Song for a Whale
Twelve-year-old Iris has never let her deafness slow her down. A whiz at fixing electronics, she's always felt at home in the world of wires and vacuum tubes. School, on the other hand, isn't quite as simple. Between her frustrating teacher Ms. Conn and her overly helpful classmate Nina, Iris can't seem to catch a break. But during science class, Iris learns about Blue 55—the loneliest whale in the world. Saddened by the animal's inability to speak to other whales, Iris uses her tech skills to come up with a plan communicate with Blue 55. One small problem: the whale is swimming off the coast of Alaska, nearly 3,000 miles from her Texas home. But, nothing stops Iris, and with her Deaf grandmother by her side, she sets out on a road trip to meet the whale and make sure he's finally heard.

Song for a Whale Details

TitleSong for a Whale
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 5th, 2019
PublisherDelacorte
Rating
GenreChildrens, Middle Grade, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Fiction

Song for a Whale Review

  • Carole (Carole's Random Life in Books)
    January 1, 1970
    This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.I liked this book quite a lot. I don't read middle-grade books very often but I think that may be something that I really need to change. I was drawn to this book as soon as I saw it and while that may due in part to the gorgeous cover, it was mostly the premise of the story that grabbed my attention. Every time I picked up this book, I quickly was lost in Iris's world. I really had a great time with this book.Iris is a twelve-year-o This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.I liked this book quite a lot. I don't read middle-grade books very often but I think that may be something that I really need to change. I was drawn to this book as soon as I saw it and while that may due in part to the gorgeous cover, it was mostly the premise of the story that grabbed my attention. Every time I picked up this book, I quickly was lost in Iris's world. I really had a great time with this book.Iris is a twelve-year-old girl who happens to be deaf. She goes to a regular school where she is the only deaf person with the assistance of her sign language interpreter. It took about all of five minutes for my heart to go out to Iris as she explained what it was like to live in a world where nobody understands you. She has no friends at school and keeps being paired up with a classmate who claims to know sign language but whose hand motions make no sense to Iris at all. She feels very alone.Iris's attention is grabbed by a whale that she learns about in school that sings at a different frequency than the other whales and therefore can't communicate with them. Iris is a whiz at repairing old radios outside of school and she uses that knowledge to help find a way to communicate with that special whale named Blue 55. Blue 55 lives alone in the ocean with no one to talk to and Iris can relate much better than most people.I fell in love with Iris almost immediately. I think that the author did a fabulous job of letting the reader really understand how isolated she felt. Iris is a very intelligent and determined girl and I liked the way she worked through the puzzle of helping the whale. I really enjoyed taking this journey with Iris and was pleased to see the progression of her relationships with her family in addition to her quest to save the whale. I would recommend this book to others. I think that this was a wonderfully written story about a little girl and a giant whale that I won't forget anytime soon. I look forward to reading more of Lynne Kelly's work in the future.I received a review copy of this book from Delacorte Press.Initial ThoughtsI really liked this book. I thought that the descriptions of Iris and her life at school were incredibly well done. My heart hurt for her because I felt how alone she thought she was. I thought that the whale's story was just as interesting and Grandma was great. All in all, this was just a very well done story.
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  • USOM
    January 1, 1970
    Song for a Whale is an adorable middle grade about Iris, a deaf girl, her family, and a whale. The author's experience as a sign language interpreter lends authenticity to the narrative. I can't speak to the deaf representation in the book, but Iris struggles not only with her dad who doesn't know sign language well, a classmate who thinks they can sign, and her feelings of isolation. Even though Iris has her best friend, a grandmother, and her ability to fix radios, she still feels isolated in Song for a Whale is an adorable middle grade about Iris, a deaf girl, her family, and a whale. The author's experience as a sign language interpreter lends authenticity to the narrative. I can't speak to the deaf representation in the book, but Iris struggles not only with her dad who doesn't know sign language well, a classmate who thinks they can sign, and her feelings of isolation. Even though Iris has her best friend, a grandmother, and her ability to fix radios, she still feels isolated in many ways. Her passion for Blue 55, in many ways, mirrors her own struggle for being heard, and feelings of loneliness.full review:https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/revi...
