Willa and the Whale
Can a whale talk to a human? Willa thinks so... After losing her mom, Willa is grieving and having a hard time living with her dad and his new family on an island off the coast of Washington State. Her dad tries to cheer her up by taking her whale watching, something Willa's mom used to do.While all the passengers are on one side of the boat, Willa encounters a humpback whale on the opposite side. Willa feels so lonely that she starts to talk to the whale—and the whale talks back!The whale, named Meg, quickly becomes a trusted friend and confidante Willa can speak to whenever she's by the ocean.Meg offers sound advice Willa needs about dealing with a nemesis at school and trying to figure out why her friend Marc is keeping secrets about his family life.Before the story ends, it will take all of Willa's courage and connections to tackle a problem that's as big as a blue whale!

Willa and the Whale Details

TitleWilla and the Whale
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMar 3rd, 2020
PublisherShadow Mountain
ISBN-139781629727318
Rating
GenreChildrens, Middle Grade, Contemporary

Willa and the Whale Review

  • Chad
    January 1, 1970
    I gave it five stars, but I co-wrote it, so it's a totally biased review. I still really like it though.
  • A.L. Sowards
    January 1, 1970
    There’s a lot to love about this book: life-like characters, marine biology, and themes of friendship, overcoming grief, and accepting others as they are. I read this with my twins and we enjoyed it. When Willa's mom dies while they are living in Japan, she returns to Washington State to live with her dad, her stepmom, and her really loud step-siblings. It's a big adjustment. She's also not sure where she stands with her former best friend (she's been gone for a few years). There's a girl at There’s a lot to love about this book: life-like characters, marine biology, and themes of friendship, overcoming grief, and accepting others as they are. I read this with my twins and we enjoyed it. When Willa's mom dies while they are living in Japan, she returns to Washington State to live with her dad, her stepmom, and her really loud step-siblings. It's a big adjustment. She's also not sure where she stands with her former best friend (she's been gone for a few years). There's a girl at school who bugs the heck out of her. And she misses her mother terribly. Through conversations with a whale named Meg, Willa begins to cope with her grief and find understanding and direction with all her human connections. Definitely one to add to your to-read list if you enjoy heartfelt middle grade fiction.
    more
  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    So, Willa meets a whale, while whale watching, and find she can talk to it when she goes down to the beach. Her mother, who was a marine biologist died recently, and she is now living with her father and his new family, and there is nothing of her old life, except the house she grew up in, which is now filled with people she doesn't know.So, yes, it is hard, and yes, she has some good talks with her whale, Meg. They talk about life, and death, and friendships, and this seems to help her with So, Willa meets a whale, while whale watching, and find she can talk to it when she goes down to the beach. Her mother, who was a marine biologist died recently, and she is now living with her father and his new family, and there is nothing of her old life, except the house she grew up in, which is now filled with people she doesn't know.So, yes, it is hard, and yes, she has some good talks with her whale, Meg. They talk about life, and death, and friendships, and this seems to help her with healing, at least a little.Beautifully written it includes the story, which happened last year, as told by Meg, of a mother whale who gave birth to a baby that died, but that she kept afloat, as they migrated up the coast, for nearly two weeks. As Meg explains "She wasn't ready to let go."There is lots of sadness in this book, but, as is pointed out, that's ok. You can be sad about losing your mother, and you don't have to stop just because everyone else has stopped.Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review.
