• Written by Sheryl McFarlane
  • Illustrations by Ron Lightburn
  • ISBN: 0-920501-66-4
  • hc $7.95 CDN / US



“A delicate and beautifully executed book.”
— Books in Review

“Written in precisely cadenced prose, McFarlane’s story about the cycles of life—while not a new theme—is so deftly handled that it becomes genuinely moving.”
— Publisher’s Weekly


Waiting for the Whales

Excerpt from Waiting for the Whales

When he spotted the Orcas that year, he carried his granddaughter to the water’s edge and held her up so she could see. And although she didn’t understand, he told her all about the whales that he had watched since he was small.

Awards and Honours

  • IODE National Chapter Book Award (text)
  • Governor General’s Literary Award (illustration)
  • Canadian National Library Notable Book
  • A CBC Radio’s Morningside’s Children’s Book Panel ‘Recommended Book’
  • Canadian Children’s Book Centre ‘Outstanding Book’
  • Short-listed for the Mr. Christie Book Award
  • Short-listed for the BC Book Prize (children’s book category)

Author’s Inspiration

From the author…

Waiting for the Whales was my first book for children. It was partly based upon my own grandfather and partly on an older friend. Both of these men left me with gifts of knowledge and a wealth of memories which have helped to shape the person I have become. I wanted to write a story that would honour the unique friendship that occurs between generations and show some of the ways that people live on even after they die. They live in our hearts, in our memories, and in the things they teach us. And, perhaps even in the spirit of the whales, as one Coast Salish elder told me. Now my grandfather and Roy, that older friend, also live between the pages of Waiting for the Whales. I hope this book is as special for you as it is for me.

WebLinks for Kids


Published by BunkaPub: Tokyo, 1994; Philomel Books: New York, 1993; and Orca Books: Victoria, 1991.

Return to the Picture Books page.

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