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  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    I've written, then deleted, at least four different versions of this review so far. Sometimes you pick up a story and it's so poignant, so important, that it's really hard to write anything resembling a coherent review. That's this book right here. Lynne Kelly has created something magical with Iris' story. It's not just the fact that she's a character who represents the Deaf community. It's not just the sweet way that she ties her passion for radios into communicating with someone who is just a I've written, then deleted, at least four different versions of this review so far. Sometimes you pick up a story and it's so poignant, so important, that it's really hard to write anything resembling a coherent review. That's this book right here. Lynne Kelly has created something magical with Iris' story. It's not just the fact that she's a character who represents the Deaf community. It's not just the sweet way that she ties her passion for radios into communicating with someone who is just as lost as she is, in a sea of others. What makes this book special is how simply it shows how important connections are. To others, to yourself, to the world. I teared up while reading this book and, trust me, you're probably going to as well.I wanted to give love, first and foremost, to Iris as a protagonist. You can absolutely tell that Kelly did her research, because Iris is precisely what readers from the Deaf community would be looking for in a character. Her inability to hear doesn't define her, but it does kind of set her apart in the world that she is attempting to navigate as a young person. She does a lot of growing from the start of the book, but my favorite part was watching her learn that she wasn't the only one who felt that way. I won't spoil, but there's a lot in this book about accepting others and, especially, appreciating their efforts to learn.The scientific portion of this story, or the portion that had to do with the ever amazing Blue 55, was also beautifully executed. Learning about whale songs right alongside Iris made me smile. Kelly peppers in things like whale spout shapes, and fluke shapes, all the while making the learning feel like a normal part of the story. Plus, Iris' passion for all of this is infectious. I was rooting for her to communicate with Blue 55 right from the start, and you couldn't have pulled this book away from me if you tried.I could gush on and on about the familial relationships in this book, or the way that it deals so perfectly with the loss of a loved one, but it would take many more paragraphs than you'd want to read. The fact of the matter is that this is both a gorgeous and important story. I thought the ending was a little bit out there but I had to remind myself that my middle grade self would have LOVED it. It's sweet, and Iris definitely deserved a happily ever after.Read this! Put it into the hands of all the budding readers that you know. They're going to love Song For A Whale, and so are you.
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  • Ms. Yingling
    January 1, 1970
    E ARC provided by Edelweiss PlusWhile Iris and one set of her grandparents are Deaf, her parents are not, and her father doesn't even make the effort to learn sign language. Iris has an interest in repairing older radios, and this gives her a nice past time and source of income. School is a struggle, and it's hard to deal with some of her fellow classmates, especially one who pretends to know ASL but just annoys Iris with her unsuccessful and self-serving attempts. When Iris' science class learn E ARC provided by Edelweiss PlusWhile Iris and one set of her grandparents are Deaf, her parents are not, and her father doesn't even make the effort to learn sign language. Iris has an interest in repairing older radios, and this gives her a nice past time and source of income. School is a struggle, and it's hard to deal with some of her fellow classmates, especially one who pretends to know ASL but just annoys Iris with her unsuccessful and self-serving attempts. When Iris' science class learns about Blue 55, a whale who communicates on a frequency that no other whales do, and so leads a lonely existence, she is drawn to his story and tries to help. She consults with the music teacher and creates a sound track on the frequency the whale uses, and contacts a research station in Alaska to see if they can use it. When the scientists there invite her to come by if she is ever in the area, Iris decides she really needs to go to help out. Her parents, wisely, say no, so she approaches her grandmother. Her grandmother is not doing well after the passing of her spouse, and decides a cruise to Alaska is just what she needs. The two sneak off on their adventure, and while Iris is not able to help Blue 55, she is able to put some things in her life into perspective and to speak up for herself.Strengths: The author's background working with Deaf students is apparent, and the details about having an interpreter at school, dealing with classmates, and of feeling the vibrations through the radios are all good details for hearing students to have. The science connection is interesting, and the relationship with the grandmother is charming. The father's difficulty in connecting with Iris adds a layer of realistic depth.Weaknesses: There have been several Deaf students at my school, and none of them were ever treated this badly. I had one girl with an interpreter and a cochlear implant who was even a library helper for several quarters-- we just made sure students knew to make sure she could see their face and to talk clearly but normally when they checked out books so that she could understand them, and she never seemed as isolated and unhappy as Iris. Doesn't make for as good a story, but makes me feel good about my students!What I really think: There should be more books than Ferris' Of Sound Mind and Gino's You Don't Know Everything, Jilly P!, so I am really glad to see this one.