    more
  • Stef (Noveltea Corner)
    January 1, 1970
    As a fan of middle grade books, and anything to do with whales in general, I have to admit that when I requestedWilla and the Whale to read it was purely a cover-love request, but I'm pleased to say that this was a surprisingly poignant read.Thirteen-year old Willa has spent the last few years living with her marine biologist mother in Japan, but when her mother dies unexpectedly, she returns to the United States to live with her father and step-family in her old hometown. Willa, like her As a fan of middle grade books, and anything to do with whales in general, I have to admit that when I requested Willa and the Whale to read it was purely a cover-love request, but I'm pleased to say that this was a surprisingly poignant read.Thirteen-year old Willa has spent the last few years living with her marine biologist mother in Japan, but when her mother dies unexpectedly, she returns to the United States to live with her father and step-family in her old hometown. Willa, like her mother, has a passion for marine life, and on a whale-watching trip, meets Meg, a humpback whale who can inexplicably communicate with her. In Meg, Willa finds a confidant, as well as a source of wisdom and comfort as she deals with the deep loss she feels, but doesn't know how to cope with.Willa and the Whale is unexpectedly powerful in the whale it depicts a young teen dealing with her grief. Feeling isolated from the new family she doesn't know yet, Willa struggles to connect and communicate with everyone, including her dad. She clings to things she knows - an old friend, Marc, and her passion for marine biology and learning. At times, this frustrates her as she finds herself in competition for top of her class with another girl, fighting for a position on the local swim team and trying to manage her feelings on her own.While the magical realism element of the whale being able to communicate with Willa over large distances is a little out there, as we begin to get to know Willa it becomes just part of the story and the tales that Meg shares with Willa help to ease some of the grief the young teen feels and to put everything into perspective.It was nice to see Willa's growth over the course of the novel, as she moves from seeing her new family as being separate from her, to being a group of people she might like to get to know better. It takes a tragic event in the last third of the book to get her to this point, but from that, she begins to realise that it's okay to need other people and to lean on them for support.This will be a very important book for middle graders who struggle with grief and loss.
    more
  • K Grant
    January 1, 1970
    I LOVED this book. The tidbits of Marine biology were relevant, the characters were realistic, believable and I was completely hooked ;) Dealing with all consuming grief is sometimes a part of life and I'm so glad professional help is available and that message is woven into an amazingly poignant tale.
    more
  • Bonnie
    January 1, 1970
    What a great way to show how different people deal with different emotions. Grief is an interesting animal and sometimes it does takes animals to help people through it. In Willa's case, it was Meg, a blue whale. I loved the relationship that Willa had with Meg. I love how Meg was able to help Willa through her grief and issues everyone seems to have at school. And I love how Meg really steps up and solves a whale sized problem with the help of loved ones around her. I would recommend this book What a great way to show how different people deal with different emotions. Grief is an interesting animal and sometimes it does takes animals to help people through it. In Willa's case, it was Meg, a blue whale. I loved the relationship that Willa had with Meg. I love how Meg was able to help Willa through her grief and issues everyone seems to have at school. And I love how Meg really steps up and solves a whale sized problem with the help of loved ones around her. I would recommend this book to any and everyone, especially those who could use a different view point in how to deal with and how those around them may be dealing with different emotions.
    more
  • Andria Sedig
    January 1, 1970
    This book was a sweet, poignant story dealing with coping, sadness, and loss. I think that it delicately handled how a person who lost a parent might have been feeling without making those feeling seem wrong or like they just needed to get over it to be happy. At no point in the story did anyone tell Willa that she shouldn't feel sad anymore; instead, they helped her overcome the sadness so that it didn't feel so unbearable. The interactions between Willa and her family and friends felt genuine This book was a sweet, poignant story dealing with coping, sadness, and loss. I think that it delicately handled how a person who lost a parent might have been feeling without making those feeling seem wrong or like they just needed to get over it to be happy. At no point in the story did anyone tell Willa that she shouldn't feel sad anymore; instead, they helped her overcome the sadness so that it didn't feel so unbearable. The interactions between Willa and her family and friends felt genuine and enjoyable to read. Willa herself never felt whiny or overbearing, but felt like someone I could easily connect to. This is a great story to normalize and humanize sadness and feeling overwhelmed by negative things, but also allowed for the reader to experience humor, joy, and the sense of overcoming something difficult. It was a truly enjoyable read
    more
  • Sharon
    January 1, 1970
    Willa and the Whale is a WINNER! This beautiful story tackles some tough topics in a gentle, warm tone that made my heart feel good. There is friendship from unlikely sources, real life struggles that are often avoided, and the humor that the Brown-Morris duo does so well. The parallels between the ocean life and Willa's own situations are incredibly woven, not to mention the facts and research that begin each chapter. It made me realize that we all need a "POD"- our people- that have our backs, Willa and the Whale is a WINNER! This beautiful story tackles some tough topics in a gentle, warm tone that made my heart feel good. There is friendship from unlikely sources, real life struggles that are often avoided, and the humor that the Brown-Morris duo does so well. The parallels between the ocean life and Willa's own situations are incredibly woven, not to mention the facts and research that begin each chapter. It made me realize that we all need a "POD"- our people- that have our backs, and love and cheer for us no matter what we are going through. #thosehashtagsthough #humorkeepsitreal #howdotheykeepwritingamazingstories?
