Back in August, I saw my first ever whale in nature. I cried. It was that amazing. I sat on the shore and tears just happened. Tears of joy and awe and wow. I shared the experience along with a list of picture books about whales (I am kind of obsessed) in a blog post: I wanted to see a whale
The first comment I received was from someone else thrilled by a whale sighting – debut picture book author – Cheryl Lawton Malone. Her book Dario and the Whale will be released in March 2016 by Albert Whitman publishing. It was inspired by what she calls “an experience of a lifetime” -a sighting of a juvenile North Atlantic right whale just fifteen feet or so off the beach in Provincetown, MA.
What a pleasure it is for me to reveal the cover of her book here!
Also wonderful? Sharing a F & G version of this picture book with my class. They were amazed that they were the first class of kids to experience this book! And it allowed it to be “kid tested” which in my opinion is the true measure of a book’s power. 🙂
This book is about the connection between a young boy, Dario and a whale he befriends on the beach. Dario is from Brazil and has traveled to Cape Cod with his mother who has a job as a cook in a restaurant. Dario is new to this community and speaks mostly Portuguese. The first friend that Dario makes is a right whale calf traveling to Cape Cod shores during its migration with its mother. Beautiful moments of connection happen between Dario and his whale. Some of the most powerful pages in the book happen when time seems to slow right down as Dario and his whale see each other.
Illustrations by Bistra Masseva are lovely. My favourite page is of the whale calf in the shallow water scanning the beach for Dario. The whale looking for his boy.
A story of friendship, of belonging and powerful connection. These kinds of experiences with nature are awe inspiring – how special to suggest their possibility to a room full of children.
My students loved it! In fact, after we finished reading it, three students came up to me and gave me a hug. There was lots of emotion in the room!
Some of their comments:
“I wish this book was real!”
“Dario and the whale are both trying to make friends.”
“Hey! They are copying each other! The boy and the whale. They are kind of the same.”
“Anyways, because they’re probably going to be friends together.”
“I like the part when they have great friendship.”
“I wish I could have this book at my home.”
“Wait – how do they play with each other?”
“It looks like the whale is smiling.”
“I like the part when they get nice together and become friends.”
“They are connecting.”
“Ms. Gelson, I really like this book.”