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  • Carina Olsen
    January 1, 1970
    When I first heard about this one I knew I had to read it. Because that cover is all kinds of stunning. And the story seemed amazing too. I do not think I have ever read a book about a deaf girl, and I was so excited to finally get to do that. Parts of this book were all kinds of awesome. But sadly, almost all of the book was bad. Oh.And because of that I'm giving this book two stars. Which makes me so sad, but it has to be done. I had so many issues with this one. Yet I also enjoyed some of it When I first heard about this one I knew I had to read it. Because that cover is all kinds of stunning. And the story seemed amazing too. I do not think I have ever read a book about a deaf girl, and I was so excited to finally get to do that. Parts of this book were all kinds of awesome. But sadly, almost all of the book was bad. Oh.And because of that I'm giving this book two stars. Which makes me so sad, but it has to be done. I had so many issues with this one. Yet I also enjoyed some of it a whole lot. I have so much to share about it. First, a huge thank you to the publisher for letting me take part in the blog tour and for sending me the lovely book.While my blog tour in late January was supposed to be a review and a giveaway, I do not feel okay with sharing a two star review for a blog tour. Will be posting my review today, and will hopefully be sharing a spotlight and giveaway of an ARC post in January. I truly wish I could say that I loved this book. As I really wanted to. It seemed incredible. And looks truly gorgeous. But it was sadly filled with issues. I will start by saying that I have no idea if any of the deaf part of the book had issues as well, as I do not know anyone that is deaf. I will say that I found all of it to be written really well. I loved that the main girl was deaf. I loved reading about how she lived every day as a deaf person. Was so very interesting. And she was all kinds of awesome because of that. Love.But sadly that did not save this book. Because even though the deaf parts were incredible, the rest of the writing was so very much not. I could not connect to anything in this book. It also felt so rushed. And a bit awkward at times. Especially so because Iris is said to be twelve years old, but yet she felt years younger than that. Which was a bit depressing. I also did not like this girl. Because of her personality. She treated a girl in her class so very badly. And not once was that owned up to. It bothered me so much, at all times.Sure, it is written in a way that makes it seem like the girl in her class was an idiot, and doing everything wrong. But she was not. She was a girl who could hear. And who tried so hard to learn sign language so that she could talk to Iris too. But Iris did nothing to help her with this. All she did was turn away from her and ignore her and get angry with her for not being able to sign anything right. I felt like Iris should have helped her. Should have tried to be her friend, like this girl was trying so so very hard to be hers. Hmph.Which means that sadly I did not like Iris very much at all. I tried to love her, I truly did. But yeah. No. She treated this girl badly in the beginning of the book. And then near the end she reads something about her, and she laughs and laughs at her, and it made me dislike Iris more and more. Was not good. Sure, there were parts of Iris that I liked. Getting to know how she talked with sign language was awesome. So loved her friendship with this adorable boy that was deaf as well. It was pretty adorable. But was sadly too little.This book is about Iris being unhappy in her school. Since she is the only one there that is deaf. And her grandparents are deaf too, but her grandpa is dead and her grandma lives at a home for old people. Her mom can sign language too, and her brother as well. Her father was not good at it. And that was written badly too, because it was all kinds of painful to read about, and it really shouldn't have been written that way, at least, I do not think it should have. Parts of Iris's life was hard to read, which was bad and good.While at school, she learns about a whale. Blue 55. He has a different song than every other whale in the ocean, and so no one can understand him. He is all alone and has no one around him. This is somewhat a true story, and I did like that a whole lot. It was interesting to read about the whales and such. But also a little weird. There are even really small pages with the whale point of view. Yeah. That was odd. And the way Iris reacted to learning about the whale. Yeah. I cannot support that. Not at all. Which is depressing.I did love that Iris felt strongly about this whale. That she wanted to help him connect with others. Liked that she decided to make a song for him that he could hear, that no other whale could sing for him. But what I did not like is that she got obsessed with this whale right away and decided that she had to go to Alaska to find him, to see him. Did not like how she treated her family because of this. And then she runs away. With her grandmother. On a cruise ship, for weeks, without telling her family first. Uhm. What even.I cannot help but say that I found this book to be a bit problematic. If that is the right word. It might not be, but I'm not sure how else to describe it. This book makes it feel it was okay that twelve year old deaf Iris ran away with her old and deaf grandmother, who was grieving for her dead husband, and was in a home because they feared she could not take care of herself. Yeah. And they run away together. That was not safe. And it was not okay. Sure, Iris thinks about her family a couple of times while being away. Hahaha.That was not okay either. She is on a cruise for Alaska, far away from her family, without talking to them or telling them where she is going or why. Her grandma is keeping them updated, but that was still not an okay thing to do. Yet this book tells it in a way that it felt okay, that it was the right thing for Iris to do. That it was the only thing she could have done, the thing she was supposed to do. I do not support that at all. It was reckless and dangerous. Gosh, my review is much longer than I had planned for it to be. Sorry, haha.But can't stop writing about this book. I must share all my thoughts. Some spoilers. There is even a scene in the book where Iris jumps into cold water and swims toward a huge whale. Looking it in the eyes. And swimming around it. Not once is it mentioned that this is dangerous. And it was. Incredibly so. And I'm not sure why this book is making it seem like all of this was okay. Hmm. Can't help but feel that this book was not all that safe. Of course, it is highly possible that I am the only one to feel this way, that others will not.Which is also okay. I'm sorry to say that Song for a Whale was not a book for me at all. I wanted to love it, so so badly, but I could not. I found parts of it to be very good, and I wanted to know more. But most parts where not good at all. And I may have shared way too much in my review. But I just could not stop writing and I do not regret it. So curious to know what others will think of this book. Do let me know if you read it. Huge thank you to Random House Kids for sending me a free ARC copy of this book to read and review.---This review was first posted on my blog, Carina's Books, here: https://carinabooks.blogspot.com/2018...
