Maybe A Whale

Kirsten Pendreigh, and illustrated by Crystal Smith
Publisher: Groundwood Books Ltd.


Book Description

After Grandpa dies, a girl and her mother take the trip he had planned for her, kayaking along the Pacific west coast to look for the whales that he loved.

The trip will do them good, Mom says, but the girl isn’t sure. How can that be true when Grandpa isn’t there? And how will they find a whale in all that water, anyway?

There is so much to see as they paddle through white-tipped waves and calm coves: glowing moon jellies, fluttering anemones and slippery seals. All the while, the girl watches for whales. Could one be swimming beneath their kayak or along the shore of their camp? Are the whales even there? 

Finally, in the dark of night, they hear them — pushhhhhhhh, pushhhhhhh — humpbacks breathing in the bay. 

In this lyrical story, luminously illustrated by Crystal Smith, mom and daughter find the space to grieve Grandpa and reconnect with each other in the wild beauty of nature. And they come to realize that — perhaps like whales — those we’ve loved are always with us, even if we don’t see them anymore.

Author Bio

Kirsten Pendreigh is a children’s author and poet from Vancouver, BC. Her books celebrate our early instincts to care for the plants and creatures that share our planet. She is the author of Luna’s Green Pet, illustrated by Carmen Mok. Kirsten’s poems can be found in Canadian literary magazines and in Best Canadian Poetry 2021. Formerly a CBC and NPR journalist, Kirsten also writes non-fiction for children.

Illustrator Bio

Crystal Smith is the daughter of a lighthouse keeper who discovered her passion for wildlife when she was small. She illustrates the natural world to spark curiosity and wonder, kindle concern and illuminate issues. She has also illustrated Mother Aspen, written by Annette LeBox. Crystal currently lives in Victoria, BC.