“Song for A Whale,” by Lynne Kelly is a touching story about Iris, a deaf girl, and a whale.
The story starts off with Iris, the technological genius. She has a special talent, she can fix radios. Even though she can’t hear, she knows when a radio is working just by the vibrations it makes. She has no real need to socialize as long as she has her radios.
Iris just has one big problem: she’s the only one in her school who’s deaf. Mr. Charles, her interpreter, can help her in the classroom, but in situations like lunch, she’s on her own. She can’t talk to anyone, and they can’t talk to her.
When she and a girl from her class, Nina, get into a fight, Iris is sent straight to the principal’s office. (This is not anything out of the ordinary for Iris.) When her parents hear about this, they lay down the punishment: Iris can’t have the radios in her room for the weekend.
Without her radios, Iris is nothing. Her other deaf friend, Wendell, is out of town, so she can’t go to him for help. Then she remembers Blue 55, a whale who sings at 55 hertz. This means that none of the other whales can understand what he says.
Iris knows that there has to be a way to help Blue 55. She starts to do some research. She finds an animal sanctuary in Alaska and leaves a comment on their website suggesting that maybe the whale is deaf.
When one of the scientists writes back saying that the whale isn’t deaf, that he just can’t match the sounds of the other whales, Iris hatches a plan. Maybe she can sing him a song to let him know he’s not alone.
I thought that this book was very interesting. It keeps the reader wondering what will happen next. It’s characters are very relatable and have excellent personalities. What I really loved was how the author switches perspectives from Iris to Blue 55.
This book talks a lot about frequencies and other sound terms, but I could still understand a lot about what was happening.
This novel captured the feelings of loneliness, doubts and hope so the readers can identify with most of Iris’ thoughts. Join Iris in her search for Blue 55 and also her self-discovery along the way.