The Music of Dolphins

The Music Of Dolphins

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The Music of Dolphins

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The Music of Dolphins, by Karen Hesse, is a children's book that follows the story of Mila (translated as an abbreviated form of the Spanish word for "miracle"), a feral child raised by a pod of dolphins around the Florida Keys and Caribbean.

The novel uses a narrative structure that parallels Mila's increasing comprehension of English. At the novel's opening, when Mila is with the dolphins and cannot speak English, the story is told from a neutral third person (Mila's POV) perspective. The text moves to simple English as the protagonist learns human language, becomes more complex as her emotions increase, reverts to simple English when she yearns for the dolphins again, and finally goes back to the third person perspective.

Though the novel is fiction, it is based on real-life experiences of those who have worked with feral children.


Mila and her "family" of dolphins were playing and feeding near a cay, where she is discovered by a trio of men in a helicopter, who take her to a clinic for feral children like her.

At that clinic, Mila is raised as a foster child under the supervision of a woman named Dr. Elizabeth Beck. As she learns to become human, she learns more and more about language, rules, and what it is to be human. She stays in the foster home more often as she acclimates, particularly enjoying music, listening to the radio most nights. Mila must also learn socially conventional behavior as she develops a friendship with Shay, a fragile...
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