Dolphin Boy

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Dolphin Boy

Dolphin Boy is that rare thing - an easy reader which tackles difficult issues. The hero is a boy with a difference. Dibs has never spoken although he can imitate sounds perfectly, and life only begins for him when he discovers a stranded dolphin. Through the eyes of his older sister, the reader watches a miracle unfold, and shares Amy’s complex emotions as both Dibs and the dolphin are liberated from their personal prisons. Sensitively illustrated, this is a moving story which explores the agonies of sibling rivalry with a gentle touch.’ BEST BOOKS, JUNIOR EDUCATION 

‘Julie Bertagna writes simply about the complex relationship between an autistic boy and his sister....This is controlled and elegant writing aimed at nine to twelve year olds.’


‘A gentle, affecting story.....Dibs may not know words but he is fluent in Dolphin....helping a fellow mammal find his freedom in the sea also unlocks something in the boy and the end is very moving. Simply written, and full of understatedemotion.’


‘Dolphin Boy is the moving story of Dibs, who can copy any noise in the world.....Children will, initially, be drawn to the cute cover picture of the dolphin but the story will take them much further than they might have expected into the realms of feelings and relationships. Certainly, this is one for the class bookshelf.’ JUNIOR EDUCATION 

‘Un-put-downable.’ 4 STAR REVIEW, AMAZON

The Story behind the story...

I was writing a story about a lost dolphin and was a bit stuck when, one day, I saw a young boy in the park who couldn’t seem to speak - but he was communicating his feelings in the most powerful way, by imitating sounds - a revving motorbike for excitement, a police siren for distress, and a dog barking for anger. I remembered what I had found out about dolphins: they also use sound very powerfully in the ocean.....and all of a sudden I had my story.


Over to you...

In Dolphin Boy Dibs, a boy who can’t talk, communicates very powerfully in sounds. Find out about other ways to communicate without words - Morse Code, Braille, sign language, hieroglyphics (picture symbols). Try to exchange messages using some of these. (You can make Braille patterns by gently pushing a pencil in to the back of a sheet of paper).

Do your own mini-project on dolphins - they are amazing creatures. Make a poster with a slogan showing all the dangers dolphins face because of humans. Think of fishing trawler nets, sea pollution, oil tanker spills....

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