Setsuko and the Song of the Sea by Fiona Barker and Howard Gray

Thanks to Kelly for the invitation to join the Love Books Tours blog tour for this beautiful book for children. Thank you to Tiny Tree Books for a copy of the book to read and review.


Setsuko loves the sea. She swims its shallows. She dives its depths. But she worries that her friends have chosen to abandon her way of life. Then she meets a whale who also fears he is the last of his kind. In return for giving him hope, he gifts her a song which she uses to remind people of the beauty of the ocean. Setsuko took the song and made it her own. They played together from the first crisp light of morning until the setting of the evening sun. Everyone who heard Setsuko’s song was filled with the wonder of the sea.

They remembered the beauty and mystery of the ocean. A story of an unlikely friendship, Setsuko and her friend the whale have one thing in common ― their love of the sea. Much like the revered ama-san, ― women who have been diving off the coast of the Shima peninsula in Japan for over 2,000 years ― Setsuko is a strong girl who is on the path to becoming one of these real-life mermaids.

10% of the net profits from each book will be donated to the Marine Conservation Society, the UK charity working for seas full of life. Visit to find out more.

Buy Links

Publisher Shop –

Waterstones –

Foyles –

Amazon –

Goodreads –

My thoughts:

As a mother of older teenagers, I miss sharing the picture books they enjoyed when tiny. This is one they would both have enjoyed, full of stunning illustrations by Howard Gray, a beautiful story with an important message by Fiona Barker and Japanese text from Hideaki Matsuya.

Setsuko loves the sea and helps others to recognise the importance of caring for our oceans, by keeping our rubbish out of it. If our children learn at an early age the importance of looking after our oceans and their inhabitants, perhaps we can help reverse the damage done by earlier generations.

Having worked in a primary school, this would make an excellent book to share at story time and to use for guided reading, to create a discussion with the children. Happy to recommend to parents and primary school teachers.

By Karen K is reading

An avid reader from the age of 4. Love escaping into a good novel after a busy day working with students. Mum of teenagers. Adopter of dogs.

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