Spoiler alert: Reading picture books about animals that live in the ocean is such a fun way to learn about marine life. These gorgeous picture books will take you on a whirlwind trip. Learn about marine animals including sea turtles who lay their eggs on the beach and hermit crabs looking for a new home on the coral reefs. You’ll learn why children of all ages benefit from picture books – and hopefully find something to inspire curiosity about sea animals! In this post, you’ll find some of the most beautiful picture books about the world’ s oceans and the sea creatures who live there.
We typically spend our spring break at the beach in South Carolina. I remember several years ago, we were on Edisto Island. We found the most charming locally owned bookstore. It had an huge room dedicated specifically to children’s books – which is like my own personal crack. The boys and I were there every single day. We actually left with multiple bags of books as our vacation souvenirs. We got so many books about animals that live in the ocean – and I’ve included those here. (ok – souvenirs consisted of books from the bookstore and sticker books from the local Bi-Lo!)
Picture Books for Big Kids Too, Please!
Anyone reading a picture book quickly learns that you have to look closely to ferret out clues and derive meaning. When kids read picture books, the are also learning to read deeply.
Educators call this “visual literacy,” and while it refers most directly to the creation and reading of images, it extends more broadly to understanding communication and interaction. We live in a highly visual culture, and if inculcating “21st-century skills” — teaching your child to communicate through a Google slide show, write code or create a video presentation — is what you’re after, then encouraging the reading of picture books serves the purpose.Your Kids Aren’t Too Old for Picture Books, and Neither Are You
Whaaaaaat? Yes. Picture books can do all of that. And…bet you’ve never thought of this. The vocabulary in picture books can be quite advanced as can the syntax of the sentences. Why? Because they are intended to be read by, you guessed it, adults!
So check out our list of picture books about animals that live in the ocean and find one that inspires you with gorgeous artwork and a fabulous story!
On one day waves ran up to meet two children and left seashells lying on the beach. Shells found this day are the beginning of a collection. At the end of the book are two pages showing the shells arranged and labeled, and there are also two pages telling how shells are made.
Familiar Burgess character Danny Meadow Mouse finds himself aboard an airplane, and then the seashore, where all the creatures are very different from those he is used to seeing.
Danny and his friends Jimmy Skunk and Reddy Fox explore every nook and cranny of the shoreline and learn first hand about the habits and habitats of spider crabs, sea cucumbers, sand eels, and that strangest of little fishes — the sea horse.
Wednesday is a whale who lives in a fishbowl smack dab in the middle of a city--it's the only home she's ever known. But if she leaps high enough out of her bowl, Wednesday can see it: a calm bit of blue off in the distance. When a girl in a paisley dress tells Wednesday "You belong in the sea," the whale starts to wonder, what is the sea? Readers will cheer--and get all choked up-- when, one day, Wednesday leaps higher than ever before and sets in motion a breathtaking chain of events that will carry her to her rightful home.
A hairy red hermit crab who has outgrown his shell searches for a new one among the creatures of Australia's Great Barrier Reef, in a tale that includes a key which identifies the coral reef animals in the illustrations.
Here is the incredible story of Elizabeth, a real-life elephant seal who made her home in the Avon River in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand. When Elizabeth decides to stretch out across a two-lane road, the citizens worry she might get hurt or cause traffic accidents, so a group of volunteers tows her out to sea. But Elizabeth swims all the way back to Christchurch. The volunteers catch her again and again—each time towing her farther, even hundreds of miles away—but, still, Elizabeth finds her way back home.
If you homeschool, these are terrific resources for a deep dive under ocean waters to focus on a sea life themed unit study (you see what I did there, right???)
The resources below will give you a fabulous game; biographies of scientists and artists who studied the ocean; non-fiction titles to learn more about marine biology; awesome, beautiful, and silly poetry about the ocean to use for language arts; and the book Ocean Anatomy.
We love Ocean Anatomy as it will show you “how the world’s oceans formed, why the sea is salty, and the forces behind oceanic phenomena such as rogue waves. Colorful anatomical profiles of sea creatures from crustacean to cetacean, surveys of seafaring vessels and lighthouses, and the impact of plastic and warming water temperatures are just part of this compendium of curiosities that will entertain and educate readers of all ages.”
Glashka is the only one in her village who can hear the voice of Narna, the whale. That gift leads her to great responsibility one day, when she discovers thousands of whales trapped in an inlet. The narrow route to the sea is rapidly icing over, and every day ice covers more of the open water the whales need to breathe. There seems to be no way out. . . . This story, based on an actual event, tells of a dramatic rescue--a tale of bravery and faith and the power of music.
Young Mark spends a busy, noisy day helping out at Gram's seaside hot dog stand. After the last customer is served and the grill is scrubbed to a silvery shine, Mark sails off with Gram for a promised surprise, and finds a nighttime sea full of shimmering moonjellies.
Just imagine—you are a young orca whale. Your special friends are two cousins and your 100 year-old great grandmother, the clan leader. You learn to play with them, face danger with them, hunt with them—and even go people-watching with them! Based on actual orca, or killer whale, research, this book combines science with the real story of how family, friendship, and a grandmother's love are helping this magnificent but endangered orca clan to survive.
Follow a goggle-eyed octopus as she jets through the shadows, tentacles flying behind her. Finally she finds a well-hidden den in which to lay her eggs, which will dangle from the roof like grapes on a string. In silky verse, Karen Wallace explores the mysterious world of the octopus, while Mike Bostock’s flowing illustrations bring that world vividly to life.
A triumphant story of environmental activism, community, and friendship: Acclaimed activist Philippe Cousteau and renowned author Deborah Hopkinson team up to offer a story of the powerful difference young people can make in the world. Meet Viv, who has a new home and a new school by the sea and follow her as she finds her way in a new place and helps bring together a whole community to save the sea turtles of the South Carolina coast.
I hope that you have found one or more gorgeous picture books about animals that live in the ocean to inspire your curiosity. And I hope that that this can be a jumping off point to open up a rich curiosity about ocean animals and how they have adapted to life in the ocean.
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