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Sea Creatures: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best children's books about sea creatures?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to sea creatures. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about sea creatures.

Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid.

When it comes to children’s stories about sea creatures, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Baby Beluga to popular sellers like The Storm Whale to some of our favorite hidden gems like The Whale in My Swimming Pool .

We hope this list of kids books about sea creatures can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book! As you explore the list, please comment below to let us know what books you would add.

The Blue Whale book
#1
The Blue Whale
Written and illustrated by Jenni Desmond
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

An introduction to the world of the giant blue whale combines engaging facts with evocative illustrations that compare the whale’s enormous size to objects in the everyday world.

Smart about Sharks book
#2
Smart about Sharks
Written and illustrated by Owen Davey
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

Did you know that sharks can detect electrical currents from other creatures? Or that some are covered in little tassels? Sharks are pretty incredible – some can even walk out of the water!

In this beautiful book from talented illustrator Owen Davey, you are sure to learn new and fascinating facts about these wonderful fish!

The Whale in My Swimming Pool  book
#3
The Whale in My Swimming Pool
Written and illustrated by Joyce Wan
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

One sunny day, a little boy heads outside for a swim, but his pool is already taken . . . There’s a big whale in the water and it’s not budging! The boy tries everything to get the whale to leave. Nothing seems to work. Not fetch. Not tag. Not even offering his allowance. What’s a boy to do? Luckily, he comes up with the perfect solution: he decides to chill out on a spray of water over the whale’s spout. This colorful whale of a tale from the talented Joyce Wan is sure to inspire giggles from little guppies!

The Fisherman & the Whale book
#4
The Fisherman & the Whale
Written and illustrated by Jessica Lanan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Jessica Lanan’s dreamy and dramatic watercolor paintings bring to life a wordless story about wonder in the natural world. A fisherman takes his son for a trip out on the water. When they encounter a whale entangled at sea, they realize a connection that transcends the animal kingdom.

Waiting for Chicken Smith book
#5
Waiting for Chicken Smith
Written and illustrated by David Mackintosh
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

A story about childhood friendships, anticipation, and the magic moments that arise while you’re waiting for something else to happen. Every year a young boy stays in the same cabin at the beach with his family. And every year his friend Chicken Smith stays in the next cabin over. But this year, something’s different: Chicken Smith hasn’t shown up yet. The boy’s little sister, MaryAnn, keeps trying to get his attention, but he’s too busy remembering all of his adventures with Chicken Smith — and thinking about everything they’re going to do this summer. Is Chicken ever going to show up? And just what has MaryAnn been yelling about? David Mackintosh’s ode to small summer wonders will make readers of all ages open their eyes to the quick, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moments happening all around them.

  1. Land Shark - The only thing Bobby wants for his birthday is a pet shark. So you can imagine his disappointment when his parents get him…a puppy. Everyone knows shark lovers can never become dog lovers. Or can they? Full of humor and heart, this book explores the idea that sometimes, getting exactly what you don’t want turns out to be exactly what you need.

  2. Shark Nate-O - Nate loves sharks. He reads shark books every day, watches sharks on TV, and talks about them nonstop. He even likes to pretend he’s a shark wherever he goes! However, there is one small problem. . . . Nate can’t swim. When his older brother points this out, Nate works hard to overcome his fears and learn how to blow bubbles, use a kickboard, and finally swim without help, as quickly and as gracefully as a shark. Will he be able to beat his brother in a swim tryout and get his bite back? Kids will love this jawsome book complete with vibrant and whimsical art and a list of shark facts in the back!

  3. Yellow Kayak - A child and his beloved best friend go on a grand sea adventure in this magical picture book by the author and artist who created If I Had a Little Dream. You just never know what a new day will hold if you are brave enough to find out. On one quiet afternoon, a boy and his special friend’s unexpected adventure bring joy and excitement and sights never imagined. And the best part of any adventure is returning home with stories to tell and you best friend at your side.

  4. The Storm Whale in Winter - In this sequel to The Storm Whale, the boy, Noi, is caught in a storm at sea and his whale friend comes to his rescue. When Noi’s dad sails out on one last fishing trip before winter, Noi waits for him at home. But as the storm worsens and his dad does not return, Noi decides to go looking for his dad. But the storm is powerful and dangerous, and soon Noi, too, is stuck in the icy sea. When it seems that all hope is lost, a friend comes to help Noi and his father. Poignant and evocative, this is a beautiful celebration of friendship and family, and the special bond between a father and son.

The Storm Whale book
#10
The Storm Whale
Written and illustrated by Benji Davies
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Every day, in a house by the sea, a little boy watches his father leave for work. One night, a storm washes a small whale onto the beach. The boy discovers the whale is a good listener, and the father discovers the boy is lonely. Together, they return the whale to the sea, and the boy realizes his father can be a good listener, too. Full color.