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  • Sara Grochowski
    January 1, 1970
    Lynne Kelly’s SONG FOR A WHALE is a stunning, emotionally resonant look inside the world of 12-year old Iris, a determined girl whose deafness often leaves her feeling alone and frustrated. Iris’s interactions with her hearing family, friends, and classmates are poignant and truthfully drawn, but it’s her soul connection with Blue 55, a whale that sings at a unique 55-hertz frequency, leaving him unintelligible to his fellow whales, that shines especially bright. Kelly’s portrayal of deaf cultur Lynne Kelly’s SONG FOR A WHALE is a stunning, emotionally resonant look inside the world of 12-year old Iris, a determined girl whose deafness often leaves her feeling alone and frustrated. Iris’s interactions with her hearing family, friends, and classmates are poignant and truthfully drawn, but it’s her soul connection with Blue 55, a whale that sings at a unique 55-hertz frequency, leaving him unintelligible to his fellow whales, that shines especially bright. Kelly’s portrayal of deaf culture and relationships within the deaf community are deeply striking. As an outside observer of the deaf community, Kelly’s depiction of Iris’s emotional and physical experiences in a world that caters to hearing individuals has a made a lasting impact, changing the way I look at the world and leaving me more aware of my own privilege. Iris and Blue 55 have made a mark on my heart that will linger for years to come.
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  • Michelle Kidwell
    January 1, 1970
    Song for a Whaleby Lynne KellyRandom House Children'sDelacorte Books for Young ReadersChildren's FictionPub Date 05 Feb 2019I am reviewing a copy of Song For A Whale through Random House Children’s and Netgalley:Iris I a twelve year old tech genius, able to do anything from fix the class computer to fixing old TVs but she’s the only deaf student in her school and shes often treated like she’s not very intelligent .Iris learns about Blue 55, a whale that is unable to communicate like other whales Song for a Whaleby Lynne KellyRandom House Children'sDelacorte Books for Young ReadersChildren's FictionPub Date 05 Feb 2019I am reviewing a copy of Song For A Whale through Random House Children’s and Netgalley:Iris I a twelve year old tech genius, able to do anything from fix the class computer to fixing old TVs but she’s the only deaf student in her school and shes often treated like she’s not very intelligent .Iris learns about Blue 55, a whale that is unable to communicate like other whales something that Iris can relate too so she invents a way to sing to him and travels with her Grandma to do just that.Will Iris be able to play her song for Blue 55? Find out in Songs For A Whale!Five out of five stars!
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  • F.T. Bradley
    January 1, 1970
    Such a great look into what it means to be Deaf--I learned so much. This book was truly food for thought, and stuck with me long after reading.The science angle gave the book extra depth, and the whale story gave it heart. I really loved Iris, the main character, and her family. There were a few moments (the horrible teacher in the beginning) that were a slight hiccup for me, but overall this is one of the best middle-grade books I've read in a while.A must read this year I would say--be ready f Such a great look into what it means to be Deaf--I learned so much. This book was truly food for thought, and stuck with me long after reading.The science angle gave the book extra depth, and the whale story gave it heart. I really loved Iris, the main character, and her family. There were a few moments (the horrible teacher in the beginning) that were a slight hiccup for me, but overall this is one of the best middle-grade books I've read in a while.A must read this year I would say--be ready for this story to stick with you long after you finish the book. A great classroom read, too.
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  • Heather Jensen
    January 1, 1970
    I fell in love with Iris and Blue 55 right from the beginning. Iris is 12 years old. She is the only deaf student in her school. Blue 55 is a Blue Whale that sings at a frequency that no other way can understand. Iris feels a connection to Blue 55 and finds a way that she feels will allow Blue 55 to finally feel he is not alone. Song for a Whale is a quest for Iris to feel connected! She shows us that even though she cannot hear, it is important to be loud about the things that are important to I fell in love with Iris and Blue 55 right from the beginning. Iris is 12 years old. She is the only deaf student in her school. Blue 55 is a Blue Whale that sings at a frequency that no other way can understand. Iris feels a connection to Blue 55 and finds a way that she feels will allow Blue 55 to finally feel he is not alone. Song for a Whale is a quest for Iris to feel connected! She shows us that even though she cannot hear, it is important to be loud about the things that are important to us. My fifth grade students are going to love Iris and her quest to be heard!
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  • Meg Rule
    January 1, 1970
    This was a heartfelt read that takes you on a trip through the eyes of a highly intelligent deaf girl who goes to great lengths to help a whale in need. A story of family, hope, and love. Not only is the cover beautiful but the story is a treat to read, colored with educational facts. It allows you to live inside the mind of a deaf person to understand the frustrations and beauty of a silent world. A story I will definitely recommend and read again.
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  • Lizzy
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 thoughtful middle grade read alike for realistic fiction similar to likes of Wonder or Fish in a Tree etc but with science bent.
  • Nicole Wagner
    January 1, 1970
    I would have loved this book so deeply at eleven or twelve years old. This book is so good, though, in that I loved it and learned a lot from it at thirty three years old.Inclusion is an amazing thing. When done richly and with context and without tokenizing, it can bring together entire communities. This book is primarily about Deaf people, but it's so incredibly relatable. Have you ever missed someone? Been lonely? Been entranced by a story unexpectedly at a significant time in your life? Plus I would have loved this book so deeply at eleven or twelve years old. This book is so good, though, in that I loved it and learned a lot from it at thirty three years old.Inclusion is an amazing thing. When done richly and with context and without tokenizing, it can bring together entire communities. This book is primarily about Deaf people, but it's so incredibly relatable. Have you ever missed someone? Been lonely? Been entranced by a story unexpectedly at a significant time in your life? Plus, the scenery was its own character. Excellently and tenderly done.
