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How to Speak Dolphin

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  1,141 ratings  ·  191 reviews
Schneider Family Book Award-winning author Ginny Rorby has created an irresistible dolphin story about a girl's struggle to help her autistic brother and herself. Lily loves her half-brother, Adam, but she has always struggled with him, too. He's definitely on the autism spectrum -- though her step-father, Don, can barely bring himself to admit it -- and caring for him has ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published May 26th 2015 by Scholastic Press
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Average rating 4.20  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,141 ratings  ·  191 reviews

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Ms. Yingling
Feb 18, 2015 rated it liked it
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

Lily is being raised by her stepfather, Don, after the death of her father in the war and her mother two years previously in a car accident. Her brother, four-year-old Adam, is severely autistic and obsessed with dolphins. There is a nanny, Suzanne, who helps with Adam, but Lily still has to do a lot, and wishes that Adam could go to a school where he could get more training. Don considers one, but is more interested in dolphin therapy after he treats a dol
Sandy Brehl
Sometimes I just have to bite the bullet and thin out my TBR pile. I nearly let this one slip into my "skim and return" bag, but not before reading the first two chapters. It took only a few pages to keep me reading. I made the smug assumption that this was just another "take" on a kid brother on the autism spectrum, a dolphin in distress (cue Flipper), an evil-step-parent-trope, and the main character eventually resolving everyone's problems.
I should have known better with this author, whose d
Jul 02, 2015 rated it liked it
Lilly's half-brother Adam is autistic and her family was just learning ore about that when her mother died in a car accident. Now it's up to Lily to help Adam get through his tantrums and to a place where they can communicate.

Her stepfather eventually gets on board while they seek out appropriate schools and a dolphin therapy program. Animal rights become important to Lily as she learns more about the program with the help of a blind friend, Zoe.
May 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was adorable. The descriptions of life with an autistic 4-year-old are heartbreaking and real--for a children's book, the author is surprisingly honest about what autism can mean for a family: wiping feces off of walls, hating your sibling, missing out on important things, etc. I appreciated that this wasn't just a whimsical tale about an autistic boy who got magically better thanks to dolphins--it was a real story with real disappointments. It was a little political at times--but since I s ...more
Jan 17, 2017 rated it liked it
There were parts in this book that were a tad bit difficult to swallow (regarding plot points, not issues), but I felt like the author tried (and maybe succeeded -- I don't know because I've never lived with an autistic child) to depict life with an autistic child, and also tried to relate accurately the treatment of captive dolphins and their need for freedom. Overall, it was a good book.
Aleeya S
Feb 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Such a good book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
May 28, 2020 added it
It was such a great book. I think everybody should read it if they can.
Ruth Mortensen
Oct 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is so sweet. love how it teaches kids that animal should be free and about autism it's hard for kids to have autism telling kids to be nice to them. This book goes deep into autism.
Lexie Wall
Oct 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book How to Speak Dolphin is about a girl named, Lily, who has a brother named Adam, who is autistic. Lily's father died and so her mother married Don, who was a doctor. After a while Lily's mom tried to convince Don that Adam was autistic. Since Don, being a doctor, he thinks he know's everything and refuses to believe Adam was autistic. A couple years later Lily's mom died and she was the only one who could calm Adam down, so Don relied on Lily to be his mom more than his sister. Lily wan ...more
Kellee Moye
Full review at:

Ginny Rorby has done it again! What a wonderful look at autism, animal rights, disability, and family. Will review more closer to release date.

How to Speak Dolphin is a tale that looks at the struggles and triumphs of growing up with an autistic family member. Lily has lost her mom and is still mourning when we meet her, yet she is being expected to pretty much be her brother Adam’s caretaker. Because of this, Lily has very few friends and
Maddie K
Oct 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was a great book I really enjoyed it. Lily's stepbrother Adam is autistic and he is taking over her life. Lily can't play with friends or go with friends because she's always to busy taking care of Adam. Lily's mother died before Adam started showing signs of autism. Her stepfather doesn't believe in all the programs for autism kids and so their babysitter had to convince him. One thing that seemed to make him happy was seeing dolphins. Adam used to go with their mom to see dolphins a lot b ...more
Grace Almaraz
Apr 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Taylor Sanders
Feb 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Love this book so much I can relate to this fully! My family can be exactly like this and it's nice to have a book that compels me so much.The author put a real life emphasis on the topics and characters in the book.YES,it is one of the books your gonna wanna read multiple times (and wish there was a second book looking at you Ginny Rorby)So read this book you won't regret it!!!
Kristy Bellegarde
Sep 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
How to speak dolphin is a great book about a girl who's little brother has a special condition that I don't remember the name of... and is really attached to a dolphin. Though the girl wants to set it free. It's a great book about friendship, family, and everything else a girl has to deal with.
Hannah S.
Dec 09, 2016 rated it liked it
this book had some weird parts. the ending... no comment. all in all it was a pretty good book.
Jun 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
LFL find. After enjoying Hurt Go Happy I shouldn't have let this author fall off my radar... I see there are several titles by her and I'll have to see which I can find.

