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Song for a Whale

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  4,653 ratings  ·  842 reviews
The story of a deaf girl's connection to a whale whose song can't be heard by his species, and the journey she takes to help him.

From fixing the class computer to repairing old radios, twelve-year-old Iris is a tech genius. But she's the only deaf person in her school, so people often treat her like she's not very smart. If you've ever felt like no one was listening to you
Hardcover, 303 pages
Published February 5th 2019 by Delacorte Press
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Natalia not really, at times you might feel sad because things dont work out for her at times, but things all fall together in the end. would definitely recom…morenot really, at times you might feel sad because things dont work out for her at times, but things all fall together in the end. would definitely recommend!(less)
Amelia How about you you read chapters 32-33 and make your own summary?

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Average rating 4.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,653 ratings  ·  842 reviews

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Carole (Carole's Random Life in Books)
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
Lisa Vegan
4-1/2 stars

In most ways I loved this book but I couldn’t quite give it 5 stars because of the point of view of the whale/other whales too. I couldn’t quite suspend disbelief and all the way through, once I hit page 76, I was eager to read the author’s notes at the end. While they were excellent, informative and interesting, I still couldn’t quite accept one aspect of the story, the fictional whale parts, even though I sort of adored that part of the story too. It’s just that the rest was such a
destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]

I wanted so badly to read this because this sounds like an absolutely incredible, important story that needs to be told, and I will absolutely recommend this story to others. I just couldn't do it to myself. The actual whale this story was inspired by, 52 Blue, is a story that I learned of many years ago and it has upset me so badly I can barely stand thinking about it. Something about 52 Blue's loneliness is just literally one of the most heart-breaking things I've ever heard of, and the par
Mar 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
I feel like I've been talking a lot lately about craving middle grade, and how good and underappreciated middle grade is. I came across a thread on Twitter a few days ago about why people like YA — and making a distinction between adult and YA — because it generally deals with serious issues with sense of hope. I think this is even more true of middle grade stories, and while some may take a saccharine route, many, if not most, strip issues back to an unltimately honest core without sacrificing ...more
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020, middle-grade
What a beautiful story! We follow Iris, a young deaf girl, who learns about Blue 55, a whale who sings at a different frequency than any other whale. Blue 55 keeps singing and swimming even though he's not understood or accepted by other whale pods. Iris feels connected to Blue 55 and is determined to somehow help him know he is heard.

Iris is such an endearing character. She is lonely but not despairing. She has such a strength and is so loveable. I love how Kelly portrays deafness in this book
Feb 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
May 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
Song For a Whale was such a wonderful story to read. I have always loved whales and being near the ocean. This story brought me just a bit closer through a 12 year-old girl named Iris. Iris is deaf and hardly has any friends at her school. She goes through most of her day alone and not fitting in. When she learns about a whale with a unique song in one of her classes she becomes obsessed with this whale.

Blue 55 is a fictional character in Kelly’s story but is based off of a real whale named 52 H
Jul 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a lovely and heartfelt story (based on true events) bringing light to the deaf community. Middle grade is so under appreciated!! Loved this!
Laurie • The Baking Bookworm
May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children, deafness
As a former American Sign Language/English Interpreter, I get very excited when I see a book about Deaf culture and ASL. This is one of those times. With Song For A Whale, Lynne Kelly, an ASL/English Interpreter herself, has written a touching, entertaining and informative coming-of-age story about Iris, a twelve-year-old girl and a unique whale who both struggle to communicate and find their place within the world around them.

Iris is an interesting main character - she's smart, curious and has
Nov 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting premise: a deaf 12-year old girl learns of the plight of a bi-species whale, who cannot communicate with others because its "song" is at a different frequency. Iris comes up with a great idea to send a song at 55 dB. While Iris is determined to help, she is also very self-centered and does not seem to care much for anyone else, except herself. She decides to head to Alaska on her own to see the whale, eventually teaming up with her grandmother, who is adrift, having recently lost her ...more
Nicole M. Hewitt
This review and many more can be found on my blog: Feed Your Fiction Addiction

This is one of those books that takes you into the heart and mind of a character whose experiences you might not be able to completely relate to—and you come out all the richer for it in the end.

The story focuses on Iris, a Deaf girl who struggles to communicate with many of the people around her and to find her place in a world that doesn’t seem to know how to define her. When she learns of a whale with a similar issu
Christy Bailleul
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Another mother-daughter read-along done! I love these moments with my girl. Reading together snuggled on the couch or sitting at the kitchen table. It’s beautiful to find books we both fall in love with. The best is when we hit a part that makes us look up into each other’s eyes and we share the same feeling - whether it be joy, concern, or sadness.

Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly is a book that will stay with both of us for many years to come. It has solidified my daughter’s desire to learn ASL
David H.
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, deaf
Retroactive Review: I've been very interested in deaf-related fiction for a while (I'm deaf myself), so I was pleasantly surprised to learn about this book, which I picked up when the author had a signing event at my local library.

