The best books about humpback whales 📚

Browse the best books on humpback whales as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of Trapped! A Whale's Rescue

Trapped! A Whale's Rescue

By Robert Burleigh, Wendell Minor

Why this book?

This nonfiction book tells an individual animal’s story in a compelling way. The author’s spare, lyrical language makes the reader truly feel this whale’s panicked efforts to free herself from discarded netting left in the ocean by fishermen. The...whale spirals sideways as spidery lines tighten around her. I had to read on! I won’t spoil it for you, but I was cheering at the end. Trapped! A Whale’s Rescue, beautifully illustrated by Wendell Minor, helps readers of all ages understand the impact of human activity on many ocean-dwelling animals. Independent readers will love the detailed back matter about…

From the list:

The best children’s books about interesting animals

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Book cover of A 52-Hertz Whale

A 52-Hertz Whale

By Bill Sommer, Natalie Haney Tilghman

Why this book?

After I had published my book, I found out about this interesting book written by two people who had also gone through the same MFA program as me – the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University. Bill Sommer and Natalie Tilghman covered similar topics of young people coming of age by finding connection through nature. A 52-Hertz Whale has an intriguing structure as well – it’s told through a set of conversational emails. The main character is obsessed with whales and when a whale’s life goes awry, he feels unmoored and reaches out for connection to someone who…

From the list:

The best YA books on the autistic experience/outsider experiences

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Book cover of Last Song of the Whales

Last Song of the Whales

By Four Arrows

Why this book?

It is a fiction based on facts about whales and about what Four Arrows believes they are trying to tell us regarding the pollution of the Oceans that threatens us all. A whale captures a marine biologist and his encounter, feeling almost biblical but very current, reveals their important message to humanity. In this very dramatic story, you’ll also find an ecological treatise, and a call to action so needed at this time.

From the list:

The best book on consciousness and what dolphins and wise humans know about it

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Book cover of The Fragile Edge: Diving and Other Adventures in the South Pacific

The Fragile Edge: Diving and Other Adventures in the South Pacific

By Julia Whitty

Why this book?

The relationship between ourselves and the sea is commonly constrained by beaches and tides. But Julia Whitty, deep-sea diver, and filmmaker opens the mind to the richness of deep waters through the scientific and soulful journeys she poetically shares in this book. Her time spent working in the South Pacific allows an expansion of our own experiences of the wild world. The delicate relationships of life’s many forms, from whales and sharks to rays and coral, contained within Earth’s liquid artistry, offers an opportunity to enrich our understanding of connections we seldom perceive but which, once acknowledged, expand the perception…
From the list:

The best books on fieldwork in wild places

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Book cover of Watching Giants: The Secret Lives of Whales

Watching Giants: The Secret Lives of Whales

By Elin Kelsey, Doc White, Francois Gohier

Why this book?

Kelsey is a mother, a scientist, and a writer and her revelations of the lives of whales, are woven expertly between these critical roles. Watching Giants is an intimate story, immersing readers in a mysterious watery world. Kelsey dives deep, sharing knowledge and detailed observations of these vulnerable species. 

I read Watching Giants whilst researching my own picture books and her experiences have stayed with me. Her gentle words and scientific insights reveal new perspectives on the lives of these ever gentle giants.

From the list:

The best books to discover the story of endangered species

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Book cover of Fathoms: The World in the Whale

Fathoms: The World in the Whale

By Rebecca Giggs

Why this book?

Fathoms is a remarkable narrative about the human relationship with whales, and how our understanding of that relationship lends insight to both the human condition, the state of the oceans, and of course, the survival of whales. While reading Fathoms you will learn a great deal about how you perceive nature, and how whales are a barometer for that insight. You will experience both the compassion and savagery of humanity, and you will ponder questions about the meaning of life. Fathoms is wide-ranging, and includes great insights about how technology changes our relationship to the natural world, and our understanding…

From the list:

The best books for deep environmental learning

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