#KIDSBOOK On Sunday, September 24th at 3pm, join Massy Arts, Massy Books and Groundwood Books for the launch of Maybe a Whale by Kirsten Pendreigh with illustrator Crystal Smith.
We’ll read from the book, share the magic of whale sounds and nighttime camping on the West Coast and make some whale crafts together with insights into Crystal’s amazing illustrations! Cake and refreshments will be provided. Hope to see you there!
About the book
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.
About the author
Kirsten Pendreigh is a poet and children’s author from Vancouver. Her children’s books celebrate our early instincts to care for the plants and creatures that share our planet. LUNA’S GREEN PET, about a girl who raises a houseplant as a pet, was a Quill & Quire Book of the Year. MAYBE A WHALE, about a child discovering the healing power of nature on a kayak trip, was a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection. Kirsten’s first nonfiction for children, WHEN A TREE FALLS, comes out in 2025. Kirsten’s poems are found in Canadian literary magazines and anthologies including Best Canadian Poetry 2021. One of her poems will be riding the bus this fall as part of Poetry In Transit.
About the illustrator
Crystal illustrates the natural world to spark curiosity and wonder, kindle concern, and illuminate issues. She is the daughter of a lighthouse keeper and started life on a tiny island in the middle of the ocean, where groceries were delivered by helicopter and trips to town meant riding with the Coast Guard. She’s still an island girl —just on a bigger island now— off the coast of BC Canada.
Crystal has a BFA in Visual Arts and works on fine art, illustration projects for environmental groups and other clients, and has another children’s book coming out from Groundwood Books 2024.