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  • Katy Budget Books
    January 1, 1970
    Stacey says: I didn't read middle grade books even when I WAS in middle school, but I'm so glad I read this book! It's touching, triumphant, and a little heart-breaking. The main character, Iris, is a delightfully bright narrator, and I was fascinated to learn about her world as a young girl who is, among many other things, also Deaf.
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  • Kayla
    January 1, 1970
    I read an early version of this book before it sold, and it was so beautiful and powerful—can't *wait* to read the finished version!
  • Doris Fisher
    January 1, 1970
    An awesome read filled with determination and heart. Iris is in a world of hearing when she can’t. Blue 55 is in a silent world where no whales hear him. It’s a perfect match. Along the way, readers find what it’s like to be deaf, and learn about the wonders of magnificent radios. It’s great for readers of all ages! An award winner for sure!
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  • Lesley
    January 1, 1970
    Song for a Whale is a story of isolation and the need for connection and belonging.Iris is twelve years old and deaf as was her grandfather—her closest ally—and her grandmother who is grieving her husband’s death and has isolated herself. At her school Iris is somewhat isolated as the only Deaf student. The only person she feels close to is her adult interpreter. The other students may try to include her in their conversations, especially an annoying girl who thinks she know sign language, but I Song for a Whale is a story of isolation and the need for connection and belonging.Iris is twelve years old and deaf as was her grandfather—her closest ally—and her grandmother who is grieving her husband’s death and has isolated herself. At her school Iris is somewhat isolated as the only Deaf student. The only person she feels close to is her adult interpreter. The other students may try to include her in their conversations, especially an annoying girl who thinks she know sign language, but Iris gives up as she “tries “to grab any scrap of conversation” (64) and communicate better with her father.In one of her classes Iris learns of Blue 55, a hybrid whale who sings at a level much higher than other whales and cannot communicate with any other whales. As a result he belongs to no pod and travels on his own, isolated. Iris decides to create and record a song that Blue 55 can hear and understand. “He keeps singing this song, and everything in the ocean swims by him, as if he’s not there. He thinks no one understands hi,. I want to let him know he is wrong about that.” (75)Iris is a master at fixing old radios and feels without the storeowner for whom she fixes radios, she “wouldn’t know I was good at anything.” (68). With her knowledge of acoustics, Iris records a song at his own frequency for Blue 55, mixing in his song and the sounds of other sanctuary animals and sends it to the group in Alaska who are trying to track and tag him.On a “run-away” cruise to Alaska, Iris and her grandmother reconnect; her grandmother makes new connections to others and finds a place she now needs to be; Iris connects with Blue 55 giving him a place to belong; and Iris is finally able to request to go to a new school that has a population of Deaf students with Wendell, her Deaf friend.Scattered within the story are the heartbreaking short chapters narrated by Blue 55.Readers will learn a lot about whales, about acoustics, abut Deaf culture, and even more importantly, about those who may feel isolated and the need for belonging in this well-written new novel by Lynne Kelly, a sign language interpreter.
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  • Andrea
    January 1, 1970
    More reviews and book-ish content @ Club Book Mobile & Andrea RBKSong for a Whale by Lynne Kelly was a middle-grade novel full of all kinds of heart. Twelve year old Iris is deaf, and this means she often feels she just doesn't fit in. Her grandparents are both deaf which gives her a connection, however she recently lost her grandfather which has been hard because they were especially close. Her parents don't always take the time to connect, and she struggles at school for similar reasons, w More reviews and book-ish content @ Club Book Mobile & Andrea RBKSong for a Whale by Lynne Kelly was a middle-grade novel full of all kinds of heart. Twelve year old Iris is deaf, and this means she often feels she just doesn't fit in. Her grandparents are both deaf which gives her a connection, however she recently lost her grandfather which has been hard because they were especially close. Her parents don't always take the time to connect, and she struggles at school for similar reasons, while also longing to transfer to the school for the deaf in her town. Along the way, she becomes captivated by Blue 55, a whale who has also lost his way. Blue 55 struggles to communicate with other whales, and he is quite lonely. Hearing about him, Iris can relate, and she wonders if she might have a way to solve his problem. From here, Iris decides to explore how she might help this whale. She has to do this virtually as the whale is in Alaska, but Iris is determined to not make that a barrier. This was an enlightening read as it shows the world through Iris' experience. Using her as the narrator allows readers to get a better understanding of how she interprets the world, including the challenges that her deafness brings. However, it also shows how her deafness is an asset and how she learns to adapt to the environment. The parallel story of Iris and Blue 55 was really well told, and I definitely think kids will be entranced by this one.
