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Books Help Teach Empathy Through Stories. This Is One Such Book

My association with books as a reader has always been the luxury of travelling across the world from the comfort of my reading chair without having to worry about visas on my passport. This book transformed what reading means to me as a reader.

I don't know of anyone personally who is hearing impaired and hence have never ever given it a second thought. Then this book found its way to my hands thanks to Kahaani Box .

The Beginning

The first few chapters pulled me in to the silent world in which Iris, the protagonist lives in. Iris cannot hear and needs to communicate with everyone in sign language. For those around her, sign language is a skill that they need to learn to be able to communicate with her. In her family, her mother is well conversant with sign language having born to deaf parents. She learnt sign language much before she learn to talk. Iris's father on the other hand finds it difficult to grasp the language and often has trouble understanding his daughter and communicating with her. Iris many a time feels that her father did not try hard enough to learn the sign language and often gets irritated when he fails to understand her. Iris has an older brother, Tristian who is of big support to her. He isn't deaf but is fairly comfortable with sign language. Iris attends a school where there are no other deaf children. She has an interpreter who acts as the bridge for all communication purposes. She has trouble making friends and is acutely aware of her disability.

The idea of fixing radios

Iris is passionate about fixing radios. This is what gives her solace in down times. The author's choice of passion/interest for this unusual protagonist is one of the aspects that makes this book a must read. How can someone who cannot hear any sound, fix radios? Iris shows it is possible by feeling vibrations.

The whale in the title

The whale is a silent but extremely important character in the book, without whom this story would not exist and perhaps not be as impactful as it was. The whale in the book is someone who is in a similar situation as Iris. Though he isn't exactly deaf, he is alone in the big wide ocean. He is unable to join the other whales in their pod for a reason.

The reason why this book is a heartwarming read

The author, Lyne Kelly, finds a beautiful way for Iris and the whale to connect. Iris is able to relate to what the whale could be going through and strongly feels the need to reach out and simply let the whale know that he is not alone in the big wide ocean. An absolutely memorable story about how this little girl who cannot hear, does everything she possibly can to reach out to this whale in the endless choppy waters, just to make him feel loved.

Recommended for the 10+ age group


* Song For A Whale was my book recommendation for the month of June. Below are a few recommendations from the young readers. (Names haven't been mentioned to protect privacy)

"Matilda's character in book fascinated me. She loves to read but no one in her family likes to read! The other character that stood out for me in this book is Miss.Trunchbull. Matilda vs this villainous character made this book an enjoyable read for me."- recommended by a 9 year old.

"An incredibly funny read. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. The part that made me want to read this book further was the very funny description of the character Fing" - Recommended by an 8 year old.

"The combination of varied characters, Auggie, the boy with the disfigured face, Julien, the bully, Jack, the friend who seems torn between Auggie and Julien and the confident Summer, made me enjoy this book." - recommended by a 11 year old.

"A squirrel with a 1000 cousins! When I read that I couldn't help wondering what they could do together! They swam across a lake on a raft using their tails as oars to reach the island filled with nuts. There were several parts that read like a funny song and made this book enjoyable for me." - recommended by a 9 year old.

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Both weekday and weekend batches are available at the Young Readers' Club. While this program is for the 8-11 age group, the Young Executives' Club program offers spoken and written communication skills development course for the 12-14 age group.

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