In the Sea: Exploring the Ocean in Books

Earlier this year, I blogged about the Sylvia Earle biography for kids by Claire A. Nivola and how inspiring Earle’s love of the sea was to me. For the young readers in your libraries who may have felt similarly after reading Life in the Ocean, here are more books that will take them under the sea.

Ocean Sunlight: How Tiny Plants Feed the Seas by Molly Bang. May 2012. 9780545273220. Gr. K-2

It all starts with the sun.  We learned about photosynthesis in Molly Bang’s Living Sunlight, and she expands on that in this book as she explains that everything is connected to the sun, even under the ocean.  Bang simplifies the text in a way that makes the science accessible to young readers and provides more information in the notes.  She even acknowledges  that the subject is much more vast than the generalizations she includes in the book, which just may inspire young science enthusiasts to do more research!

City Fish, Country Fish  by Mary Cerullo. May 2012. 9780884483236. Gr. 2-5

In the spirit of the classic story “The Country Mouse and the City Mouse,” Mary Cerullo compares a fish’s life in the bustling tropical seas to life in the comparatively quieter cold oceans.  The vivid photographs in this book are sure to attract browsers, and the fascinating comparisons between city fish and country fish will draw readers into the text.  I gave this title the “Mackin Pick” flower because it caught everyone’s attention here in the office.  I think all the librarians in the department read it—or at least paged through it to look at the photographs.  It really is quite beautiful.  I’m sure your students will be drawn to it just as much as we were! 🙂

I’m Not a Plastic Bag by Rachel Hope Allison. April 2012. 9781936393541. Gr. K-8

This visual allegory follows a plastic bag on its journey to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is portrayed as a monster.  It seems friendly, but it proves deadly for animals that get too close.  All it wants is someone to notice it, to pay attention.  Allison has created a beautiful wordless story that will be of interest to kids, teens, and adults.  Teachers may want to share it as part of an environmental unit or to talk about ocean currents—perhaps pair it with Tracking Trash by Loree Griffin Burns.  Readers are sure to be more aware of how their actions connect to the ocean and the importance of reducing waste thanks to this book.

No matter how far from the ocean you may be, these books will immerse readers in ocean life, but don’t stop there!  Here are even more great books to take you to the sea:

Big Green Book of the Big Blue Sea by Helaine Becker. January 2012. 9781554537464. Gr. 4-6

Far From Shore: Chronicles of an Open Ocean Voyage by Sophie Webb. 2011. 9780618597291. Gr. 4-6

Make a Splash!: A Kid’s Guide to Protecting Our Oceans, Lakes, and Rivers by Cathryn Berger Kaye. October 2012. 9781575424170. Gr. 4-6

Water Sings Blue: Ocean Poems by Kate Combs. March 2012. 9780811872843. Gr. PS-3

Wow! Ocean! by Robert Neubecker. 2011. 9781423131137. Gr. PS-2

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