Bay Area Author's Latest Work, '52', Sparks Powerful Message in a Lonely, COVID-19 World

Inspired by the incredible true story of the 52-hertz whale, author Johnny DePalma's latest rhyming picture book, '52 - A Tale of Loneliness', echoes emotions that may be felt at home.

52 - A Tale of Loneliness  [Cover]

 Known throughout the San Francisco Bay Area for curating the pandemic's Emergency Art Museum (, award-winning author Johnny DePalma's latest literary accomplishment dives deep into innate human feelings, emotions, and loneliness - something all too common in a COVID-19 world.

"I would say all my books are somewhat autobiographical," said DePalma, regarding his latest book, '52 - A Tale of Loneliness.' "Loneliness is such a universal and complex emotion. For me, my days of loneliness were also my days of unlimited imagination. I would take the time to connect with all of the small, seemingly invisible things in my life. And, looking back, I think those moments we're incredibly important. Years later, when I learned about the 52-hertz whale, (also known as the loneliest whale in the world) I knew I wanted to write a book that reconnects with that misunderstood emotion."

This children's tale, recommended for ages 4-8, has recently hit home for an audience of all ages. Taking place far beneath the beautiful sea, a unique whale sings a song that is all his own. Told in short, poetic passages, this whale, simply known as 52, celebrates the joy of life he's found beneath the ocean waves. Yet, despite his isolation, 52 remains optimistic and introduces readers to the magic, beauty, and joy found within his own invisible world.

DePalma details the beauty of isolation with effortlessness throughout the book, writing, "And that's all mine! I get to see, the things invisible, like me! So, every night, I say hello, to all the barnacles below. To every bubble, kelp, and shell. To every grain of sand as well. For all these things make up my home, and with them, I don't feel alone."

"It's been greatly inspired by the California coast," said DePalma. "After all, that is where the real-life 52-hertz whale has been known to travel. In 2018, my good friend and illustrator, Kyle Brown and I took a research trip from Point Conception, to Monterey, and eventually through San Francisco to find the creative spark needed for the illustrations in this book. I couldn't be happier with the result. It's my hope that children and families alike will uncover that same special spark of joy that 52 has found. Considering what we've all been going through, I think embracing some of these feelings, and putting a voice to them is going to be an important step for children moving forward."

DePalma went on to say, "As children start heading back to school, social and emotional learning tools are going to be imperative. Characters like 52 are there to help guide children through those difficult feelings and to help them find their voice in a world that might suddenly feel a bit different. I want children to know that being unique can be a positive and powerful thing. Sometimes, it just takes the right perspective for them to see that."

One recent reviewer stated, "DePalma effectively validates feelings that are relatable to children of various ages. Although 52 experiences loneliness, and sometimes feels invisible, he still sings, and his tale is not a sad one. This good-natured whale exemplifies themes of self-acceptance, individuality, contentment, empathy, bravery, and joy." - Cecilia_L

Terra JoleĢ, of "Dancing with the Stars," fame stated, "This book is a wonderful way for children to feel content with who they are. This speaks loudly to me as a mother isolating her family through the pandemic. Embracing a world you're creating for yourself is a powerful message in a children's book."

To date, 52 - A Tale of Loneliness has won a Mom's Choice Gold Award, and a Reader's Favorite Five Stars. The book also includes a downloadable companion audiobook read by Emmy Award-winning actor, Patton Oswalt.

For more information about 52 - A Tale of Loneliness, visit:


Contact: Johnny DePalma

Umbrelly Books Publishing

[email protected]


Source: Umbrelly Books Publishing


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