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  • Lone Tree Reviews
    January 1, 1970
    If you are looking for a heart-warming tale that will bring tears to your eyes, this is the book for you! Twelve year old Iris is deaf and a tech genius but everyone around her treat her like she isn't smart at all. Being in a school that no one understands her or wants to learn sign language, Iris feels alone until a movie being shown at school about a whale who is like Iris in many ways, Blue 55 is unable to speak to other whales due to him having a different song than normal whales.It makes I If you are looking for a heart-warming tale that will bring tears to your eyes, this is the book for you! Twelve year old Iris is deaf and a tech genius but everyone around her treat her like she isn't smart at all. Being in a school that no one understands her or wants to learn sign language, Iris feels alone until a movie being shown at school about a whale who is like Iris in many ways, Blue 55 is unable to speak to other whales due to him having a different song than normal whales.It makes Iris want to make him a song that only Blue 55 can hear but no one in her family understands her reason until her deaf grandmother makes the simple suggestion of taking a little trip. As Iris travels more than 3,000 miles, nothing about this trip is easy nor will the end result will be what she wanted it to be. Until Iris makes that decision to do what she wants that will end in that heart-warming finale that will make you proud of Iris for what she did in order to make her dream come true!I loved the detail that this Author spent on Iris and what she had to deal with being deaf including her love of radios that she can still hear through the vibrations that they make. It's how she was able to make that song that lead to that amazing ending! It was sad to see that even her own dad didn't learn much sign language to be able to communicate with his own daughter, the sad thing is that really happens in real life as well. That part kinda sucked about this book but having a strong willed girl like Iris just made this book good to the part that she did what she did in order for Blue 55 to hear his song in the end! Let's just say that this was a good read with a subject that is easy to set up for discussion with your kids of what would you do different and how would you deal with being deaf. Thank You to Lynne Kelly for this awesome book to bring your experience to the table in a way that made this a good read!I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book from the Publisher!
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  • Alexa Hamilton
    January 1, 1970
    Iris is named for a whale, thanks to her grandmother. Her grandparents play a big part in her life, in part because she is Deaf and they are Deaf as well--but her parents are hearing. Iris can talk to them in sign language, although her father could definitely be better at it. Despite this loving family, Iris is mainstreamed at a school without other Deaf kids and she feels isolated until she hears about Blue 55, a whale who is swimming around alone because his song is different than other whale Iris is named for a whale, thanks to her grandmother. Her grandparents play a big part in her life, in part because she is Deaf and they are Deaf as well--but her parents are hearing. Iris can talk to them in sign language, although her father could definitely be better at it. Despite this loving family, Iris is mainstreamed at a school without other Deaf kids and she feels isolated until she hears about Blue 55, a whale who is swimming around alone because his song is different than other whales.Iris is really well-written from a tween perspective. She has a lot on her mind, and is really wrestling some normal issues, it's just that for her, so much of it is about being Deaf because that is where she is different and it changes her world. Her adventure with her grandmother in this book helps to put everything in perspective, and I love that it really helps her grandmother. I'm interested to hear from the Deaf community about this book regarding that representation and the way the ASL is written out in this book. The author is a sign language interpreter who recommends learning sign language from Deaf teachers, which I hope is a sign that she has done her research and has characterized Iris well.
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  • Patricia
    January 1, 1970
    SONG FOR A WHALE is more than a song. It is a symphony! Its various components come together seamlessly to produce an entertaining and emotional experience for the reader. Most people are not aware of the loneliness and frustration that is part of the life of the deaf and hearing impaired because it is not obvious.The story takes the reader into the mind of twelve-year-old Iris who is trying to find her way in a hearing world. And then there is the whale's "tale," so to speak. Blue 55, the whale SONG FOR A WHALE is more than a song. It is a symphony! Its various components come together seamlessly to produce an entertaining and emotional experience for the reader. Most people are not aware of the loneliness and frustration that is part of the life of the deaf and hearing impaired because it is not obvious.The story takes the reader into the mind of twelve-year-old Iris who is trying to find her way in a hearing world. And then there is the whale's "tale," so to speak. Blue 55, the whale in the story, is based on an actual whale that has fascinated, but eluded, scientists for years: the real-life "52 Blue, The Loneliest Whale in the World." Author LYNNE KELLY not only takes the reader inside of the mind of a deaf girl who struggles to belong, but she also creates a convincing account of the whale in its futile attempts at belonging with others of its kind.Does Iris help the whale, or does the whale help Iris? Or both? The reader can decide. This "children's book" has ageless appeal, and I was fortunate to have received an advance copy from the publisher, Random House Children's Books. Iris and Blue 55: a wonderful heart-warming story. Five stars.