    more
  • MayorEmma
    January 1, 1970
    Earc from netgalley.I liked this one okay, whales seem to be a new trend in middle grade, but this one did not make me super interested. but it is a good story overall, especially for readers interested in the ocean/marine life.
  • KarenJo Custodio
    January 1, 1970
    My heart feels so happy and full of warmth and so much love! Willa and the Whale is a unique and beautiful story about grief, sadness and learning how to move on. It’s deeply moving, heartfelt, and sweet in all the best ways. Chad Morris and Shelly Brown created an amazingly wonderful and poignant story that absolutely touched my heart. I think the authors’ writing style is captivating and had me hooked from the start. I really like how they managed to address sensitive issues in a lighthearted, My heart feels so happy and full of warmth and so much love! Willa and the Whale is a unique and beautiful story about grief, sadness and learning how to move on. It’s deeply moving, heartfelt, and sweet in all the best ways. Chad Morris and Shelly Brown created an amazingly wonderful and poignant story that absolutely touched my heart. I think the authors’ writing style is captivating and had me hooked from the start. I really like how they managed to address sensitive issues in a lighthearted, but meaningful and believable way. The characters are just so delightful and loveable. Willa stole a piece of my heart and I adore her completely. I enjoyed her conversations with Meg, her sense of adventure, her love for the ocean and its creatures, and her spunk. The side characters are pretty interesting too and I didn’t really dislike anyone. The story moves along quite nicely and there’s enough intrigue, drama, and excitement that kept me turning the pages. I honestly loved so many things about this book. I loved Meg, her humor and her stories. The friendship between Willa and Marc was so endearing and watching them both finally open up to each other was heartwarming. I also loved reading the journal entries before each chapter. I loved exploring the tide pools and learning new facts about ocean life. I loved how everyone came together to solve a problem and I absolutely loved the ENDING!! It was just perfect and my favorite pleasant surprise from this lovely tale. And while some parts of this story are indeed sad and made me tear up a few times, there’s also so much joy, wonder, hope and love. Willa and the Whale by Chad Morris and Shelly Brown is an unforgettable and affecting story about death, sadness, friendship, family, and acceptance. It's well-written and such an enjoyable read. But more than anything, I love that it teaches, heals, and reminds us that sometimes letting go doesn’t mean we forget. Everyone and everything that touches us will always be a part of us. And it's okay to be sad. We all feel it, experience it, and deal with it in our own ways, and whichever way that is, it's going to be okay. I honestly can’t recommend this enough and I’m sure plenty of readers would love this too… not just middle grade or young adults. I think this book is perfect for all ages. I received an advance reader copy of this book from the publisher, Shadow Mountain Publishing, in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
    more
  • Ms. Yingling
    January 1, 1970
    E ARC from Edelweiss PlusWilla is still grieving the death of her mother, a marine biologist, so continues to watch the whales near her home. Eventually, she comes across one whale who talks to her. Willa isn't sure if the whale is speaking her language, or vice versa, but they understand each other. Willa calls the whale Meg, short for Megaptera Novaengliae, since she can't pronouce the whale's sounds. Willa keeps a journal, and includes lots of scientific facts about her observations, which E ARC from Edelweiss PlusWilla is still grieving the death of her mother, a marine biologist, so continues to watch the whales near her home. Eventually, she comes across one whale who talks to her. Willa isn't