It's a middle-grade novel starring 12-year-old Iris, the only deaf girl in her school. She signs but only with a few family members and another friend of hers. She's also a very tech-y girl, and the novel is set in motion when Iris learns about a lonely whale (a fictio
I enjoyed the characters a lot - they have depth and we see sweet moments. I think my main issue is that I found it hard to suspend disbelief that this could really happen. This is a realistic story with a bit of a surreal element (including the POV of a whale that feels). I liked the science in this story (acoustic biology, hertz, fixing radios) - Iris' hobbies were different and interesting. I also liked learning more about Deaf culture; the author is an interpreter for deaf children in school ...more
Sep 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
SONG FOR A WHALE is another gem from the Juvenile Fiction shelves. It's the intelligent, thought-provoking story of Iris, a young Deaf girl who often feels disconnected from her parents and classmates and the connection and wonder she feels upon learning of Blue 55, a whale whose unique song cannot be understood by other whales. Can these two help one another?
Jean Huber Bookmama789
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Looking for a book that will inspire you to go out and change the world, make a difference, make tiny changes? Then you have to pick up the new middle grade book by @lynnekkelly Song For A Whale💙 🐋💙 Thank you so much to @delacortepress for sending me this free Advanced Readers Copy to review! If I could give this book more than five stars I would!
The story follows twelve year old Iris who is absolutely brilliant when it comes to science and electronics. In her free time she repairs and restores
Dec 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Carina Olsen
Dec 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
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
Laura Gardner
Jun 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫/5 for Song for a Whale by @lynnekelly
🐳 🐳
When Iris learns that Blue 55, a hybrid whale who sings on a different frequency from other whales, can't communicate with other whales, she instantly understands what that's like. Iris is Deaf, but her parents and all her classmates in her school are not. Iris had a close relationship with her Deaf grandparents, but since her grandfather died, her grandmother is withdrawn and sad. She has an interpreter, but she is frustrated on a daily basis.
Song for a Whale cleverly and seamlessly combines two very topical elements of writing for young people, so we never feel like we are learning something. Iris’s deafness could be seen as a diversity issue, but it never feels preachy or contrived. She has always been deaf, and feeling like an
outsider is very natural. Although her grandparents are also deaf, life at home and school is often tricky and requires Iris to do much of the heavy lifting, which is unfair and often a burden.

The other conce
Reading is my Escape
Until last summer, I thought the only thing I had in common with that whale on the beach was a name.

- first sentence
Twelve-year-old Iris is a wiz with electronics. She loves fixing up antique radios and making them work again. She is the only deaf student in her school and feels like she is always separate from everyone else. Other students and some teachers tend to overlook her and think she isn't smart because she is deaf. When Iris learns about Blue 55, a whale who is unable to communicat
Nicole Wagner
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
I liked this book. I rooted for Iris. I liked the loneliness similarity that Iris and Blue 55 had.
Autumn Byrd
Sep 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing

Content/Trigger Warnings: Grief, loss of a loved one, minor bullying/harassment, abandonment/isolation

“He keeps singing this song, and everything in the ocean swims by him, as if he’s not there. He thinks no one understands him. I want to let him know he’s wrong about that.”

Friends, I’m feeling incredibly soft and sappy after reading Song with a Whale. This book is about so much, offers so much and I still can’t believe how much passion radiates from this book. I have fallen head
Kathy McC
Apr 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful story! The cover's beauty is an added bonus! This is youth fiction, but the characters cross all ages. The story is important, and I so hope it makes the short list for the Newbery. (Update- it wasn't on the list. But, it did win the Schneider Family Book Award for books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience). The characters are endearing and so believable. Their joy, their compassion, their sadness, their frustration, their loneliness, and their anger ...more
Mar 31, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a really sweet story. I enjoyed getting to know Iris and her family. I've never read a book where a deaf person was the main character and any characters for that matter. Sign language is so fascinating to me. Over the years I've made attempts at learning it but never put any real effort into it.

I think it's neat that the author included "thoughts" from Blue 55 as well. I'll probably be watching videos on whales for a couple of days.

Rating: G
Language: clean
Recommend: yes

May 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Love It!! Great read.

Gave me me a different look at someone that is deaf. Goals are so important and how one person could make a different.

Cruise full time ?????- my husband goal someday.
Feb 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
"What was a whale without a pod? What was a whale without a whale song?" Who are we without our families, our communities, the people we connect to?

The story of Iris, a 12-year-old who is deaf, and Blue 55, an unusual whale with a song that is unintelligible to other whales, focuses on that topic. And does so with empathy and sadness and humor and joy.

Iris is a complex character. She loves electronics, especially fixing broken old radios* -- in other words, restoring their voices. She struggle
Sara Grochowski
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 ...more
Rhian Pritchard
AMAZING. So wonderful. Everyone must read.
Iris is a deaf character written with the nuance and empathy of a sign language interpreter. Being the only deaf girl in her school, Iris immediately feels drawn to Blue 55, a whale who sings at a different frequency to other whales and is unable to communicate, or to stay with a pod for any length of time. The story follows Iris as she sets out to write a song for the whale so that he knows he's not alone, and discovers the lengths she will go to for hi
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Mock Newbery 2021: June Read - Song for a Whale 18 175 Jun 29, 2019 07:50AM  

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Lynne Kelly's career as a sign language interpreter has taken her everywhere from classrooms to hospitals to Alaskan cruises. Today, she lives near Houston, Texas with her adorable dog, Holly. Her 2019 novel SONG FOR A WHALE, about a deaf girl named Iris who forms an unlikely bond with the “loneliest whale in the world,” has been described as “finely crafted,” “important,” and “uplifting” by revie ...more

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“He keeps singing this song, and everything in the ocean swims by him, as if he’s not there. He thinks no one understands him. I want to let him know he’s wrong about that.” 2 likes
“Some people have the kind of confidence that lets them get away with being clueless.” 1 likes
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