On a radiant summer day in 2018, an orca named Tahlequah gave birth to a female calf off the coast of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada. The calf was emaciated, lacking enough blubber to stay afloat, and she only lived for 30 minutes. Tahlequah placed the baby on her head, and with the members of her pod, she swam for 17 days, covering 1,000 miles before releasing her into the sea.
Whale of Wonder is the dramatized story of this true-life odyssey, told through a dialogue between the mother orca and her curious son, who keeps asking, “Why, Mama?” Young readers will discover how Tahlequah expresses her maternal love, her grief, and slowly overcomes her loss to celebrate life again. This unique story opens a window to the majestic orcas and their complex emotional lives.
The Afterword presents information about orcas in general and the specific culture of the Southern Residents. It unveils Tahlequah’s life with the members of her pod in the Salish Sea, emphasizing the plight these orcas—close to extinction—are facing.