Whale Quest

Working Together to Save Endangered Species

  • Interest Level: Grade 6 - Grade 12
  • Reading Level: Grade 8

Decades of commercial whaling nearly decimated a variety of whales considered a keystone species. Keystone species are indicators of the overall health of Earth’s habitats. While whales have made a comeback through an international ban on commercial whaling, they are still threatened with extinction. Global warming, water and noise pollution, and commercial shipping and fishing are among the most serious threats to whale survival. Meet the scientists, citizen scientists, researchers, whale watching guides, and other concerned citizens who are working together to protect whale populations around the globe. Learn about whale biology, habitats, and behavior, and discover more about the high-technology tools that help researchers in their work.

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Interest Level Grade 6 - Grade 12
Reading Level Grade 8
Genre Science, Young Adult
Category 5 Kinds of Nonfiction, 5KN: Traditional Nonfiction, Animals, STEM, STEM: Life Science/Animals
Copyright 2018
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Twenty-First Century Books ™
Language English
Number of Pages 128
Publication Date 2017-08-01
Reading Counts! Level 11.5
Text Type Informational/Explanatory
BISACS YAN003030, YAN050080, YAN050030
Dewey 599.5
Dimensions 7 x 9
Lexile 1150
ATOS Reading Level 8.0
Accelerated Reader® Quiz 189254
Accelerated Reader® Points 5.0
Features Author/Illustrator biography, Awards, Bibliography/further reading, Charts/Graphs/Diagrams, Index, Maps, Primary source quotations/images, Reviewed, and Source notes

Author: Karen Romano Young

Karen Romano Young has dived to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean in a tiny submarine, crunched through Arctic ice in an icebreaker, and visited labs, museum workshops, and research institutions across the U.S. to write and draw about science. She was a lead science communications fellow aboard Dr. Robert Ballard's research ship E/V Nautilus. Karen has written and/or illustrated more than 30 books for children and is the creator of Humanimal Doodles, a science comic. Her nonfiction books include Try This! and Try This Extreme! (National Geographic). Her fiction work includes The Beetle and Me: A Love Story; the graphic novel Doodlebug: a Novel in Doodles; and Hundred Percent. Her next book for Twenty-First Century Books is Whale Quest. Karen lives with her family in the woods of Bethel, Connecticut. Her next adventure is a stint at Palmer Station, Antarctica, as the recipient of the National Science Foundation's Antarctic Artists and Writers Grant. She has not yet traveled to space.


  • VOYA Nonfiction Honor List, Winner, 2018
  • Connecticut Book Awards Finalist, Runner-up, 2018
  • Green Earth Book Award Short List, Short-listed, 2018
  • Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year, Winner, 2018


Teaching Expertise


41 Earth Day Books For Kids To Celebrate Our Beautiful Planet
by Jill Webb

Below is a list of 41 book titles for kids that are great for Earth Day! The list includes books suitable for a variety of ages and grade levels. It also includes numerous topics related to Earth Day, such as the basic introduction to Earth Day, how to help save the Earth, kids who are leading the charge to protect it, and even books about natural resources and animals!

12. Whale Quest by Karen Romano Young

A wonderful read for kids who want to learn more about whales and saving endangered species. The chapter book includes real photography of whales and discusses how humans have impacted the climate and environment.


“A succinct and valuable introduction to whales . . .”—VOYA


“®esearchers will be well served by this compact volume’s breadth of information.”—Booklist

Kirkus Reviews

“An informative, well-researched, and engagingly written look at global efforts to protect Earth’s largest mammals.”—Kirkus Reviews

School Library Journal

“Whale lovers and budding oceanographers will surely appreciate this thorough title.”—School Library Journal

From the Mixed-Up Files

STEM Tuesday All About Conservation—Book List

Scientists have said that we are experiencing the 6th great mass extinction in the history of our planet. WOW, that’s scary, especially for kids! But, thankfully, we have many people of all backgrounds, from scientists to kids in elementary schools, focusing attention to conservation. So, this month we not only celebrate Earth Day, but books that highlight the science of conservation and how readers can help preserve our environment.

Whale Quest: Working Together to Save Endangered Species by Karen Romano Young
Young readers will discover how threats to whale populations are being addressed by cetologists, researchers, and citizen scientists.