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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 amazingly good realistic fiction and I found the unrealistic portions kind of jarring, however moving and fun The writing is lovely The illustrations are lovely I loved the main character and story s narrator, Iris I also especially enjoyed her grandmother I loved how she responded What a hoot she was This is a great granddaughter grandmother relationship I also enjoyed so many other characters too, including Bennie Sura, Iris s mother, father, and brother, Wendell and his family, and some of Iris s teachers and classmates The family and friend and school relationships were portrayed well This book has so much going for it There is ample humor throughout and I thoroughly enjoyed it But I felt sad a lot of the time I was reading it The book is about communication and the lack of it, and about deep and cutting loneliness I felt sad for the whale and then felt even sadder when I realized that Iris isn t even as fluent in ASL and she could be, though I correctly knew what that was going There are interesting inclusions about Deaf culture There is a lot of suspense that was both entertaining and excruciating I love how Iris is skilled in electronics, radios and other devices too I love the whales I love the Alaska cruise portions the only cruise I ve taken as an adult was to Alaska in 1983 so it was fun to be back there with some common experiences I m happy for Iris and I guess I m supposed to feel happy for the whale too, but I felt only partial solace.I did kind of love this book but it s 4 1 2 not 5 stars for me, rounded down despite the author s explanation This would have probably been a favorite 5 star book for me at ages 9 12, and that s the target audience for this book I think what bothered me now might not have bothered me back then The author s notes at the end were wonderful and in my opinion needed inclusions I ve always loved whales and it pains me that I couldn t quite accept portions of the story As I read I wasn t quite sure about how to take the whales voices, thoughts, feelings, and that kind of took me out of the story, just a bit I couldn t wait to read the author s notes but I didn t want spoilers so I waited until I d finished the book Perhaps I should have read everything in the back when I got to page 76 of the hardcover edition I don t think the story would have been spoiled for me but I didn t know that I wanted to know about whales and how realistic unrealistic things were, what was fantasy that either worked or not.I did really, really like this book and I will definitely read other books by this author. 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 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. 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 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 hope, which is no easy feat Lynne Kelly s Song for a Whale is a good example of that.Song for a Whale hits a lot of right notes , succinctly capturing the frustrations and beauties of Iris world, layered with a touch of adventure and coming of age, and built on the bones of a heartfelt family story Iris is a dynamic protagonist, realistically flawed and lovely she s got a thread of irritation and anger in her, an understandable chip on her shoulder, without ever falling into any kind of Angry Disabled Person trope She s got a rich well of passions and skills that flesh her out, without falling into any kind of Magically Perfect Disabled Person trope She s well executed and realistic, and it makes her easy to root for she s deaf, but that s not all she is.Iris also makes a great in to the stories contained within the book the story of different deaf people operating in different ways within a hearing world, the story of a whale who wants to be heard and known, the story of a family grieving and a woman wanting to live again, stories of science and technology and friendship and exploration Iris natural curiosity and spirit provide a good window into these tangled bits of people s lives in a really organic way, with Iris always remaining the central focus, but not the lone focus.Readers will find a story of growth and connection that is thoroughly engaging and easily readable Song for a Whale succeeds in letting in readers who may not be familiar with anyone deaf or hearing impaired, without ever using deafness as a gimmick or condescending to the audience The book as a whole is a good example of why middle grade books can be so enduring in our reading lives, and make such good tools for developing empathy and curiosity Ha This is a bit funny considering the subject of the book is a whale who can t hit the right notes I swear I didn t plan this as some sort of godawful punnish thing, but here we are. 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 Hertz Blue 55 can t communicate with other whales because his song is on a different frequency than other whales This means he travels alone and is never able to connect with others, yet he keeps singing his song hoping someone will respond back one day.Iris feels such a strong connection with Blue 55 that she is determined to produce a song on his frequency and have the animal sanctuary play it back for him But nothing is ever quite that easy when your 12 years old.This story also focused on the life of a deaf person and how they see and understand the world I ve always wanted to take a sign language class Over the years I have picked up a few signs while working with many non verbal preschoolers.This book is for anyone that loves animals or has ever struggled to fit in their part of the world I loved it I will definitely be checking out Chained next. This review and many can be found on my blog Feed Your Fiction AddictionThis 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 issue, Blue 55, who can t communicate with other whales, she makes it her mission in life to let him know there s someone out there who understands him I connected to Iris right away, even when I didn t always love her actions and responses she treats a well meaning but overenthusiastic and somewhat boorish hearing classmate pretty poorly an issue I wish had been resolved a bit better in the book Her friendship with the hearing girl that she meets on her trip to Alaska is wonderful and helps give Iris a bit of perspective well it was one of my favorite relationships in the book And I was actually surprised at how much science was woven into this story I learned quite a bit about whales, sound, and oceanography One negative Iris and her grandmother lie to Iris s parents when they set off on their journey and leave them worrying about what might be happening I could understand this for child, but the grandmother s actions seemed wholly irresponsible to me and there aren t any real consequences for that or even much discussion about it, which felt strange maybe we re supposed to assume those conversations took place outside of Iris s hearing But this felt like a relatively minor detail compared to all the wonderful aspects of the book, so I didn t dwell on that issue for long.While I can t speak directly to the Deaf representation in the book I do have a Deaf uncle who taught me aspects of the culture, but I m by no means an expert , it s obvious that the author s connection to the Deaf community is deep and that she has an understanding of what deafness in a hearing world can be like Obviously, there are many different Deaf experiences, and this is just an illustration of one possible experience, but it seems authentic, at least to me own voices reviews would be a great place to look for guidance on that Overall, I highly recommend this oneDisclosure I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own 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 .Free Pdf ⚉ Song for a Whale ♴ In The Spirit Of Modern Day Classics LikeFish In A Tree And Counting By S Comes 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 HimFrom 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, Then You Know How Hard That Can BeWhen She Learns About Blue , A Real Whale Who Is Unable To Speak To Other Whales, Iris Understands How He Must Feel Then She Has An Idea She Should Invent A Way To Sing To Him But He S Three Thousand Miles Away How Will She Play Her Song For Him Full Of Heart And Poignancy, This Affecting Story By Sign Language Interpreter Lynne Kelly Shows How A Little Determination Can Make Big Waves Fascinating, Brave, And Tendera Triumph Katherine Applegate, Newbery Award Winning Author Of The One And Only Ivan Beautifully Written And Such An Important Story For Kids With Big Struggles In Their Lives I Fell Into Iris S World From The First Chapter Lynne Kelly Does An Amazing Job Telling The Story From Iris S Perspective Millicent Simmonds, Actress, Wonderstruck And A Quiet Place Quick Moving, Suspensefulthis Remains A Satisfying, Energetic Read Iris Adventures Will Engross ReadersKirkus Reviews This Finely Crafted Novel Affectingly Illuminates Issues Of Loneliness, Belonging, And The Power Of Communication Publishers Weekly 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 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 antique radios and sells them to a local shop Iris feels isolated and alone though because unlike the other students at her school Iris is deaf One day in school she learns about a whale named Blue 55 who is swimming through the ocean alone unable to communicate with other whales Iris instantly feels a connection to this whale who feels like nobody hears him, and sets out to create a way to help him What follows is an adventure full of innovation, risk taking, and healing..For my full thoughts and review head over to my IGTV channel to watch my video review on Song For A Whale bookmama789 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 about Deaf culture the author is an interpreter for deaf children in schools. 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 some fire in her But she s also very, very lonely She is a Deaf tween in a hearing family, who goes to a hearing school, whose only Deaf influence is her grandmother and only friend, Wendell Her isolation and loneliness are palpable but after reading about Blue 55, a whale who struggles to communicate at the same frequency as other whales, Iris feels a kinship with it With the help of her Grandma whose relationship with Iris was one of my favourite parts of the book and her exceptional electronics skills, they set off on an adventure to help the whale Through this compelling and touching story, Kelly weaves information about Deaf culture information that may be new to many hearing readers Topics include the limited ASL skills of some hearing family members, Deaf poetry, different groups within the deaf community and Deaf pride Overall, this was a good middle school read about a spunky girl who just so happens to be Deaf Her deafness didn t limit or define who she is as a person and I loved that And while the ending was a little too surreal for me, I think Middle School readers will eat it up This is a good coming of age story with a dash of adventure that has important messages about inclusion, understanding and the importance of familial bonds.Note I highly recommend reading the author s notes at the back of the book for information about Deaf culture.