sure if the whale is speaking her language, or vice versa, but they understand each other. Willa calls the whale Meg, short for Megaptera Novaengliae, since she can't pronouce the whale's sounds. Willa keeps a journal, and includes lots of scientific facts about her observations, which helps her to deal with Masha, her step mother, and her step siblings. Living with a large family is quite different from being an only child with two parents, and it doesn't help that her former best friend Marc has changed since Willa has been living away with her mother. Talking to Meg helps, especially when school is stressful with projects, like a debate about children and screen time that Willa doesn't think goes well. After a blue whale beaches itself near her home and Willa is unable to save it, she at least wants to do more than let it rot on the beach, and goes to the city council to suggest how it might be able to be transferred to a research facility. When she finds out why Marc's family problems are affecting him so deeply, she realizes that her father's suggestion that she see a therapist has some merit. Strengths: It's good to see information about marine biology, since an odd number of my students (in the middle of Ohio, remember) want to pursue this profession. Whales are certainly of interest to middle grade readers. I also like books that include blended families, since many of my students are in similar situations. Willa's passion for whales is admirable, and helps her work through her grief. Weaknesses: This is very similar to The Line Tender (although that deals with sharks) that I thought I had already read the book. What I really think: I love Morris and Brown's Squint, but I'm just not sure about this one. The talking whale makes this a fantasy book, and it would have been better without that. (Plus, I keep doubting myself-- was the whale REALLY talking to her?)
    more
  • Sheila
    January 1, 1970
    I really loved this story of a thirteen-year-old girl and her journey through grief after the death of her mom. Willa had been living with her Marine Biologist mother in Japan after her parent's divorce. Her mom passes away and she heads back to the US to live with her dad, his new wife, and several step-siblings. Willa is suffering as she tries to adjust to life with this new family living in her old house. Willa doesn't know if her old best friend still wants to be her friend. Her life is I really loved this story of a thirteen-year-old girl and her journey through grief after the death of her mom. Willa had been living with her Marine Biologist mother in Japan after her parent's divorce. Her mom passes away and she heads back to the US to live with her dad, his new wife, and several step-siblings. Willa is suffering as she tries to adjust to life with this new family living in her old house. Willa doesn't know if her old best friend still wants to be her friend. Her life is filled with doubts and sorrow. Willa finds a friend and mentor in a humpback whale that she met while on a whale watching tour with her dad. Honestly, I loved this aspect of the novel. Willa found someone she could share all of her troubles with and Meg, the whale, was able to help her find the answers she was looking for. This novel highlights so much middle school angst, tweens and teens will be able to really relate to Willa, her bestie Marc, and her snotty rival, Lizzy. The uncertainties of fitting in and being good enough are shown many times in the book. I liked to see how each one of the teens grew and became better people. Willa's development as a person was the greatest, as she with Meg's help learned to let the anger go, forgive others, and finally learn to start healing from the loss of her mom. Funny enough, Meg the "talking" whale was my favorite character. I loved her humor and sound advice she gave to Willa. I truly enjoyed the moments that Willa and Meg chatted with one another. I recommend this book to tweens, teens, and adults. This book would be a great family read-aloud.
    more
  • Tarah
    January 1, 1970
    I have been in a reading rut recently, and I just haven't wanted to pick up a book and read it. And honestly, I didn't think a middle grade fiction story would change anything, but holy cow! I loved this book! I was expecting to think that it was ok, and that my kids might like it, but I was pulled into it right away and almost devoured it as soon as I started reading. I will definitely recommend that this is read with a box of tissues near by. I think I love that the issues that Morris and I have been in a reading rut recently, and I just haven't wanted to pick up a book and read it. And honestly, I didn't think a middle grade fiction story would change anything, but holy cow! I loved this book! I was expecting to think that it was ok, and that my kids might like it, but I was pulled into it right away and almost devoured it as soon as I started reading. I will definitely recommend that this is read with a box of tissues near by. I think I love that the issues that Morris and Brown tackle range from super heavy, to hey my kid is going through that right now. And they are tackled in a way that I think would really resonate with a lot of who this book is aimed at. Actually, I think it would resonate with anyone who read this book and is going, or has gone to school. I was so tempted to look up all the ocean creatures that were mentioned, but I was so into the book that I didn't want to stop and get on my phone. I'll have to go back and look things up now that I'm satisfied with the ending and not wondering what all is going to happen.All in all, this was an excellent book that was entertaining, touching, and well written. I will definitely see if my kids will read this, and I'll suggest it to their friends too.*I received a copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
    more
  • Rorie
    January 1, 1970
    This is the second book in a row that I've read that has required tissues. So, fair warning to you, have tissues nearby when reading this. It's so good though. Like, bedtime was an hour ago, but I can't bring myself to stop kind of good. When I first started reading the story, it seemed a bit juvenile to me (um yes, because that's who it's aimed it) but it didn't take long at all for me to become engrossed in the story. I am determined to add "blubberless rectangle watchers" to my vocabulary, This is the second book in a row that I've read that has required tissues. So, fair warning to you, have tissues nearby when reading this. It's so good though. Like, bedtime was an hour ago, but I can't bring myself to stop kind of good. When I first started reading the story, it seemed a bit juvenile to me (um yes, because that's who it's aimed it) but it didn't take long at all for me to become engrossed in the story. I am determined to add "blubberless rectangle watchers" to my vocabulary, because I think it's the most hilarious phrase ever invented. I even dog-eared the page where that was mentioned so I could go back and re-read it. One other part that stuck out to me enough to make me dog-ear the page was when Meg was telling Willa a story and she said "...he couldn't stop asking himself what would happen...if he didn't get involved." That really resonated with me. Instead of not acting out of a fear of what might happen to us, why don't we think more about what might happen (to someone else, or even us) if we DON'T get involved. Definitely a good lesson that we can all learn from.I'm really looking forward to passing this book on to my kids. I hope they will enjoy it as much as I have.
    more
  • Beth Mendelsohn
    January 1, 1970
    I received this e-ARC from NetGalley and Shadow Mountain Publishing. All opinions are my own.Thirteen year old Willa has recently moved back in with her father and his new family following the sudden death of her marine biologist mother in Japan. When her father takes her on a whale watch to spend some time with her, Willa finds herself having a conversation with a humpback whale she’s named Meg. Willa can tell Meg things, like how much she misses her mother, she won’t tell anyone else, I received this e-ARC from NetGalley and Shadow Mountain Publishing. All opinions are my own.Thirteen year old Willa has recently moved back in with her father and his new family following the sudden death of her marine biologist mother in Japan. When her father takes her on a whale watch to spend some time with her, Willa finds herself having a conversation with a humpback whale she’s named Meg. Willa can tell Meg things, like how much she misses her mother, she won’t tell anyone else, including her father and best friend, Marc. Willa finds that she can continue to talk Meg from the beach near her house. When a blue whale beaches itself on her beach, Willa’s world comes crashing down around her. In addition to figuring out what to do with the dead whale, Willa must face her grief.I had some difficulty getting into this book. Willa thinks in “marine” terms – everything is related to the ocean, either marine life or the waves. Now I love the ocean but I thought it was a bit much. The story did pick up about a third of the way through. I did like the way the authors allowed Willa to grieve in her own way and not miraculously get over it. This would be good for readers in grades 3-6.#NetGalley #WillaAndTheWhale
