Lynne Kelly Song for a Whale
Q&A with Lynne Kelly, author of Song for a Whale

Belonging and communication are two themes at the heart of Lynne Kelly’s newest tale, Song for a Whale, and the audiobook, read by Abigail Revasch, is a poignant listen that will tug at the heartstrings of all ages.

To delve a little deeper behind this fantastic story, we were really happy to hear from Lynne herself!

Which book was your first book love and why?
I was always a reader, and I know Charlotte’s Web was an early favorite. Probably because I wanted to be friends with all those animals! One that stands out even more vividly, though, is James and the Giant Peach. It was a read-aloud by my fourth-grade teacher, Mrs. Shields. Every reading session ended too soon, and I couldn’t wait to hear the next chapter and find out what was happening in the adventure. It’s what I looked forward to most during the school day.

What elements of or characters in Song for a Whale did you especially love writing?
I loved writing the chapters that were from the whale’s point of view, though they were challenging because I wanted them to be concise and poetic. Maybe because I always want to know what animals are thinking, I enjoyed getting into his head and figuring out what he was going through. And Grandma turned out to be more fun than I thought she’d be! In an earlier draft she was sort of along for the ride, not very active. She’s much better as a co-conspirator on the journey.

Since Song for a Whale has a connection between humans and animals at its heart, what was the first animal (or pet) you remember having a connection with?
It’s a wonder that I love animals, because the first connection I remember was terrifying! When I was four my older brother got a pet duckling. He was an adorable duckling, but when he grew up he used to attack me every time I stepped outside. I swear he’d seek me out; I’d check that the coast was clear and venture out to play, and pretty soon Dudley would come flying and squawking over to bite me. I’d get him to stop by grabbing his bill, but then what? I had a honking flapping duck in my hand. Finally my parents sent him to my Uncle John’s farm, where Dudley embarked on his new career, terrorizing cattle. After defiling the shoes of a farm inspector, Dudley was sent to live out his remaining days at a juvenile detention center.

I found out years later that he’d been acquired by less-than-legal means. I suspect he was taken from his mother too early and thus didn’t learn to properly duck.

More pleasant memories come from my first dog, Spike, a hilarious and lazy bulldog. He was a great soccer player and would climb up into our tree house to hang out with us, but had to be carried down.

Whose voice (audiobook narrator, singer, writer, or other) makes you swoon?
I miss Alan Rickman’s voice! I’d read every Terms and Conditions before clicking “Accept” if either he or James Earl Jones would read them to me.

What’s your favorite romantic or heart-happy movie?
My Best Friend’s Wedding always cracks me up, and I love that it doesn’t have the perfect ending that the character wants.

What is your comfort food when you have a broken heart?
Homemade oatmeal chocolate-chip cookies can make any day better.

Discover more about Song for a Whale:

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. When she learns about Blue 55, 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?

“Fascinating, brave, and tender…a 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