Meet Sarah Brennan


Reading Time would like to introduce you to author, Sarah Brennan, who has written a piece for us about why she wrote Storm Whale (Allen & Unwin, May 2017, ISBN: 9781760293642)

When I was a kid, in the summer, my parents would take me and my sisters and baby brother to a wonderful place called Binalong Bay in North East Tasmania, where we’d rent a seaside shack. I can remember it vividly – the old weatherboard shack with its corrugated iron roof; the cracked lino floors; the fine powdered sand which was impossible to keep out of the house.

We’d spend the days fossicking in rock pools, where the greatest thrill was to have one’s finger sucked by a red sea anemone. We’d build elaborate sand castles, which we decorated with seaweed, shells and stones, and we’d watch as the sea swirled into the moats we dug around our castles, before they collapsed into the incoming tide.

We swam, of course, to waist height, and hung onto Dad as he bounced us up and down on the waves. We ran races along the beach, and jumped on dunes – the best thrill of all was to leap on a sand ridge and have it collapse on the beach below. And we collected shells of every colour and shape, to add to my older sister’s collection.

But the weather was invariably terrible! Being Tasmania, summers were short and unpredictable, and my strongest memory of summer holidays were of bleak, windy days interspersed every so often with bright, blazing days when the sand scorched our feet and our noses burned to a crisp!

One of the inside double spreads by artist, Jane Tanner.

And every so often, we’d come across a stranded whale. There was nothing we could do to save these gentle creatures, and I would feel heart-broken leaving them there, waiting to die. And ever since, as I’ve learned more about the intelligence of whales, their songs, and their sophisticated behaviour, the sadder I’ve felt when I’ve heard of strandings, sometimes en masse, particularly when the suspected cause is human sonar disruption.

So this book is my homage to my childhood holidays, my family, and especially, to whales. I hope that parents will find pleasure in the nostalgia evoked by Jane Tanner’s exquisite pictures, and a way of opening up the subject of whales, and their place in our world, with their children.

Thanks to Sarah and Allen & Unwin for the blog post.

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