    more
  • Susan Grigsby
    January 1, 1970
    For 3 years after her parents' divorce, Willa and her mother have been living in Japan. When Willa's mother suddenly passes away, she finds herself back in Tupkuk with her father and his new wife and their 4 children. Clearly depressed and grieving deeply, Willa tries to reassimilate to her old life. Her father takes her on a whale watch and she realizes that one of the whales that put on a show of breaching and splashing has swum up to the side of the boat that only Willa is on. Unbelievably, For 3 years after her parents' divorce, Willa and her mother have been living in Japan. When Willa's mother suddenly passes away, she finds herself back in Tupkuk with her father and his new wife and their 4 children. Clearly depressed and grieving deeply, Willa tries to reassimilate to her old life. Her father takes her on a whale watch and she realizes that one of the whales that put on a show of breaching and splashing has swum up to the side of the boat that only Willa is on. Unbelievably, she and the whale (Meg) begin to communicate. Meg tells Willa how to call out to her and their friendship grows as Willa makes frequent trips to the beach and tide pools near her home. As she tries to rebuild her friendship with Marc, best friend from 4th grade, deal with Lizzy, the classroom "snob," and her household made noisy by 4 children under 7, Willa gets advice and comfort from Meg. This is a beautiful story of a child processing grief told through her love for ocean life and observing the natural world around her. The authors wisely don't provide pat answers or give us a "happily ever after" ending but Willa and Meg will stick with readers long after the last page.
    more
  • Stephanie P
    January 1, 1970
    I received an advance copy from the publisher to review. It is out now!This middle grade novel follows an ocean obsessed girl who is working through grief from her mother’s recent death and trying to navigate a lot of new transitions. I really liked the authors’ previous book Squint and this book had a similar appeal and feel while also offering new elements.I enjoyed experiencing the main character’s passion for the ocean and and how she found parallels between her knowledge and all aspects of I received an advance copy from the publisher to review. It is out now!This middle grade novel follows an ocean obsessed girl who is working through grief from her mother’s recent death and trying to navigate a lot of new transitions. I really liked the authors’ previous book Squint and this book had a similar appeal and feel while also offering new elements.I enjoyed experiencing the main character’s passion for the ocean and and how she found parallels between her knowledge and all aspects of her life. There are so many wonderful things in this world to be passionate about and one of the things I love about reading is its ability to let you be inside someone else’s mind and experience their passions.Willa had so much to work through in this book and it was satisfying to watch her learn and grow. There were many wonderful themes that would be great for kids to find in their reading.
    more
  • Megan Schmelzer
    January 1, 1970
    Willa and the Whale, by Chad Morris, is a beautiful story about loss and grief.In the story, Willa and the Whale, you meet a young girl named Willa. Willa has been living in Japan while her mother who was a marine biologist. After her mother's untimely death, Willa's life is uprooted. She has to now go live with her father and his new family in America.While dealing with the loss of her mother, Willa's father takes her whale watching. It is during this trip that Willa's life is transformed. She Willa and the Whale, by Chad Morris, is a beautiful story about loss and grief.In the story, Willa and the Whale, you meet a young girl named Willa. Willa has been living in Japan while her mother who was a marine biologist. After her mother's untimely death, Willa's life is uprooted. She has to now go live with her father and his new family in America.While dealing with the loss of her mother, Willa's father takes her whale watching. It is during this trip that Willa's life is transformed. She meets a whale named Meg, and the two of them help each other overcome the grief of their lives.I thought Willa and the Whale did a beautiful job in dealing with a very sensitive manner. Willa's feelings of grief were heard and supported. She took the steps she needed to move on with the help from her father, Meg, and a new friend she meets.
