Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly is a standalone juvenile fiction book for 4-6 graders.
Twelve-year-old Iris loves fixing things. She’s a genius at taking apart and putting old radios together and she has a eye for fixing just about anything else. Iris is also deaf. She is the only deaf student at her school, everyone in her family is hearing, except her grandmother and recently deceased grandfather, and she often feels like no one is listening to her.
So when she hears about Blue 55, a whale who is unable to communicate with other whales, she knows exactly how he feels. Iris is determined to let Blue 55 know that she hears his song, so she crafts a plan to play a song for him.
A meaningful journey, full of interesting facts and a lot of heart–will Iris find her own song while searching for Blue’s?
This was such a wonderful read. I’ve taken a course in sign language and I use ASL in my storytimes all the time, so I think this book really connected with me on another level. The author is a sign language interpreter but it really felt like she “got” deaf culture. Iris is such a real and emotionally driven character and her connection with the world around her is amazing.
There is also so much more to this book than just Iris’ journey and deaf culture. There’s a lot of really great STEM elements–oceanography, the way sound works, and information about the real whale Blue 55 was inspired by. I think we are going to do this one for my STEM bookclub and we will do something interesting with sound waves.
Ultimately, this book was beautifully written and I think it could appeal to many different readers. Boys, girls, anyone whose ever felt different, to kids interested in marine biology and preservation. This one gets 5 super high stars from me.
That’s all for now!