer her an absolution she neither needs nor wants. Instead, she forces him to see the conquest, for the first time, through the eyes of the conquered.
In Song of the Hummingbird, Limón pays homage to the pre-Columbian woman, celebrates the endurance of the human spirit in the face of cataclysm and mourns our collective loss of treasures more valuable than all the plundered gold.
“Downright hypnotic.”—The Washington Post Book World
“This work explores the endurance of the human spirit in a world of political, social and emotional violence.”—Library Journal
GRACIELA LIMÓN is the critically-acclaimed and award-winning author of eight novels: The Madness of Mamá Carlota (2012), The River Flows North (2009), Left Alive (2005), Erased Faces (2001), The Day of the Moon (1999), Song of the Hummingbird (1996), The Memories of Ana Calderón (1994) and In Search of Bernabé (1993), all published by Arte Público Press. In Search of Bernabé, translated and published in Spanish as En busca de Bernabé in 1997, was the recipient of an American Book Award. It was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times’ Art Seidenbaum First Novel Award and was named “Notable Book of the Year” by The New York Times Book Review. The Memories of Ana Calderón has also been translated and published in Spanish as Los recuerdos de Ana Calderón (2011). Her novel, Erased Faces, is the recipient of the 2002 Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award. Limón is Professor Emeritus of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles where she served as a professor of U.S. Latina/o Literature and Chair of the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies.
ATOS Interest Level: Upper Grades
Category: Intermediate Reader