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THE WHALE RIDER by Witi Ihimaera


by Witi Ihimaera

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: May 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-15-205017-5
Publisher: Harcourt

An ancient whale and an eight-year-old Maori girl named Kahu are archetypal figures in this luminous joining of myth and contemporary culture. In an opening Eden-like scene, a man riding a whale gives the East Coast of New Zealand gifts that will make it flourish. The last gift, however, refuses to be given, flinging itself across a thousand years to wait for the time when it will be needed. That gift becomes Kahu, a contemporary child both regular and special. Kahu is cherished by everyone in the family except her grandfather, whom she reveres but who has no time for females. But when that ancestral relationship between human and whale reaches from the past and challenges the safety of her people, Kahu alone has the gift to confront the threat. The story is narrated by her uncle Rawiri and by the whales; dazzling ocean descriptions from the whales’ perspective highlight the poetic writing. (glossary) (Sundance and Toronto film festivals winner, national release June 2003) (Fiction. YA)