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  • Haley
    January 1, 1970
    Twelve-year-old Iris's world changes when she learns about Blue 55, the offspring of a blue whale and a fin whale. His unique parentage may be the reason he sings at 55 hertz, a frequency much higher than the other whales use to communicate, and he wanders the ocean without a pod.The whale's isolation resonates with Iris, the only Deaf kid at her school. Even her dad can't communicate fluently in ASL. Desperate to let Blue 55 know he's not alone, she figures out how to create a song to broadcast Twelve-year-old Iris's world changes when she learns about Blue 55, the offspring of a blue whale and a fin whale. His unique parentage may be the reason he sings at 55 hertz, a frequency much higher than the other whales use to communicate, and he wanders the ocean without a pod.The whale's isolation resonates with Iris, the only Deaf kid at her school. Even her dad can't communicate fluently in ASL. Desperate to let Blue 55 know he's not alone, she figures out how to create a song to broadcast at his unique frequency. Her journey to get it played for Blue 55 will take her far beyond what she thought she was capable of, and may even benefit others than the whale in the process.This book was a wonderful opportunity to learn about some aspects of Deaf culture (I really enjoyed reading about what constitutes a Deaf poem), as well as whale behavior (I didn't know that different species of whales could mate or that whales communicated in different hertz). A solid middle-grade pick--especially for any kids interested in science or natural history.
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  • Cathy
    January 1, 1970
    Mixed feelings about this one. Liked the premise, but giving emotion and story to the whale felt misleading, as did the ending with Iris in the water with 55. Scientifically, there is lots to explore with curious readers: whales, communication, technology, hertz of sounds, space, planets, icebergs, Deaf culture... Kelly works in several opportunities for additional inquiries and the scenes with Iris and her Grandmother were genuine.Perhaps the adult in me has forgotten about the magic behind thi Mixed feelings about this one. Liked the premise, but giving emotion and story to the whale felt misleading, as did the ending with Iris in the water with 55. Scientifically, there is lots to explore with curious readers: whales, communication, technology, hertz of sounds, space, planets, icebergs, Deaf culture... Kelly works in several opportunities for additional inquiries and the scenes with Iris and her Grandmother were genuine.Perhaps the adult in me has forgotten about the magic behind things and how much one can hope for change? It is a lovely story, I couldn’t help but root for Iris, yet some part of me remained skeptical and detached. The title is linked with Wonder and Fish in a Tree: I’d say the two are more realistic fiction and this may be more improbable fiction, despite the roots in science.Props to Kelly for hooking me with science: I only wish she kept with it for a more realistic finish, sometimes we do fail and get disappointed, but that’s often how we learn.
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  • Stephanie
    January 1, 1970
    Iris is only twelve years old, but she has trouble communicating with most people. She’s the only deaf kid at school, and despite her own efforts and everyone else’s, there’s a large communication gap. But Iris has the radios she rebuilds from scratch and her family, and she makes do with that. But when she finds out about the loneliest whale, Blue 55, she realizes that he’s just like her, and is determined to find a way for him to know that he’s not alone.Song for a Whale is a middle-grade nove Iris is only twelve years old, but she has trouble communicating with most people. She’s the only deaf kid at school, and despite her own efforts and everyone else’s, there’s a large communication gap. But Iris has the radios she rebuilds from scratch and her family, and she makes do with that. But when she finds out about the loneliest whale, Blue 55, she realizes that he’s just like her, and is determined to find a way for him to know that he’s not alone.Song for a Whale is a middle-grade novel by Lynne Kelly, who has worked many years as a sign-language interpreter. She definitely had the experience to write this book, and goodness knows that books about the deaf and hard-of-hearing are few and far between. And as soon as I saw this book, I knew I had to review it for my blog. I was lucky enough to get an ARC of it in exchange for an honest review, and to read my review, go here: https://stephsstoryspace.wordpress.co...
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  • Carrie
    January 1, 1970
    Bravo!I sincerely hope that this book finds its way into the library, school and home of every child that desires to be inspired by a reading journey. Much like Wonder (by Palacio) this book is a treasure trove for teachers and home schooling parents. It is rich with project based learning ideas for curriculum in STEM, music, environmental science, geography, social science, language arts and fine arts. Equally important is the rich opportunity the story provides to to discuss generational suppo Bravo!I sincerely hope that this book finds its way into the library, school and home of every child that desires to be inspired by a reading journey. Much like Wonder (by Palacio) this book is a treasure trove for teachers and home schooling parents. It is rich with project based learning ideas for curriculum in STEM, music, environmental science, geography, social science, language arts and fine arts. Equally important is the rich opportunity the story provides to to discuss generational support and social acceptance for peers with all different special needs. Lynne Kelley, well done. Random House, you have a winner!Like every memorable childhood story, Song of a Whale made my heart ache in all of the right ways.Once I cracked the spine, I could not put it down until the last page had been turned and every tissue in my box had been used.
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  • Sam Butler
    January 1, 1970
    This book is so touching. I’m inspired by young Iris, her dedication, intelligence, and bravery shine throughout. Reading about her struggling through school and seeing the disconnect she suffers with her peers broke my heart, but with the right support she soared. As devastated Iris sought solace and connection with her grandmother, her grandmother needed Iris to inspire a change in her, though neither knew it initially. The loss of someone important to them affected their lives in immeasurable This book is so touching. I’m inspired by young Iris, her dedication, intelligence, and bravery shine throughout. Reading about her struggling through school and seeing the disconnect she suffers with her peers broke my heart, but with the right support she soared. As devastated Iris sought solace and connection with her grandmother, her grandmother needed Iris to inspire a change in her, though neither knew it initially. The loss of someone important to them affected their lives in immeasurable ways. The adventurous nature of the book was light and playful. The experiences of the characters illustrated journeys of redemption, healing, and hope. The existence of the whale and Iris’s connection to it is just this side of fantastical, but it makes me want to believe anything is possible.
