Quoteable Quotes: Song for a Whale

Something about this book just connected with me! I really loved the emotion that Lynn Kelly puts into this book.


I pulled out some of my favorite quotes and thought I’d collect them in a blog post.

“Some people have the kind of confidence that lets them get away with being clueless.” pg. 6

“But it’s different for us,’ Grandpa signed. ‘Out here, there’s more light, and all we need is our own small spaces to feel at home. Sometimes it takes time to figure things out. But you’ll do it. You’ll find a way.” p. 4

“Blue 55 didn’t have a pod of friends or a family who spoke his language. But still he sang.” p. 15

“They communicated to one another past him, through him, across him. Like he was a coral reef or a kelp forest they passed by. But he heard all of it.” p. 16

“Sound moves. If it’s strong enough, it can move anything. Its waves can break glass  or shake the ground or deafen a whale.” p 30

“For me, listening to the radios was never the point. Each one of those sitting on my shelves was a reminder of something I’d done right.” p. 31

“We might never find out why whales sing, but as a scientist I’m always thinking and looking for answers.” p. 57

“The best way to learn how something works is to take it apart and put it back together.” p 67

“This was more important than any class.” p. 83

“The whale,’ Tristan signed “I know you don’t like to leave things broken. Make sure that’s not the reason you want to do this. You can’t go in there and fix him like he’s a radio.” p 188

“If he had remained quiet, would they have let him stay? For a time he did hold onto his song, then he revealed it little by little as his trust grew. The more he sang, the farther they drifted from him.” p 110

“People where were desperate to communicate always find a way.” p 121

“I know this is dumb, but sometimes I wonder about that planet if I had a way of finding it, I’d go.” p 139

“The memory of a whale is long and deep.” p. 178

“He pushed back swimming harder, until the dark swallowed him. The depths were emptier, darker, quieter. Yet less lonely, because there was no one to answer his calls with silence.” p 178

“For the first time I was happy that a plan of mine failed, so I could be right there with Grandma.” p. 205

“If they could play like this every day, at least for a little while, he wouldn’t be so lonely, but dolphins never stayed long.” p 207

“Anyway, I was just thinking I’m kind of like that planet. I was on one path, and something knocked me onto a new one. I’m still going.” p 250.


#bookaday day 6 (slm)

MS Post


It’s no secret that our kids are fascinated by World War II. Resistance by Jennifer Nielsen tells about Chaya and her involvement in different resistance groups. Because she looks more Polish than Jewish, she is able to smuggle supplies into the ghetto in Krakow. Then after a failed mission, she is crossing the Polish countryside going to Łodź to Warsaw. She then ends up involved in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.



The book is well paced out and our kids really seem to be enjoying it. One cool monument that connects with this book is the Memorial to the Evacuation of the Warsaw Ghetto.

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This is a book we dove into last year with 7th and 8th grade social studies because we were able to join in on a livestream with the author. Here’s the activity we used to prepare for it. This is one of my favorite books, and I know my ELA teachers agree.


Here is the book trailer for the book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyswtDUSKUI


Basically, this book tells the story of 4 different teens. Joana is a Lithuania girl with nurse training, Emilia is a Pole who has dealt with some serious trauma, Florian is a Prussian who has a secret mission, and Alfred is a Nazi. They all end up onboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, which is the largest maritime disaster in history.
This book is incredibly well paced and a really great read! If you listen to youtube interviews with Ruta Sepetys, her motivation is so interesting.  Salt to the Sea and Between Shades of Gray are trying to spotlight moments that may not get told. They have been showing screenings of Between Shades of Gray (which is put out as Ashes in the Snow because…well you know…), they asked Lithuanians high school students  who knew someone who had been deported to Siberia. Every hand in the auditorium was raised. These works are creating powerful conversations around the world.

#bookaday day 5 (slm)

MS Blog Post


We’re going to finish our week with a unique read! Ransom Riggs mixes creepy photos that he’s collected over the year’s with a story that keeps you on the edge of our seat. 


Jake has always heard his grandfather talk about living in an orphanage because of the monsters. Most of us assume that it’s a metaphor for the Nazi’s but it turns out that grandpa was fighting real monsters and now they’re after Jake.


Our kids love this book because of the creepy photo, action, and unique characters.In addition to having several copies of this, we also have the whole series!

#bookaday day 4 (slm)

MS Blog Post


Today’s title brings us some nonfiction! The Red Bandanna (Young Readers Edition) is the story of Welles Crowther who saved several lives on September 11th. This story is told through interviews with his family and people who he saved.

HS Blog Post


Today, we’re looking at some nonfiction by the great Temple Grandin. This book is a book of projects, BUT it goes into detail about Grandin’s thought process when she completed these activities as a child. Some activities are STEM experiments, but several force you to look at the project from a new angle (like the AMES window and AMES room).



