Drawings by Madellyn
• Dear Hester Velmans, I believe I first picked up Isabel of the Whales in fourth grade, recommended to me by a friend. Thinking back on it, I can remember how captivating it was, to be thrown into this great underwater world with all the whales, and Isabel. I loved her character, also- it seems to me that great female characters can be hard to come by in children's books, and yet Isabel was fantastic to see this whole new universe through. The diverse attitudes in the characters were rich and hilarious- I loved the contrast between young and sassy Isabel and her calm and patient teacher, and the competitive Jessaloup. I especially loved him.
I loved the book so much that I'll guiltily admit that I kept the book through the years, even though it belonged to my teacher! ( It was the wrong thing to do, but I couldn't give it up!)
Now, six years later, I found myself picking it up and rereading it, and still filled with awe and inspiration. Even as a 15- year- old, it is one of my favorite books, and Jessaloup's Song is fabulous as well. I want to thank you, as an aspiring writer, for creating such a masterpiece that would stick with me for so long! Isabel and Jessaloup will be close to my heart forever.
Enclosed is some drawings I've done, of Isabel and Jessaloup and Human Jessaloup. I hope you don't mind me drawing them!
• Dear Ms. Velmans,
My name is Isabella I am nine years old . My friend and I are your number one fans. We love your books especially Isabel of the Whales and Jessaloupís Song. We are wondering if you will be writing any more Isabel of the Whales books? Where did you get the idea of writing Isabel of the whales book? Which was your first book you wrote ? I just think you are the best author ever in the world, and I would rather read your books then play on the computer .
Love your number one fan ,
• My students
I have just finished Jessaloup's song, I can't explain the excitement and joy I am feeling right now! Just today the book came through the mail, I started reading it and couldn't put it down. Everything about the book - the plot, the character's, the twist at the end- was perfect! I could feel the suspense as the clock ran for Isabel to tell others of the tsunami, and the lingering feelings Jessaloup and Isabel had for each other.
My favourite part though, was the ending.
You are an amazing writer, Kitty
And last night I started-and finished-reading Jessaloup's Song. I really liked it! And thanks for the happy ending! My favorite part, of course, was when Jessaloup was a whale again. You could almost feel the awkwardness between them when he wasn't (in a good way). I have to admit that the end of the first book made me cry. I was that upset about Isobel having to leave. So, when that scene came where Jessaloup disappears, I almost lost it again. It was nice to hear the backstory too :) The only thing I didn't like was how short it was. It seemed a little rushed, but that might just be me as an older reader.
Anyway, I loved the book! And now I can finally be completely satisfied with how Isobel ends up :) -Emily
After hearing about the book club's praise for your work, I purchased Isabel of the Whales and couldn't put it down! I ended the day sobbing on the couch and my daughter read the entire book that night (staying up way past lights out, I learned the next day!). She then gobbled up Jessaloup's Song before I had my turn!
I just wanted to let you know how much my daughter and I (and apparently some of my students) have enjoyed your books!
•Dear Ms. Velmans,
I bought a copy and read it in one day. I absolutely loved it! Thank you for writing such amazing books!
•I got Jessaloup's Song for my Kindle at around 2 pm and I just finished it about 20 minutes ago (8:30). I remember Isabel of the Whales used to be my favorite book, and I still love it. I'm hoping there will be another book in the series! Hester Velmans is a genius! :D -- M.R.
•Hi. I read Isabel of the Whales when I was about 4th grade. I loved the book!!! Now I am in 8th grade and I read it again. And I realized I forgot how heart-warming and touching this book really was. Even though this whole time I remembered your book and I knew it was one of my favorites, I never actually took the time to read it again. Now I’m glad I did.
I just HAD HAD HAD to know if there was a sequel to Isabel of the Whales. So I googled your nameJ. I read in one article a letter a girl sent to you and you replied to her saying that there will be a sequel to Isabel of the Whales called Jessaloup’s Song. Could you tell me if this is true and if it is, when you are planning to release it? Thank you so much!
Now, I just wanted to say how AMAZING I thought this book was. It will probably be one of my all-time favorites forever. (Besides, I think Jessaloup and Isabel are SO CUTE together!!!;)) I’ve had this feeling a couple times about books and every time I try to explain it I fail at creating that mood in other people. So I just CANNOT say how much I enjoyed reading this book and how much I love it. Every time I think I’m finished with this email I realize I haven’t quite said exactly what I want to say and I really wish I even knew how to say it. I’ll just say that I was sad when I finished the book and during those 3 years, I wonder what happened with Jessaloup. And I secretly hope that Isabel and Tom will break up haha. Whale’s were never my favorite creatures. Actually, I never ever really like ocean animals ever. I always feel as if they’re scary, creepy, and eerie. But while I was reading the book, I saw whales as beautiful creatures and I was mesmerized by them(of course when I finished the book, I kind of snapped back(?) but I still think you did a great job of portraying whales in ways we would never imagine).
I really liked your creativity on Jonah and Moby Dick. You rock!!!
I’m sorry for making this such a long email, but I hope you’ll answer back to me and I would be very grateful if you did. Thanks!!!
I love Isabel of the Whales forever!!! -- B.D.
• My name is Hannah and Hester Velmans I loved your book more than anything but by the end I was sobbing. I have reraed Isabel of the whales and I always find myself in tears. I loved your bitter-sweet ending. My favorite part is when Jessaloup tells isabel that he didn\\\'t pick a mate because he only wanted her. I want to be an author when I grow up.-- Hannah P.
• Dear Ms. Hester,
My name is Isa, and I absolutely loved your book, Isabel of the Whales. Isabel was so brave! I loved her personality. She made me realize how fascinating whales are, both in their fiction and non-fiction ways. I loved her relationship with Jessaloup, too! I really can’t imagine the book without Jessaloup in it, because it would be so much less fun for Isabel!
Anyway, I was kind of hoping to somehow get a signed bookplate. Do you have an address I can send a request to? Thanks so much for writing a wonderful book!
From a fan who loves to read,
P.S. Is there really going to be a sequel called Jessaloup’s Song?
• My name is Natasha and I love your book called Isabel of the Whales. All though it was sad at the end I still loved it. I told all my friends and some of my family members of this special book! I sometimes think about the book wondering if Jessaloup and Isabel will ever meet each other ever again. – Natasha S.
thank you sooooo much for writing these books! i read jessaloup's song in 2 hours. it was one of the best books i have ever read and made my heart feel good. Great job with the whole thing about [...] SO NOT EXPECTING THAT!! it was a great twist that really made the book come together.
you are an amazing author and i hope some day this might be turned into a movie!!!!
Claire (save the whales!!!)
• Dear Hester,
I read this book in a day and wow is it ever good. I think many people love this book as much as i do. After i read it I couldn't help but want you to write a second book. Pretty please with a cherry on top do. Somehow Jessaloup and Isabel HAVE yo be together. Jessaloup can turn human or Isabel can turn whale again. They could have a daughter whose torn between land and the sea. You could have a hit series there.
You'd have me caught in a net. This book is too good, no amazing-stupendus-awesome-super to end now. I'm stunned by this book, speechless. I could scream. I could read this book a million times but it'd be much more interesting to have it continue. Think about it. If Jessaloup and Isabel are in true love then they're story should have to end together with love and possibly a daughter.
Please. Think about it. Please.
• I read this book with my 12 year old daughter (who hates to read). It was one of the most wonderful experiences I can remember. I have since urged several of her friends to also read it - all with the same response "it was the best book I ever read". I know this sounds crazy - but it would made a wonderful movie. The kind every family would love. I am now going to read it with my 9 year old (who loves to read)! This truly is a wonderful summer read and although the end is not how everyone would like it to end - it was the right way to end the book.
-- Mary G.
• Hi! My name is Claire. I read Isabel of the whales probably 5 times. And each time, i had a different experience. Each time i read it, there were different feelings. The one feeling that never went away was my sadness that Jessaloup and Isabel never got to be with each other. Each time i read it, i cry just as much as the time before. Please, write another book. I can't stand not knowing what happens to Jessaloup and Isabel. Your book was inspiring in so many different ways. It would be my dream come true if your wrote another book.
• Dear Hester,
Since fifth grade, I have read and reread your book Isabel of the Whales. Even now, three years later, I still come back to it, and I can't help but think about how perfect and yet extremely sad the ending is. Often, I cry. I like reading books where readers have to imagine all the good things that happen next. But in this case, there is so much I want to find out about Isabel and Jessaloup and Onijonah and the rest of the whales that just thinking about it is not enough. Also, thank you for raising awareness about pollution and endangered species. I am now careful to recycle, and I have convinced my parents to buy more eco-friendly products.
I've heard that you intend to write a sequel called Jessaloup's Song, but the dates on the reports were from years ago. I am wondering if, and I hope, that you still plan to do so.
• Dear Hester Velmans,
Strength is a skill that is hard to come by. I don’t really mean physical strength; I mean the strength it takes to get through tough times, to make hard decisions. My parents got divorced two years ago, and when they did, I was thrust into a situation that nobody wants to be in. when I read your book, Isabel of the Whales, I realized what real strength was. Before I read your book, when I lived with both my mom and dad, I depended on other people. I wasn’t strong, and I certainly never had any reason to be strong. Everything was done for me. my parents got divorced and we moved away from my dad. Because I was the oldest, a lot of responsibility was thrown on me, and I felt like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders. It was at this time I turned to books for comfort.
When I first read Isabel of the Whales, I didn’t realize what I had read. I only knew I loved the story. I read it again and again and began to read behind the lines. I started to infer what both Isabel and other whales that weren’t mentioned a lot were feeling. Most of all, I admired Isabel’s courage to do what she thought was right. I wanted to be like her, and still want to be like her now, to have the experience of a lifetime. For the first time, I realized what real strength was, and I wanted to have it. Whenever I was sad, or felt sorry for myself, I started to remember what it was like for Isabel, how she suffered so much more than I had, and she never cried, (not that whales can cry.) As I read your book, and also remembered Isabel, I think I began to grow stronger myself. I didn’t feel as bad about my parents divorce as I had used to. Even now, because your book taught me strength, I consider that time to be the beginning of a new chapter in my life, instead of the end of one chapter I used to love.
Your book taught me strength, and I thank you for that.
Thanks again, Name withheld