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Apr. 10, 2014

A Whale Is Born

by Jean Craighead George

Click to enlarge images
Toozak‚ a Yup’ik Eskimo boy on Saint Lawrence Island, stared at the whaling ship just off the coast. For a long time it sat ominously on the sun-silvered ocean. Then‚ frightened‚ he paddled for shore. He must tell his father‚ a warrior‚ what he had seen. The ship had a red‚ white‚ and blue flag. Where was this ship from? What did the mariners who were on board it want?
 
Not far from his village he stopped. A great whale swam near him. She suddenly rolled‚ her flipper rising 10 feet above the ocean. Through the clear water Toozak saw a baby whale slide tail first from her body. He was light gray and as long as Toozak’s kayak of 14 feet. The baby‚ he thought‚ must weigh as much as all 20 dogs in my family’s dog team.
 
“That’s a big calf‚” he said aloud.
 
Toozak bowed his head out of respect. He had seen the birth of a whale! This was a great privilege. Even his father had not seen a whale born. Only the Great Spirit could have bestowed this honor upon him. Read more here.
 

Excerpted from The Ice Whale, by Jean Craighead George and completed by Craig and Twig George. Copyright: Dial/Penguin Young Readers. 

 
Author photo credit: Wendell Minor
 
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About Jean Craighead George

Jean Craighead George (1919-2012) was the author of more than 100 beloved books for young people, including the Newbery Award-winning Julie of the Wolves and the Newbery Honor-winning My Side of the Mountain.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Science Friday.

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