The Lost Whale – Hannah Gold

Published By: HarperCollins Children
Pages: 320
Released On: 31/03/2022

What if you could communicate with a whale?

Rio has been sent to live with a grandmother he barely knows in California, while his mum is in hospital back home. Alone and adrift, the only thing that makes him smile is joining his new friend Marina on her dad’s whale watching trips. That is until an incredible encounter with White Beak, a gentle giant of the sea changes everything. But when White Beak goes missing, Rio must set out on a desperate quest to find his whale and somehow save his mum.

Dive into this incredible story about the connection between a boy and a whale and the bond that sets them both free.


By jove she’s done it again (when was the last time someone used the phrase ‘by jove’? I love it!). Her words are like a song, dancing over the page and settling in your soul. They’re just magical.

Once again, I am in love with Levi Pinfold’s illustrations. I’m astounded how real they look, like they could almost be photos, they’re gorgeous. They have so much depth in them and tell a story just in themselves.

Writing about mental health, especially when a child is involved, and not make it a bit wishy-washy is difficult. But Hannah’s managed it perfectly. It is so sensitive and empathetic, not too morbid, but completely real. It’s also a good thing to see the mental health angle from a young boy’s perspective, as they see things differently to the adult who is unwell.

A story which is set around the issue of global warming and environmentalism, could have easily stretched into the preachy. I go to books for escapism, not to be reminded of everyday life and the troubles that plague us. However, she’s found such a good balance that, whilst important, for me, it almost takes a backseat to just the wonder she’s created in this story. But it is clear the importance of helping the ocean. As an individual, you may not feel you’re making a difference. But a team is just people made up of individuals. The world is made up of individuals. And if every individual helped, we could get 8 billion individuals helping, and that just might achieve something.

I have always wanted to go whale watching on a boat. I mean, I’m scared of boats and open water, but just the idea of possibly being able to touch a whale as they come up to say hello is magical beyond words.

I have a few authors who I buy all of their books, people like Jodi Picoult, Matt Haig, Ian McEwan and Sebastian Faulks. And whilst I know her books, for now, are technically children’s books, but Hannah instantly put herself on that list with The Last Bear, and she’s just reinforced that with The Lost Whale.

It made me cry. I am unashamed to say that. The sadness and the anger and the fear, but also the hope and joy and love. The relationships humans and animals could have. And the respect for the ocean. It’s a powerfully emotive book and one I’ll keep with me.

When someone asks “What children’s book would you recommend every adult read?” I would recommend Hannah’s every day of the week.

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