> Skip to content

An award-winning and extraordinary story of a boy who protects a baby orca that locals believe is threatening their livelihood.

An award-winning and extraordinary story of a boy who protects a baby whale that locals believe is threatening their livelihood.


Winner of the Margaret Mahy Book of the Year
New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults 2015


Young Adult Category Winner
New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults 2015


Storylines Notable Young Adult Fiction Award 2015


Will Jackson is hiding out, a city boy reluctantly staying with his uncle in small town New Zealand while he struggles to recover from a brutal attack and the aftermath of a humiliating YouTube clip gone viral.

After he discovers a young abandoned orca whale his life is further thrown into chaos, when he rallies to help protect it against hostile, threatening interests. This threatens to tear apart the small fishing community and forever changes Will’s life.

The boy and the whale develop a special bond, linked by Will's love of singing. With echoes of classic book and film The whalerider this powerful connection is utterly convincing on the page.

An exciting plot-driven story full of drama, tension and romance, this magical book captures both heart and mind to hold the reader enthralled from start to finish. These qualities, along with its lyrical use of language and its compelling and persuasive exploration of many global concerns, makes this a beautifully touching, rich and multi-layered story by an award-winning writer for young adults. Singing Home the Whale will appeal to all readers of high-quality New Zealand fiction.

Reviews

We think this novel would have won in any year it was entered: the decision was unanimous. Mandy Hager is writing out of her skin at present and her understanding of the human condition and human attitudes towards each other and other inhabitants of Planet Earth are beautifully presented. This novel should be compulsory reading in any country that still hunts whales.

Judges' Report, New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults

WHAT AN incredible book. It is a beautifully written, moving and thought-provoking story of a teenager and a whale.

Linda Hall, Hawkes Bay Weekend

Great writing, environmental and ecological issues, contemporary social pressures, unexpected friendships as well as a love interest all point to this story having the power to connect with many readers. Highly recommended.

Bill Nagelkerke, Magpies

The lyrical language was stunning and I immediately found myself in the ocean with the water gliding across my skin . . . A great read!

Judges' Report, LIANZA Children and Young Adult Book Awards

Read More

Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9781775536574

    September 5, 2014

    RHNZ Children's

    336 pages

    RRP $19.99

    Online retailers

    • Fishpond
    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
    • The Warehouse
    • Whitcoulls
    • The Nile
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at www.booksellers.co.nz/directory

  • EBook

    9781775536581

    September 5, 2014

    RHNZ Children’s ebooks

    352 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks NZ
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Google Play
    • Kobo
    • Booktopia NZ
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at www.booksellers.co.nz/directory

Awards and Recognition

  • New Zealand Book Awards for Children & Young Adults
    2015
    Winner
    Winner of the Young Adult Category of the New Zealand Book Awards for Children & Young Adults
  • New Zealand Book Awards for Children & Young Adults
    2015
    Winner
    Book of the Year
  • Storylines Notable Young Adult Fiction Award
    2015
    Awarded
    Storylines Notable Young Adult Fiction Award for Singing Home the Whale
  • LIANZA Children and Young Adult Book Awards
    2015
    Finalist
    Shortlisted for the Young Adult Category of the LIANZA Children and Young Adult Book Awards
  • IBBY Honour Award
    2016
    Nominated
    IBBY Honour Award

Also by Mandy Hager

Heloise
Dear Vincent
The Nature of Ash
Resurrection
Into the Wilderness
The Crossing
Smashed

Recommendations

The Wee Free Men
Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons series)
Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life
Ranger's Apprentice 4: Oakleaf Bearers
Scarface Claw
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
Juliet, Nearly a Vet collection 1
Our Australian Girl: The Rose Stories
Grimsdon
Alice-Miranda At School 1
Charlie And The Great Glass Elevator
One Very Tired Wombat
Midnight Jewel
Library Of Souls
Trash
Camp Half-Blood Confidential
Noughts & Crosses
If I Stay
Inheritance
Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda