I Lived Inside a Whale (Hardcover)

I Lived Inside a Whale By Xin Li Cover Image
By Xin Li
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March/April 2024 Kids Indie Next List

“What a spectacular story! It is a rare picture book that combines gorgeous illustrations with humor and real insight into real emotions, but I Lived Inside a Whale does so perfectly.”
— Jennifer Carney, Sidetrack Bookshop, Royal Oak, MI


For fans of Oliver Jeffers, this stunningly illustrated, whimsical picture book is about finding your own voice and learning how to connect with others through storytelling.

A quiet child in a boisterous family, Emma Wen dreams of a world that is peaceful and silent. When she reads about the blue whale – with a heart so big her father could stand in it – she has an idea.  She fashions a boat out of household objects and sails from her bedroom into the mouth of a whale, where she settles in happily.  Emma has finally found her peace and quiet.  That is until another child, Owen Tang, arrives inside the whale and is loud, noisy and “everything she is running away from”.  Emma and Owen’s unlikely friendship blossoms inside the microcosm of the whale in a beautifully told story of friendship and finding your own voice in a world that is “filled with too much of everything, everywhere.”

With lush, irresistible illustrations and its balance of sensitivity and adventure, Xin Li's author/illustrator debut is an ode to storytelling and imagination and displays her keen understanding of the emotional world of children.  

About the Author

Xin Li is an artist and writer. She was born and raised in China and currently lives in Norway with her husband and their daughter. After spending half of her life living in countries outside of her homeland, Xin chose to paint and write, as stories help her to make sense of a world that otherwise is often lost in translation. Xin is passionate about collecting books, watching clouds, and going for long train rides to cities she has never visited before. I Lived Inside a Whale is her U.S. author/illustrator debut. You can visit her online at Lixin.no.

Praise For…

A Kids’ Indie Next List Pick

 "An inspiring, unexpected interior journey."—Publishers Weekly

"The transportive power of books… and the story’s supportive friendship theme makes this a doubly good pick for library and classroom sharing."—Booklist

"Cozy artwork visually depicts both the cacophony of the world and the young narrator’s flights of fancy. This is a gentle, relatable story about a child with sensory sensitivity finding a way to forge connections with others. A sweet, contemplative tale of friendship and discovering one’s voice."
 —Kirkus Reviews

"I Lived Inside a Whale is a touching and beautifully illustrated tale of finding refuge in a story, discovering unlikely allies and sharing one’s voice with the world… I Lived Inside a Whale has a moment for every reader, making it perfect for storytime or bedtime or any time in between. We could all use a little vacation these days, and I Lived Inside a Whale is a great escape, no matter your age."
 —Bookpage, starred review

Product Details
ISBN: 9780316492270
ISBN-10: 0316492272
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: February 20th, 2024
Pages: 48
Language: English