Sound Wave Whale

Purchase Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly at Bookmarks.

In the spirit of modern-day classics like Fish in a Tree and Counting by 7s comes the Schneider Family Book Award-winning story of a deaf girl’s connection to a whale whose song can’t be heard by his species, and the journey she takes to help him.

From fixing the class computer to repairing old radios, twelve-year-old Iris is a tech genius. But she’s the only deaf person in her school, so people often treat her like she’s not very smart. If you’ve ever felt like no one was listening to you, then you know how hard that can be.

When she learns about Blue 55, a real whale who is unable to speak to other whales, Iris understands how he must feel. Then she has an idea: she should invent a way to “sing” to him! But he’s three thousand miles away. How will she play her song for him?

Full of heart and poignancy, this affecting story by sign language interpreter Lynne Kelly shows how a little determination can make big waves.

An excellent book to share with middle grade students when also learning about sound waves. In addition to incorporating science, students will gain appreciation for deaf culture and will open opportunities for great classroom or book club discussions on lonliness and belonging. Tying in sound waves, we will design our own origami paper to create a paper whale like the one Iris carries with her.


  • 6 x 6 inch sheet of lightweight white copy paper
  • pencil
  • eraser
  • markers
  • scissors
  • glue stick


click images for larger view

  • Blue 55 is unable to speak to other whales due to the frequency of his sound waves – 55 hertz compared to other whales that have a pitch in a 10 – 39 hertz range. We will use sound waves to create an abstract design on paper.
  • On a 6 x6 inch sheet of lightweight copy paper, draw soundwaves, repeating the pattern. 
  • On a 6 x6 inch sheet of lightweight copy paper, use a pencil to draw soundwaves, repeating the pattern.
  • Color between the soundwave lines.
  • Click on the video (sidebar on the left) and follow the steps to create an origami whale.
  • Your whale is complete!


  • Make a pod of whales!
  • Research other sound waves to create different abstract designs to use. 


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