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Whale Quest

Working Together to Save Endangered Species

Whale Quest
Karen Romano Young By (author)
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Lerner Publishing Group

Limited ***

7.0 X 9.0 in
128 pg

YOUNG ADULT NONFICTION / Animals / Marine Life
YOUNG ADULT NONFICTION / Science & Nature / Environmental Conservation & Protection
YOUNG ADULT NONFICTION / Science & Nature / Biology


Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year — 2018 — Winner
Connecticut Book Awards — 2018 — Runner-up
Green Earth Book Award — 2018 — Short-listed
Junior Library Guild Selection — 2018 — Winner
VOYA Nonfiction Honor List — 2018 — Winner


Decades of commercial whaling nearly decimated a variety of whales considered a keystone species. Keystone species are indicators of the overall health of Earth's habitats. While whales have made a comeback through an international ban on commercial whaling, they are still threatened with extinction. Global warming, water and noise pollution, and commercial shipping and fishing are among the most serious threats to whale survival. Meet the scientists, citizen scientists, researchers, whale watching guides, and other concerned citizens who are working together to protect whale populations around the globe. Learn about whale biology, habitats, and behavior, and discover more about the high-technology tools that help researchers in their work.


"Whales have long captured the human imagination, from the Old Testament story of Jonah and the whale to Herman Melville's Moby-Dick to the 1993 film Free Willy. Young explores these majestic animals in 10 fact-filled chapters. Readers learn about the whale family tree and the 80-plus whale species that exist, as well as how these animals eat, breathe, mate, and migrate. The author also examines the booming whaling industry of the 19th century and its devastating effects on global whale populations. Subsequent chapters focus on the efforts of organizations such as the International Whaling Commission to protect whales and the attempts of cetologists to research and understand whales in order to better safeguard them and the oceans they inhabit. Interspersed throughout the text are photographs and 'Whale To Watch' sidebars that highlight individual specific cases. An extensive amount of back matter concludes the volume. VERDICT Whale lovers and budding oceanographers will surely appreciate this thorough title."—School Library JournalJournal

"Threats to whale populations are abundant, but there are many human allies working together around the world to protect their fragile populations. Young explores how cetologists, researchers, and citizen scientists work individually and cooperatively to protect whales from such hazards as climate change, commercial fishing and shipping, water and noise pollution, and unregulated whale-watching tourism. Before going into specifics about conservation efforts, Young explains the evolution and nature of cetaceans, how the whaling industry brought many species to the brink of extinction, and early conservation efforts that resulted in the establishment of the International Whaling Commission. She also notes how popular films such as Free Willy and Whale Rider and award-winning documentaries like Blackfish and Dolphin Cove have helped spread appreciation for cetaceans and raised public consciousness about conservation issues. One chapter explores the controversy of whale captivity, with Sea World at the center of a widespread public backlash against the practice. For those with a taste for the icky and gross, Young explores how much researchers can learn from whale feces and snot. A closing guide to whale species offers a sobering reminder of the terrible toll taken on whales by humans. The blue whale population, for example, is estimated now at 5,000, down from a pre-hunting population of 200,000. An informative, well-researched, and engagingly written look at global efforts to protect Earth's largest mammals."—Kirkus ReviewsJournal

"Young takes a fittingly large-scale approach to her investigation of the whale and its precarious place in the wild, which she anchors through the theme of whale watchers. After a brief introduction to this mammal's evolutionary history and role as a keystone species, the book traces its relationship with humans over time. The discussion begins with the whaling industry, both its detrimental past practices and current protective policies. Interestingly, it was from whaling that cetology (the scientific study of whales) and the whale-watching industry were born, and from these came conservation movements. Young delves into each of these areas, peppering the text with photos, diagrams, profiles of 'whales to watch,' fast-fact Q&As, and a concluding whale guide. The balanced presentation of information offers straightforward accounts of controversies, such as SeaWorld's orca shows, and the many opportunities available to those who wish to help save the whales. Readers after a personal account of whale rescue will want to look elsewhere, but researchers will be well served by this compact volume's breadth of information."—Booklist

5Q 3P M

"A survey of the status quo of whale survival, Young's book describes efforts by the science community to promote cetological research and enjoyment of the earth's great sea creatures. To secure the health of whale pods, nations collaborate on laws that shield habitats from pollutants and hunting. Young emphasizes the beauty and uniqueness of the animals in drawings, maps, and photos featuring Granny, the oldest known whale. Sidebars particularize essential details, including vocalization, echolocation, sanctuaries, and the birth of Makoa, a Pacific dolphin. A ten-page guide to twenty species of whales categorizes shape, size, diet, and world populations, which range from more than one million pilot whales to a headcount of under 500 for the North Pacific Right Whale. The two-page glossary defines integral terms, like megafauna, baleen, and necropsy, the study of cadavers to determine sources of disease and types of endangerment. Bibliographic material outlines print and electronic sources suited to adults and children. Primary and secondary indexing covers mating, the Endangered Species Act, whale oil, and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

A succinct and valuable introduction to whales, Young's book belongs in public and homeschooling libraries, marine museums, and middle school collections, as well as the shelves of hobbyists and students of marine biology."—VOYAJournal

41 Earth Day Books For Kids To Celebrate Our Beautiful Planet
by Jill Webb

Below is a list of 41 book titles for kids that are great for Earth Day! The list includes books suitable for a variety of ages and grade levels. It also includes numerous topics related to Earth Day, such as the basic introduction to Earth Day, how to help save the Earth, kids who are leading the charge to protect it, and even books about natural resources and animals!

12. Whale Quest by Karen Romano Young

A wonderful read for kids who want to learn more about whales and saving endangered species. The chapter book includes real photography of whales and discusses how humans have impacted the climate and environment.

Author Bio

Karen Romano Young has dived to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean in a tiny submarine, crunched through Arctic ice in an icebreaker, and visited labs, museum workshops, and research institutions across the U.S. to write and draw about science. She was a lead science communications fellow aboard Dr. Robert Ballard's research ship E/V Nautilus.

Karen has written and/or illustrated more than 30 books for children and is the creator of Humanimal Doodles, a science comic. Her nonfiction books include Try This! and Try This Extreme! (National Geographic). Her fiction work includes The Beetle and Me: A Love Story; the graphic novel Doodlebug: a Novel in Doodles; and Hundred Percent. Her next book for Twenty-First Century Books is Whale Quest.

Karen lives with her family in the woods of Bethel, Connecticut. Her next adventure is a stint at Palmer Station, Antarctica, as the recipient of the National Science Foundation's Antarctic Artists and Writers Grant. She has not yet traveled to space.