Book Review: Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly

Title: Song for a Whale
Author: Lynne Kelly
Page Count: 224 pages
Genre: MG Fiction
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Release Date: February 5, 2019

Publisher’s Summary: From fixing the class computer to repairing old radios, twelve-year-old Iris is a tech genius. But she’s the only deaf person in her school, so people often treat her like she’s not very smart. If you’ve ever felt like no one was listening to you, then you know how hard that can be.

When she learns about Blue 55, a real whale who is unable to speak to other whales, Iris understands how he must feel. Then she has an idea: she should invent a way to “sing” to him! But he’s three thousand miles away. How will she play her song for him?

Full of heart and poignancy, this affecting story by sign language interpreter Lynne Kelly shows how a little determination can make big waves.

My Thoughts: This is easily one of my all-time favorite MG novels. From the get-go, we immediately root for Iris, a twelve-year-old girl who is deaf and loves to repair broken radios (symbolic, in a way). Iris is the only deaf student in her school, which makes her feel unheard and like an outsider. She wants to go to the all-deaf school, but her parents fear that sending her there may disconnect her from them. When Iris learns about a whale who speaks at a frequency that no other whales can hear or understand, she feels an incredible compassion and affinity. She begins to work on a project that will show the whale, Blue 55, that he’s not alone. But everything from distance to school and her parents is determined to keep her from her goal of reaching Blue 55.

I wept…a couple of times…when I read this novel, and immediately bought copies for several of my loved ones. This story really moved me and I enthusiastically recommend it to readers of all ages.

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