The Boy Who Met a Whale

by Nizrana Farook (Author)

The Boy Who Met a Whale
Reading Level: 4th − 5th Grade

A Sri Lankan fisherboy is swept up in a thrilling seafaring adventure, complete with a kidnapping, missing treasure, and a huge blue whale! From the author of The Girl Who Stole an Elephant.

Razi, a local fisherboy, is watching turtle eggs hatch when he sees a boat bobbing into view. With a chill, he notices a small, still hand hanging over the side.

Inside is Zheng, who's escaped a shipwreck and is full of tales of sea monsters and missing treasure. But the villains who are after Zheng are soon after Razi and his sister, Shifa, too. And so begins an exhilarating escapade in the shadow of the biggest sea monster of them all.

Author Nizrana Farook has crafted another briskly paced, action-packed quest that swells with empathetic heroes, missing treasure, and a great beast lurking beneath. Set against a vibrant, authentic landscape inspired by Sri Lanka, this delightful caper will thrill young fans of adventure and fantasy.

A Financial Times Best Children's Book of the Year

Also available from Nizrana Farhook: The Girl Who Stole an Elephant

Select format:

Kirkus Reviews

An exciting and appealing page-turner.


A proper adventure story with a tender heart.

School Library Journal

Gr 3-5--When Razi slips down to the beach early one morning to watch the hatchling sea turtles scurry to the safety of the sea, he finds a boat drifting near shore. In the boat, he discovers a boy, unconscious, parched, and covered with salt. Just as Razi pulls Zheng to safety and places him in the shade of the coconut trees, he encounters two nefarious-looking men searching for the boy, whom Razi quickly misdirects. When the beguiling Zheng regains consciousness, he quickly charms Razi into the adventure of his life. The two 12-year-old boys, along with Razi's twin sister, Shifa, set off to recover buried treasure ahead of the pair of villainous crew members from Zheng's storm-sunk ship. The story unfolds like a luminous fairy tale, enhanced by the ebullient Zheng, whose stories the twins find almost too outlandish to believe. Farook invokes the beauty of her native Sri Lanka with sparkling descriptions of island and sea. The intrepid trio manage to outwit their enemies with some quick thinking and a few assists from sea creatures, including the titular whale. Along the way, the three find more than the jeweled Dagger of Serendib; they find themselves. Each youngster ends up a wiser, better person: orphan Zheng finds a family, Razi rediscovers his love of the sea, and Shifa learns to trust. Like the sea turtles Razi loves, each child experiences growth on the sea, but also a pull back to the island. VERDICT This lyrical story, reminiscent of Salman Rushdie's Haroun and the Sea of Stories will be appreciated by all lovers of adventurous fairy tales.--Nancy Nadig, Penn Manor S. D., Lancaster, PA

Copyright 2021 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

It's a thrilling, old-fashioned treasure hunt, and the Sri Lankan setting makes familiar arcs feel fresh. Short, action-packed chapters keep things moving at a fast clip, while lush descriptions and flashes of beauty (including an astonishing encounter with the titular whale) will keep readers absorbed. A proper adventure story with a tender heart. - Booklist

Nizrana Farook
Nizrana Farook was born and raised in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and the beautiful landscapes of her home country find their way into the stories she writes. She graduated from Bath Spa University with an MA in Writing for Young People and lives in England with her husband and two daughters.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Peachtree Publishers
Publication date
February 01, 2022
BISAC categories
JUV039060 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Friendship
JUV001020 - Juvenile Fiction | Action & Adventure | Pirates
JUV002170 - Juvenile Fiction | Animals | Marine Life
Library of Congress categories
A Financial Times Best Children's Book of the Year

Subscribe to our delicious e-newsletter!