Brilliant Book Suggestions for Middle Graders: ‘Freya & Zoose’ and ‘Song for a Whale’

When you think of books involving animal adventures, they are typically geared toward the littles.

Anthony Ascione of Traverse City’s Brilliant Books has a suggestion that’s for more for a mature audience.

And it’s full of action and adventure.

‘Freya & Zoose’ by Emily Butler

“A really great middle grade one for a younger reader,” Ascione says. “It’s the story of a penguin and a mouse who stow away on a hot air balloon basket. And the story is actually based upon true events. The story of three men who were trying to fly a hot air balloon from Scandinavia to the North Pole. They were going to be the first ones to do it, and their expedition does not go as planned by any stretch. But Freya and Zoose tag along for the ride…Zoose is a rather couth mouse who grew up in a sock with his 27 brothers and sisters…They’re kind of an odd couple at first. It’s a really nice story.”

‘Song for a Whale’ by Lynne Kelly

Fantastic and heartbreaking, this is the story of a deaf girl named Iris who hears the story of a whale who sings on a frequency other whales can’t understand.

Iris feels an affinity with Blue 55, the whale that sings on a 55 Hertz frequency, because not everyone understands sign language either.

“Iris hatches a plan to record a song for the whale that will be broadcast on underwater speakers, she enlists the school band, and hopefully the whale will hear something familiar and allow researchers to learn a little more information about it,” Ascione says. “Her parents disapprove, so her grandmother says ‘Lets go on an Alaskan cruise and meet this whale. So grandma and Iris run away.”

Categories: the four