Author(s): Mandy Hager
An extraordinary story of a boy who protects a baby whale that locals believe is threatening their livelihood.
Will Jackson is hiding out, a city boy reluctantly staying with his uncle in small town New Zealand while he struggles to recover from a brutal attack and the aftermath of a humiliating YouTube clip gone viral.
After he discovers a young abandoned orca whale his life is further thrown into chaos, when he rallies to help protect it against hostile, threatening interests. This threatens to tear apart the small fishing community and forever changes Will's life. The boy and the whale develop a special bond, linked by Will's love of singing.
With echoes of classic book and film The Whalerider this powerful connection is utterly convincing on the page. An exciting plot-driven story full of drama, tension and romance, this magical book captures both heart and mind to hold the reader enthralled from start to finish. These qualities, along with its lyrical use of language and its compelling and persuasive exploration of many global concerns, makes this a beautifully touching, rich and multi-layered story by an award-winning writer for young adults. Singing Home the Whale will appeal to all readers of high-quality New Zealand fiction.
Singing Home the Whale is a lovely and heart-warming book. It is essentially a coming-of-age story about a boy named Will who has to move to a tiny village in the Pelorus Sound, where he befriends a baby orca. In order to save the orca from a cruel salmon farmer, he enlists the help of a farmer’s son, his second cousin Pania, his uncle and the local Maori tribe. He eventually steals a boat from the farmer and uses his opera singing skills to make the orca follow him out through the Marlborough Sounds to the rest of its pod, which is where the title comes from. The chapters alternate between Will’s and the whale’s point of view - Will’s tell the actual story and the whale’s are poetic comments about their lives and about humanity in general. While not the type of book I would typically pick up, I found Singing Home the Whale very sweet and I think that Will’s struggles with making new friends in a tiny New Zealand town will be relatable to many teenagers today. - Jemima (17)
Finalist: New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults 2015
Winner, Senior Fiction Award, NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults 2015.
Winner, Margaret Mahy Book of the Year 2015.
Mandy Hager has been awarded the Katherine Mansfield Menton fellowship for 2014, and she was the 2012 recipient of the New Zealand Society of Authors Beatson Fellowship. She won the Esther Glen Award for Fiction for her YA novel Smashed and Best Young Adult Book in the NZ Post Book Awards 2010 for The Crossing. The Nature of Ash won the LIANZA YA Fiction Award in 2013 and was shortlisted for the 2013 NZ Post Children's Book Awards. Hager has a MA in Creative Writing from Victoria University and an Advanced Diploma in Applied Arts (Writing) from Whitireia Community Polytechnic, where she now works as a tutor and mentor. She lives with her partner on the Kapiti Coast. She has written novels for adults and young adults, short stories, scripts, and non-fiction resources for young people. See more at www.mandyhager.com, and on her facebook page.