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  • Smudge
    January 1, 1970
    This review is based on an ARC provided through my work.When Iris, a deaf sixth grader struggling through a world that feels like it can’t hear her, discovers Blue 55, a whale who’s song no other whale understands, she feels drawn to him. Yet, no one seems to appreciate her need to share the world with this whale, to tell him “I hear you.” No one, except her Grandmother. A Song For a Whale is one of the most beautiful books I have read this year; perhaps ever. An amazing story about what if feel This review is based on an ARC provided through my work.When Iris, a deaf sixth grader struggling through a world that feels like it can’t hear her, discovers Blue 55, a whale who’s song no other whale understands, she feels drawn to him. Yet, no one seems to appreciate her need to share the world with this whale, to tell him “I hear you.” No one, except her Grandmother. A Song For a Whale is one of the most beautiful books I have read this year; perhaps ever. An amazing story about what if feels like to be lost, and how to find yourself again, and help others find themselves in the process. Beautifully written and accessible for kids and adults, I connected with this one in a way I don’t often experience, particularly from YA novels.
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  • Erin Scott
    January 1, 1970
    A journey through loneliness. A young deaf girl connects with a whale who struggles to communicate with other whales as much as she seems to struggle with people around her. Along her journey, she and her grandmother grieve for the recent loss of her grandfather and find a way to connect with one another again. I was hooked the entire time and couldn't put the book down until I finished it four hours later. Iris' journey is compelling, informative and triumphant. Worth a read for anyone, but esp A journey through loneliness. A young deaf girl connects with a whale who struggles to communicate with other whales as much as she seems to struggle with people around her. Along her journey, she and her grandmother grieve for the recent loss of her grandfather and find a way to connect with one another again. I was hooked the entire time and couldn't put the book down until I finished it four hours later. Iris' journey is compelling, informative and triumphant. Worth a read for anyone, but especially if you've ever struggled to connect with people around you when you seemed to be speaking the same language.
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  • Savannah Breckenridge
    January 1, 1970
    Perfect book for lovers of Wonder and Out of My Mind! Author Kelly Lynn utilizes her background as a sign language translator to tell the story of Iris, a deaf child in a home of hearing individuals who's struggling to find her place, and the 55 Hertz whale who is unable to communicate with other whales. Lynn's words float off the page creating gorgeous images and themes that echo one another throughout the novel. A book about empowerment, searching for one's "home", making a difference, and ult Perfect book for lovers of Wonder and Out of My Mind! Author Kelly Lynn utilizes her background as a sign language translator to tell the story of Iris, a deaf child in a home of hearing individuals who's struggling to find her place, and the 55 Hertz whale who is unable to communicate with other whales. Lynn's words float off the page creating gorgeous images and themes that echo one another throughout the novel. A book about empowerment, searching for one's "home", making a difference, and ultimately grief. A must read for all ages.
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  • Nannette Matthews
    January 1, 1970
    Song for a Whale is a precious and much needed middle reader novel. Lynne Kelly's experience as an ASL interpreter sheds light on the experiences of people who are deaf, from main character Iris to her grandma. When Iris hears about a whale who speaks in 55 hertz, a sound that other whales don't understand, she becomes determined to make him feel heard by making a special song just for him. But just making this song isn't enough for Iris--she HAS to meet him. Throughout this journey, Iris has li Song for a Whale is a precious and much needed middle reader novel. Lynne Kelly's experience as an ASL interpreter sheds light on the experiences of people who are deaf, from main character Iris to her grandma. When Iris hears about a whale who speaks in 55 hertz, a sound that other whales don't understand, she becomes determined to make him feel heard by making a special song just for him. But just making this song isn't enough for Iris--she HAS to meet him. Throughout this journey, Iris has life changing realizations about her family, herself, and the connections we all need most.
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  • Alyssa
    January 1, 1970
    Lynne Kelly’s SONG FOR A WHALE is a stunning, emotional look inside the world of 12-year old Iris, a determined girl whose deafness often leaves her feeling alone and frustrated. Iris’s interactions with her hearing family, friends, and classmates are poignant and truthfully drawn, but it’s her soul connection with Blue 55, that shines especially bright. Kelly’s portrayal of deaf culture and relationships within the deaf community are deeply striking. Iris and Blue 55 have made a mark on my hear Lynne Kelly’s SONG FOR A WHALE is a stunning, emotional look inside the world of 12-year old Iris, a determined girl whose deafness often leaves her feeling alone and frustrated. Iris’s interactions with her hearing family, friends, and classmates are poignant and truthfully drawn, but it’s her soul connection with Blue 55, that shines especially bright. Kelly’s portrayal of deaf culture and relationships within the deaf community are deeply striking. Iris and Blue 55 have made a mark on my heart that will linger for years to come.
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