“Can You Whistle, Johanna? is possibly my favourite book of all time. Ulf Stark is a truly great writer. He makes me laugh, cry, think deeply and think again—often in just one sentence.”

Julia Marshall, Publisher

Can You Whistle, Johanna?


Can You Whistle, Johanna? is a funny, sensitive illustrated chapter book about two boys searching for a grandfather and friendship across generations.

It is an international award-winner and a classic in many countries.

Translated by Julia Marshall

Read the first chapter


  • Description

    Why doesn’t Berra have a grandfather? And how can he get one?

    There are plenty of old men at the retirement home, the narrator suggests.

    They go there together to find one—ideally one who eats pig’s trotters, invites you to tea and can teach you to whistle.

    Can You Whistle, Johanna? is an international award-winner and classic in many countries by one of the world’s great writers, Ulf Stark and brilliantly illustrated by Anna Höglund.


  • Book Details

    Country of Origin Sweden
    Reader Age 8-12 year
    Book Size

  • Reviews

    1. The School Reading List

      astounding, profound, moving and permanent…I want to avoid using the words ‘charming’ and ‘touching’ when writing about this astounding story. It is both of these, but it is also, I think, a profound and moving meditation on the things that remain constant and permanent throughout our lives.

    2. Red Reading Hub

      a book from Swedish author Ulf Stark that will surely touch your heart…We see how this special relationship has enriched the lives of both Berra and Ned, and that’s what shines through this sensitively told story despite the boys’ loss. Equally moving are Anna Höglund’s wonderful droll illustrations that support the text splendidly.

    3. NetGalley-Reviewer

      a heartwarming and emotional tale of human connection, and its importance at any age.

    4. Kirkus Reviews

      Starred review. A sweet, tender, never maudlin evocation of an intergenerational friendship.

    5. Youth Services Book Review

      5+. One of those rare perfect ones.

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