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YA Eco Mysteries, Memoirs, Novels & Travel

26 November 2023

If Whales Could Talk

If Whales Could Talk

Human: Oh, Whale, we love to watch you
Spouting and spy hopping!
Gray Whale: Watching without knowing is not enough.
Human: Oh, Whale tell us what to know.
Gray Whale: Monsters bash us, floating trash chokes us, melting ice kills our food,
slithering snakes snare us.
Human: Oh, whale can you ever forgive us for what we have done?
Whale: Only if you stop the slaughter.

Excerpt from The Gray Whale’s Lament: An Eco Adventure
 We are ancient. We are weathered. We appeared 50 million years ago, long before the first humans. We live in the world’s oceans from the Arctic and Antarctic to the tropical seas around the equator. We are many times larger than any human. They call us mammals, like them. To them we are also monsters of the deep. A few of us have lived for 200 hundred years. Our bodies are scared with messages for humans to decipher. We conserve life on this planet by capturing carbon from the atmosphere. We are beacons of hope for the future.  
    But something has gone wrong. Dead whales have begun washing ashore. I, Natsilane, one of the dead, will speak on their behalf. We mourn the deaths of each member of our family struck by ships, tangled in fishing nets, suffocated by oil and chemical spills, choked by plastic pollution, and starved because of climate change. Some humans enjoy whale watching. They take photos of whales, ignoring our scars, our thinning sides, the spine bones sticking out on our backs. When humans do pause to look at us—really look at us—it is with wonder or pity.

There are so many novels about whales for young readers and for the young at heart. The stories I enjoy most the ones that entertain, intrigue, and educate me. To quote the author of
Moby Dick. “Ignorance is the parent of fear.”—Herman Melvin

My short list of books about whales I have read:

Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly
The Whale Caller by Makes Mda (adult)
People of the Whale: A Novel by Linda Hogan (adult)
The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera (adult)
Ice Whale by Jean Craighead George
A Whale of the Wild by Rosanne Parry

short list of Non fiction:
Fathoms: The World in the Whale by Rebecca Giggss
Spying on Whales by Nick Pyenson

Books I want to read:
Whalefall a novel by Daniel Kraus
No More Fairy Tales: Stories to Save our Planet by Kim Stanley Robinson, Paolo Bacigalupi et. Al.

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