    more
  • Andrea
    January 1, 1970
    I wasn’t really sure what to think about this book initially due to the talking whale part. I really felt bad for Willa with everything she had to deal with at such a young age, and the whale talking grew on me. Several relationships were mended or strengthened throughout the story, and Willa found purpose and ways to help her deal with her grief. This was an enjoyable middle grade read that I’d recommend to my kids. The tidbits about ocean life were fascinating and I couldn’t help but look up I wasn’t really sure what to think about this book initially due to the talking whale part. I really felt bad for Willa with everything she had to deal with at such a young age, and the whale talking grew on me. Several relationships were mended or strengthened throughout the story, and Willa found purpose and ways to help her deal with her grief. This was an enjoyable middle grade read that I’d recommend to my kids. The tidbits about ocean life were fascinating and I couldn’t help but look up pictures/videos about a few things that were mentioned.Chad Morris and Shelly Brown are a great writing duo. I look forward to reading more from them.*I received an Advanced Reader Copy from the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.
    more
  • Marilee
    January 1, 1970
    What a poignant and beautiful story! Willa's grief at her mother's death feels like a "million jellyfish stings" and she is tired of crying all the time. She finds solace in talking to Meg, a humpback whale and this leads her to deepen relationships with the people around her and discover that healing does come, little by little, as she learns to open up and rely on her "pod." I love that she relates to the world around her by comparing people's behavior or her feelings to to marine life; it What a poignant and beautiful story! Willa's grief at her mother's death feels like a "million jellyfish stings" and she is tired of crying all the time. She finds solace in talking to Meg, a humpback whale and this leads her to deepen relationships with the people around her and discover that healing does come, little by little, as she learns to open up and rely on her "pod." I love that she relates to the world around her by comparing people's behavior or her feelings to to marine life; it lightens up the book so the subject matter doesn't feel quite so heavy and it makes it relatable for kids. I look forward to reading this with my own children and am sure it will become a family favorite!
    more
  • Cheri
    January 1, 1970
    #WillaAndThe WhaleWilla moves from Japan, after her mom passes away. Willa has a hard time living with her dad and her step mom and four children., Willa isn't used to all the noise, that comes from living in a big family. Willa finds comfort in her grief , by talking to Meg, a whale, who helps her with the changes in her life. Willa finds friends and help in her grief. A story that will help children, through the grief process, learn about journal keeping and the importance of family and #WillaAndThe WhaleWilla moves from Japan, after her mom passes away. Willa has a hard time living with her dad and her step mom and four children., Willa isn't used to all the noise, that comes from living in a big family. Willa finds comfort in her grief , by talking to Meg, a whale, who helps her with the changes in her life. Willa finds friends and help in her grief. A story that will help children, through the grief process, learn about journal keeping and the importance of family and friends.
    more
  • Kimberly Gutierrez
    January 1, 1970
    A-MAZ-ZING! This was an ARC book that I was lucky enough to receive and could not be more happy that it passed through my hands. Its going into my top 5 reads of young adult novels for 2019. I loved the character of Willa and the relationship that was built between her and other characters. I found myself stopping when out of reading time and just holding the book in my hand to be able to think and ponder about the writing and the messages it put forth. My 10 year old daughter read this book as A-MAZ-ZING! This was an ARC book that I was lucky enough to receive and could not be more happy that it passed through my hands. Its going into my top 5 reads of young adult novels for 2019. I loved the character of Willa and the relationship that was built between her and other characters. I found myself stopping when out of reading time and just holding the book in my hand to be able to think and ponder about the writing and the messages it put forth. My 10 year old daughter read this book as well and when she returned it she said, "Thank you for sharing it with me." Followed with a hug. I cannot wait for this book to come out in 2020 so that we can buy it and add it to our shelves. The writing was crisp and clear and easily pulled you in and didn't want to let you go. Lovely, just lovely. #bookposse
    more
  • Brandy McGlaughlin
    January 1, 1970
    This book was a great pick! Strong female characters throughout and what kid wouldn’t want to talk to a whale? I loved the breakthrough moments and the friendships Willa was able to make. Plus Blue and Meg we’re both heartbreaking in their own ways. I thought this book tackles death and mental health in great ways and hopefully kids going through anything similar will be able to relate and use the lessons that Willa has to learn.
