Willa and the Whale by Chad Morris and Shelly Brown
Can a whale talk to a human? Willa thinks so . . .
After losing her mom, Willa is grieving and having a hard time living with her dad and his new family on an island off the coast of Washington State. Her dad tries to cheer her up by taking her whale watching, something Willa's mom used to do.
While all the passengers are on one side of the boat, Willa encounters a humpback whale on the opposite side. Willa feels so lonely that she starts to talk to the whale—and the whale talks back!
The whale, named Meg, quickly becomes a trusted friend and confidante Willa can speak to whenever she's by the ocean.
Meg offers sound advice Willa needs about dealing with a nemesis at school and trying to figure out why her friend Marc is keeping secrets about his family life.
Before the story ends, it will take all of Willa's courage and connections to tackle a problem that's as big as a blue whale!
This is the second book in a row that I've read that has required tissues. So, fair warning to you, have tissues nearby when reading this. It's so good though. Like, bedtime was an hour ago, but I can't bring myself to stop kind of good. When I first started reading the story, it seemed a bit juvenile to me (um yes, because that's who it's aimed it) but it didn't take long at all for me to become engrossed in the story.
I am determined to add "blubberless rectangle watchers" to my vocabulary, because I think it's the most hilarious phrase ever invented. I even dog-eared the page where that was mentioned so I could go back and re-read it. One other part that stuck out to me enough to make me dog-ear the page was when Meg was telling Willa a story and she said "...he couldn't stop asking himself what would happen...if he didn't get involved." That really resonated with me. Instead of not acting out of a fear of what might happen to us, why don't we think more about what might happen (to someone else, or even us) if we DON'T get involved. Definitely a good lesson that we can all learn from.
I'm really looking forward to passing this book on to my kids. I hope they will enjoy it as much as I have.
I wasn’t really sure what to think about this book initially due to the talking whale part. I really felt bad for Willa with everything she had to deal with at such a young age, and the whale talking grew on me. Several relationships were mended or strengthened throughout the story, and Willa found purpose and ways to help her deal with her grief.
This was an enjoyable middle grade read that I’d recommend to my kids. The tidbits about ocean life were fascinating and I couldn’t help but look up pictures/videos about a few things that were mentioned.
Chad Morris and Shelly Brown are a great writing duo. I look forward to reading more from them.
I have been in a reading rut recently, and I just haven't wanted to pick up a book and read it. And honestly, I didn't think a middle grade fiction story would change anything, but holy cow! I loved this book! I was expecting to think that it was ok, and that my kids might like it, but I was pulled into it right away and almost devoured it as soon as I started reading. I will definitely recommend that this is read with a box of tissues near by. I think I love that the issues that Morris and Brown tackle range from super heavy, to hey my kid is going through that right now. And they are tackled in a way that I think would really resonate with a lot of who this book is aimed at. Actually, I think it would resonate with anyone who read this book and is going, or has gone to school. I was so tempted to look up all the ocean creatures that were mentioned, but I was so into the book that I didn't want to stop and get on my phone. I'll have to go back and look things up now that I'm satisfied with the ending and not wondering what all is going to happen.
All in all, this was an excellent book that was entertaining, touching, and well written. I will definitely see if my kids will read this, and I'll suggest it to their friends too.
Title: Willa and the Whale
Author: Chad Morris & Shelly Brown
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Published: March 2020
Source: Advanced reader copy from the publisher. All opinions expressed are our own.
Purchase: Amazon | Deseret Book