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The Lesson That My Young Reading Companions Taught Me

Just like my young reading companions, I like to bring forth books that I have read recently and absolutely loved. Yesterday, my young reading audience brought me so much happiness by being such an enthusiastic audience. They challenged me in multiple ways and we went on an information hunt that helped take this book to a completely new level. Excerpts from our conversations...

Brief about the book

Lynne Kelly in her book Song for A Whale portrays a 12 year old Iris who is hearing impaired. She attends a regular school where she is the only one who cannot hear. She feels alone and many a time finds it incredibly hard to connect with others using sign language.

She strikes an instant connection with a whale who goes by the name Blue 55, whose song is of a very high frequency and is not audible for the other whales. Iris imagines that he too must feel all alone in the ocean and makes it her mission to reach out to him just to say that he is not alone. But how can a 12 year old connect with a whale who could be anywhere in the world's oceans? A book that delivers on some very thought provoking experiences and is loaded with information for someone who is interested in marine biology.

Questions for me from my reading companions

They were incredibly curious to know more about Iris, the protagonist in the book.

When I told them that she loves fixing radios, they wanted to know, "If she can't hear any sounds, how does she know if the radios she fixes are working after all that effort?"

When I told them that she felt sound by feeling vibrations on the speaker, they were in awe.

Looking at the cover, they wanted to know what she was doing on the lonely beach, that to in the dark. I had to say that revealing the information that leads her to that place would mean telling them the entire story and the ending, thus not giving them a chance to experience the book the way I did.

This response was met with groans and more than one voice saying, "Please tell us more.."

Is it a true story?

The whale, Blue 55 in the story is inspired by a real whale whose frequency is 52 Hertz. The author read about him on a Twitter post. He was called as "The Loneliest Whale in The World" as he had a very high frequency which other whales could not understand. The post had such a huge impact on her that Lyne Kelly had to write a story about him. More about how the book came about here.

Whales make sounds to communicate with one another. But how does that sound?

Curious to know, we found an amazing video recordings of a hump whale. Watch here

Our session ended with watching the video on the whales singing. It felt so close to beautiful nature. The fact that there is so much yet for us to learn about the world around us was resonating as we bid one another good bye last evening.

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