    more
  • Camila
    January 1, 1970
    I really loved this book. It's a wonderful of grief, friendship and family. I love how it featured women in STEM and how well versed in marine biology Willa is. Very inspiring.*This book was given to me by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review – all opinions are my own.*
    more
  • Heather
    January 1, 1970
    This was a middle grade novel about a 12 yr old girl named Willa. Her parents divorced years ago and she moved to Japan to live with her mom. Her mom died suddenly and she moved back to the US to live with her dad, stepmom, and 4 step siblings/ half siblings. Her dad seemed to truly care about her, but for most of the story I had a hard time figuring out the stepmom. If it was going to turn into an ok relationship or if things were going to go bad with her. There were several things that This was a middle grade novel about a 12 yr old girl named Willa. Her parents divorced years ago and she moved to Japan to live with her mom. Her mom died suddenly and she moved back to the US to live with her dad, stepmom, and 4 step siblings/ half siblings. Her dad seemed to truly care about her, but for most of the story I had a hard time figuring out the stepmom. If it was going to turn into an ok relationship or if things were going to go bad with her. There were several things that bothered me about their relationship. Willa meets a whale while on a boat with her dad. They begin a friendship. Willa goes down to the beach daily to talk with her whale, Meg. She also reconnects with a friend. This was an enjoyable story. Willa was a relatable character who I enjoyed getting to know.
    more
  • Melanie
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book! Such a fun read by Shelly and Chad, their writing has always been fantastic. I would highly recommend this book to anybody. I received a copy from netgalley in exchange for an honest review
  • Erin
    January 1, 1970
    This was very well done. Willa is a character you will grow to love. I enjoyed the facts about ocean life that are weaved through the story. The authors did a great job writing about grief as well.
  • Leigh
    January 1, 1970
    I received this ARC from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.This book was a truly lovely story about dealing with loss and grief. It starts one month after the death of Willa's mother. Following a divorce, Willa moved with her mother to Japan where she worked as a marine biologist. Upon her death, Willa returns to her previous home on an island in the Pacific Northwest where her dad now lives with a new wife and four noisy children.Willa's dad takes her on a whale I received this ARC from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.This book was a truly lovely story about dealing with loss and grief. It starts one month after the death of Willa's mother. Following a divorce, Willa moved with her mother to Japan where she worked as a marine biologist. Upon her death, Willa returns to her previous home on an island in the Pacific Northwest where her dad now lives with a new wife and four noisy children.Willa's dad takes her on a whale watch on the one month anniversary of her mother's death. It is there that she has a transformative experience with a whale that becomes central to dealing with her overwhelming grief. Willa's friend Marco is happy enough to resume their friendship, but he is struggling with his own demons. Though he is exactly the friend Willa needs, he needs her just as much.I can't say enough about this one. I loved it and know many middle grade readers will too.
    more
  • Bonnie Grover
    January 1, 1970
    “When something that sad happens, we don’t usually move on very quickly. But sometimes it would be nice if we could.” A year after losing her mom, Willa is still grieving and having a hard time adjusting to her new life with her dad and his new family. Willa begins having conversations with a humpback whale who helps her navigate through life’s challenges. I loved how there were interesting marine biology facts throughout this story. Not only would this make a great movie, it is also the perfect “When something that sad happens, we don’t usually move on very quickly. But sometimes it would be nice if we could.” A year after losing her mom, Willa is still grieving and having a hard time adjusting to her new life with her dad and his new family. Willa begins having conversations with a humpback whale who helps her navigate through life’s challenges. I loved how there were interesting marine biology facts throughout this story. Not only would this make a great movie, it is also the perfect book for middle school students who are trying to figure out their place in the world. A great story about courage, trust, and friendship.
    more
  • BreeAnn (She Just Loves Books)
    January 1, 1970
    Willa's mother passed away a month ago and her dad has taken her whale watching. Willa connects with a whale while out on the ocean. This trip also allows her to reconnect with her friend Marco and as their friendship grows, they find that they needed each other to each heal their own demons.This book is perfect for middle grade readers and deals poignantly with grief and loss.Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.
    more
Write a review