Phone Call with a Fish

Image of Phone Call with a Fish
Release Date: 
September 4, 2018
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
Reviewed by: 

This quiet and contemplative picture book is a tender story about understanding differences.

Phone Call with a Fish is the story of a boy who doesn’t speak in school, presented from a strong young girl’s perspective. She wonders how he can remain so quiet when for her, “talking is like breathing.” The boy won’t answer questions in class but instead chooses to write the answers on the chalkboard.

Finally, inspiration comes to the main character from an unlikely place—a phone placed in a fish aquarium. During a science field trip, the young girl notices this and picks up the receiver to hear the subtle noises that fish make. She calls her silent classmate over to hear and a friendship is formed.

The text is spare but is filled with poetic phrases such as, “Eventually he’ll open up, that seems like a nice idea—as if he were a flower. But he isn’t a flower. He’s a boy.”

This book will be a great addition to classrooms to enhance lessons on kindness, empathy, and acceptance of other student’s differences.