#bookaday Day 3 (slm)

MS Blog


In our building, we know that several of our students have heavy issues going on. Several of you are working to try and use trauma informed instruction to try and do what you can to meet the needs of our kids and this book tells the story of six of these kids.


Six kids are placed in the Art room with the challenge to talk and share their stories. All of these students are dealing with heavy issues (death of a parent, parent who is incarcerated, racial issues, deportation, and more.) This quickly becomes a safe space for the kids and they really try and lean on each other and more importantly, protect one another.


One thing I love about this book is that the kids are learning to figure these issues out themselves. Yes, they know where to find their safe adults, but part of books with heavy issues is trying to figure out how to navigate the issues that life is going to keep throwing at them.


HS Blog


In addition to April being School Library Month, it is also Poetry Month! So I really wanted to feature my favorite book of poetry from this year. It is a super short 10 minute read, but it just motivates you to keep trying.


Basically this is a letter For Everyone. Jason Reynolds is trying to tell people that it doesn’t matter what time frame you fall into, to keep dreaming and keep working.

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#bookaday day 2 (SLM)

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Happy #bookaday for school library month! I love that we work in a building that builds a culture of reading! As I’m planning out these posts, most of the MS and HS posts are all of books that teachers have been sharing and discussing with each other.


With all the popularity of Mary Poppins, it’s sometimes interesting to dive into the history of that time period. Bert the Chimney Sweep is a important part of the movie, but there’s more to Chimney Sweeps than singing and dancing. In the book Sweep, Nan is working for a Chimney Sweep. One day, she’s in a chimney and gets stuck. One of the boys on her crew lites a fire under her, and luckily she’s saved by a Golem. She’s not sure what it is, so now she’s trying to understand her new friend and figure out what their future holds.



The writing in this book is just beautiful. It is a historical fantasy that is just brilliant!

HS Blog


Happy #bookaday for school library month! I was pumped with the positive responses from yesterday’s post. Today’s post will cover a book from my teen years AND one that came out last year AND one that came out last month. It’s not that I intended for this one to be about multiple books, but I can’t talk about one without the other (and since Shout came out less than a month ago, it’s still on Angie’s to be ordered list).



Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson is a National Book Award Finalist that is one of the defining books of my generation. Every time an anniversary of this book’s publication rolls around, they do a fundraiser for RAINN and try and make a real world impact. Speak is the story of a girl finding her voice and navigating her first year of HS after a rape.


Speak: The Graphic Novel was published last year, and is just as powerful as the original novel.


Shout came out last month and several MS teachers have been passing it around to each other because (a) it’s just amazing and (b) the poetry is just so thoughtful! Most of Anderson’s work bring a visceral reaction and this books gives you a lot to chew on. It is written in free verse poetry and is her  biography. A few years back Anderson spoke at Bradford and she talks about how she writes for teens because her teen years were so hard.


If you haven’t explored any of her work, check it out!

#bookaday for SLM (day 1)

I’m sharing super short book reviews through email with teachers in my building and in the HS during school library month. I’m also going to share them here.

MS post          


Happy school library month! Because you always need resources for sharing fabulous books with you students, I’ll be sharing some AMAZING books with you to talk about with your students! Later on, we’ll give you a chance to share, and more importantly, win some books and Scholastic credit.


Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus has been one of my favorite books of the year! I really and truly believe it will be the next Wonder. Poor Jess has had to listen to me geek about this book for about a year! Her kids will be diving into it this month!


Aven is born without arms, and her parents are trying to foster independence to prevent her from behaving like “the queen of Sheba.” Because of this, she is pretty good at making things work…and then the family moves for her dad’s job. Everyone is staring at her at the new school and it’s hard to find a friend. Eventually she befriends Connor who has Tourette’s and struggles to manage his tics. Now, Aven is trying to give Connor the tools to be more independent and they are trying to solve a mystery at a local amusement park!


HS post


Happy school library month! Because you always need resources for sharing fabulous books with you students, I’ll be sharing some AMAZING books with you to talk about with your students! I know that I’m not YOUR librarian, but I have some YA titles that I am really pumped about that are more HS. Later on this month, we’ll give you a chance to share, and more importantly, win some books and ARCs.


One of the National Book Award Finalists for this year was Hey Kiddo. Even though the book was a finalist for a prestigious award, it’s an incredibly accessible and an easy and fast read. This is a graphic biography of Jarrett Krosoczka’s life. His mom was in jail, his dad was not in the picture and he was raised by his grandparents.


I know several of the special education teachers in our building just finished reading this and remarked how they feel like several of our students will feel SEEN in this book. Even though it has heavy moments, Jarrett has several good things in his life that balance out his inconsistency with his mother.  I know several of you are working to be the good things in our kids life to balance out inconsistencies in our kids lives.


Here’s a quick video of his art process, just because it’s fascinating.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXgVQozEZTM