Book cover of Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly
Fiction Book Reviews

Children’s Fiction | Song for a Whale | Lynne Kelly

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We have something a little different for you today … not one but two reviews for Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly.

Alice-Jane and Laura are sharing their thoughts today. Enjoy!

Book cover of Song for a Whale by Lynn Kelly

Iris was born deaf, but she’s never let that define her; after all, it’s the only life she’s ever known. And until recently she wasn’t even very lonely, because her grandparents are both deaf, too. But Grandpa has just died and Grandma’s not the same without him. The only place Iris really feels at home anymore is in her electronics workshop where she loves taking apart antique radios.

Then, during a science lesson about sound waves, Iris finds out about a whale who is unable to communicate with other whales. The lonely whale awakens something in Iris. She’s determined to show him that someone in the world knows he’s there.

Iris works on a foolproof plan to help the whale but she soon realises that that is not enough: Iris wants to find the whale herself.

One stolen credit card, two cruise ship tickets, and the adventure of a lifetime later, Iris and the whale each break through isolation to help one another be truly heard in ways that neither had ever expected.

A stirring and heart-warming tale of a young deaf girl who is determined to make a difference, the perfect read for fans of Wonder.

Song for a Whale is published by Piccadilly Press 5th February 2019 and is available to purchase in digital, hardcover and paperback formats.


This charming and endearing story has a such a powerful theme of language, family and loneliness, that really makes the reader focus on the need for communication.

For Iris her desire and compulsion to ‘talk’ to the lone whale Blue 55, is driven by her own difficulties with a language breakdown between her family and school friends. 

Yet her knowledge of acoustics and determination of mind to break the barriers of sound and communication allows for Iris and her family to discover how her deafness is not a limitation, but just another gift for seeing the world from a different perspective.

I would thoroughly recommend this story, for all its heart-warming detail! 

Alice-Jane guest reviewer on Jera's Jamboree

A beautiful book. The gorgeous front cover is enticing and the story is touching and thought-provoking.

Iris, a twelve-year-old deaf girl struggles with school but has an incredible talent for fixing radio’s. With hearing parents, Iris find it difficult to communicate with her father and misses her special bond with her deaf grandfather.

Her teacher introduces her to Blue 55, a whale who is unable to communicate with other whales. She decides she can help Blue 55 by recording a special song that he can hear at 55 hertz. Her desire to help leads to an adventure with her grandmother.

I enjoyed this book as Iris is not always seen in a great light, at school she is mean to a girl for signing the wrong signs, rather than feeling pleased a friend is trying to communicate.

A sweet tale, full of emotions and a lovely message of family, identity and belonging.

Jera's Jamboree

Find out about Lynne Kelly’s inspiration for Song for a Whale in her Q&A with Publishers Weekly.

Connect with Lynne Kelly


Twitter @LynneKelly


Read all posts in children’s fiction on Jera’s Jamboree.

I've been blogging about my interests at Jera's Jamboree for 8+ years. My love of reading, crocheting and being out in nature are all things that help me unwind from my role as an Inclusion Lead in a primary school. I'm passionate about early help and sharing strategies with families to empower and help build resilience. I'm a member of of my Local Authority's Early Help Operational Board, working alongside other professionals to instigate change and growth.

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