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  • Whale Talk

    304 pages by Chris Crutcher


    Reviewed by Dr. Russ Yocum


    Absent the element of hate, a person’s skin color is only an indication of his or her geographical ancestry. But with that element, it is a soul stealer.” (Crutcher, Kindle p. 102 of 289)


    Whale Talk is an excellent exploration of pain and prejudice from the perspectives of victims and abusers.

    T.J. Jones is an athletic high school student of mixed ethnicity who (Japanese, African American, and Caucasian) eschews the typical fraternity of jocks and the racist behavior they display at his school. Although he has learned to deal with a life of constant ridicule due to his differences, T.J. is infuriated when football star Mike Barbour bullies brain-damaged Chris Coughlin for wearing his dead brother’s letter jacket. T.J. hatches aplan for revenge when he recruits a band of social outcasts to populate the school’s new swim team. This, and their ever-improving performance throughout the swim season upsets the status quo of
    athletics at the high school.


    Against this backdrop of high school jocks and misfits, the readers learn about the realities of racism, prejudices against those who are different or disabled, and the pain of loss and regret.




    Notes to Teachers: . (MATURE YA)
    Teachers can use this book to help their students discuss such
    important topics as racism, school cliques, child abuse, and how to
    deal with pain, loss, and regret.
    NOTE: MATURE YA. Contains profanity, teen sexuality, substance use.
    Intended for older students.


    Suggestions for Possible Concepts: Struggles and Perseverance, Relationships, and Diversity, just to name a few.


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