Though there's a lot going on here, and a few bits of implausibilities, it's a story that works. I believe that the different challenges the different characters face are handled with respect and accuracy... they 'rang true' to me. And the story is engaging... I read past my bedtime last night, and when I picked it up today to fi
Mar 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I purchased this book from the Scholastic Warehouse based on ratings and not knowing anything about the story. My 10-year-old and I really enjoyed this one. The setting for this story - South Florida - is our home. I have never taken my kids to Miami Seaquarium (www.savelolita from the Note from Author and what I believe Oceanarium is loosely based upon) or Sea World in Orlando because of my concerns about animal captivity for human entertainment and profit, so that part of the story definitely ...more
Jessica Madden
May 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a sweet book about an autistic boy name Adam who loves dolphins, and befriends Nori while entering a program that's supposed to help with his behaviour. His half-sister Lily wants to do everything to get him help. At times I found her friend Zoe a little annoying even though I know she is right about how wrong it is to keep the dolphins captive. I wanted to believe the program would help Adam, but it would be awesome if Nori could help him that didn't involve living in a tank.
Charley Gray
Aug 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is so sweet. This was my second time reading this book and both times I got a little emotional towards the end. The author did a really good job.
Apr 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a sweet, middle grade grade novel that I reread because I didn't have anything else to read. It is a little juvenile for my taste right now, but it's still an entertaining read!
Liz Todd
May 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: big-kids
Love the mark that this story left on my daughter... she has asked great questions and strong feelings for the characters.
Ari DeRaffaele
Nov 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
November Book Report
How to Speak Dolphin
Ginny Rorby

How to Speak Dolphin is a book about a girl named Lily who goes on a thrill-seeking adventure with her autistic brother, dolphins, and new friends. Lily's mom died when Lily was very young. Her stepdad, Don, and her autistic brother, Adam, are the only things she has left. Since Adam is autistic, they went to check out a school for autistic kids. Don didn’t like the school, so they went to a place where kids can swim and play with dolphins. Adam
Zoe Walters
Sep 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is very interesting... you get connected to the characters and start to understand what their doing and why their doing it. At the end I got upset but it turned out to be good. I really enjoyed this book!
Aug 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Being so close to the Autism community as I am, people often recommend books to me with Autistic characters. I'm always a little hesitant that they will leave the reader with a limited and stereotypical view of the Autism spectrum which is nearly as wide and varied as humanity itself, but some thoughtful exposure is better than none at all. I think How to Speak Dolphin falls into this camp. Keeping in mind that it presents a view of a young child who has not had any early intervention, this book ...more
Mar 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
"How To Speak Dolphin" starts out decent enough, but once it hits the halfway mark (beginning with the introduction of the character Zoe,) the whole plot plummets like an airplane out of gas.
The idea of a family struggling with an autistic boy felt sincere and true-to-life (and it WAS authentic, as acknowledged by author Ginny Rory in the final page.) I loved the idea a boy connecting emotionally with a dolphin in a sea-park environment....
.....but then...
....suddenly and nonsensically, the bo
Jul 20, 2017 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: None
264 pages. This story takes place in Panama City, FL. A girl has an autistic brother. It is really boring after reading two chapters. Reading level is about 4-6th but too boring to continue. Skip this one.
Aug 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I just read this one for Maggie's book club. I wish I could have read a book like this when I was younger. What a beautiful exploration of Autism and what it is like to have an autistic sibling!
Grace Liaw
Oct 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book shows how we can help others and the environment. Water pollution can really impact the organisms living in it. Autism is also a topic discussed in this book.
Dannielle Peters
Oct 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This Book Was Amazing. I Loved It So Much. It Was Amazing How She Loved Her Brother So Much. Even Though He Had Autism.
Vivian Gross
Mar 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love this book because it teaches you about friendship and kindness.
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Ginny Rorby was raised in Winter Park, Florida, and lived in Miami during her career as a Pan American flight attendant. Midway through that career, she enrolled in the University of Miami to pursue an undergraduate degree in biology, graduated and changed direction again. She went on to receive an MFA in Creative Writing from Florida International University. Her goal, after wrapping up her flyin ...more

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