Squishy Squashy Whale book
#11
Squishy Squashy Whale
Written and illustrated by Jenny Copper
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Squish and squash the whale as you read the rhyming story and discover all the things that Whale loves to do. Perfect for interactive play, for shared reading or for reading alone, these delightful, touchable books are full of fun!

Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean's Most Fearless Scientist book
#12
Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean's Most Fearless Scientist
Written by Jess Keating and illustrated by Marta Alvarez Miguens and Jess Keating
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A beautifully illustrated biography of Eugenie Clark, a scientist as impressive as the sharks she studied At nine years old, Eugenie Clark developed an unexpected passion for sharks after a visit to the Battery Park Aquarium in New York City. At the time, sharks were seen as mindless killing machines, but Eugenie knew better and set out to prove it. Despite many obstacles in her path, including trying to break into the scientific field as a woman, Eugenie was able to study the creatures she loved so much. From her many discoveries to the shark-related myths she dispelled, Eugenie’s wide scientific contributions led to the well-earned nickname “Shark Lady,” as she become a fixture in the world of ocean conservation and shark research.

I Won a What? book
#13
I Won a What?
Written by Audrey Vernick and illustrated by Robert Neubecker
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

The hilarious and heartwarming story of a boy who tries to win a goldfish and winds up with FAR more than he bargained for . . .

A young boy wins a humongous new pet at the carnival, and before long, they become fast friends. But his parents are skeptical. After all, Nuncio doesn’t even fit in the house! Will the gargantuan goldfish have to go? Or will the family find a way to give him the home he deserves?

Fans of Sparky will flip for this whale of a tale from Audrey Vernick, author of Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten? and featuring illustrations from Wow! City! illustrator Robert Neubecker.

Bunny Built book
#14
Bunny Built
Written and illustrated by Michael Slack
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

A construction bunny learns a creative lesson in sharing and friendship when he meets the biggest carrot of his life. LaRue was very handy. His toolbox had everything and industrious bunny could ever need. Everything, that is, except carrots. But then LaRue stumbles onto a special seed. With proper tending, this seed quickly grows into an ENORMOUS CARROT! What’s a bunny to do with so much carrot? In a stroke of construction genius (and generosity), LaRue has the answer. This clever story celebrates just what it means to be a friend. A Christy Ottaviano Book

  1. Sea Creatures from the Sky - Ricardo Cortés’s stunning seascapes follow the story of a shark that has a story to share about creatures who live above the ocean. At its surface, our shark encounters strange-looking creatures who resemble nice, caring marine biologists. But after they release it back into the ocean, the shark cannot find one friend to believe its tale. Filled with humor and warmth, this book will charm children and parents alike.

  2. Ocean - How do fish breathe? Why is the ocean salty? Why is a whale not a fish? Find out the answers to these and many more questions in this brilliant interactive lift-the-flap fact book. Embark on an epic journey under the sea looking for fish and other ocean creatures beneath the waves, learn what shells are for, find out which sea creatures are the most dangerous, and take a closer look at a coral reef. This fascinating fact-filled book is the perfect introduction to life under the sea.

  3. Shark in the Dark - The shark has been lurking in the deep, dark sea, searching for a fishy snack. He’s big and he’s mean and he’s always hungry. Tired of fleeing the shark, the other seas creatures come up with a plan. If they all work together it might be possible to teach the shark a lesson he’ll never forget. With a lively rhyming text; bright, expressive illustrations; and a playful die-cut cover, this is one shark’s tale that will be a hit either at story hour . . . or feeding time.

  4. Lloyd Finds His Whalesong - Lloyd can’t sing. The rhythm of the whalesong guides the whales through danger and connects them to each other. But Lloyd is too quiet to join in. If he can’t sing, how can he be a part of the pod? Then one day he finds a magical, mysterious object with supersonic seaweed strings! This could be his chance to be part of the song. He practices and practices, nervously preparing to show the other whales. But before he can perform for them, a disruptive, noisy boat approaches and scatters the pod. Lloyd’s powerful new instrument may be the only thing that can reunite them―if he can find the courage to share his unique song. This inspiring and whimsical tale about celebrating your differences and finding your voice is complemented by bright and endearing illustrations that sparkle with quiet magic.

Water Sings Blue book
#19
Water Sings Blue
Written by Kate Coombs and illustrated by Meilo So
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Come down to the shore with this rich and vivid celebration of the ocean! With watercolors gorgeous enough to wade in by award-winning artist Meilo So and playful, moving poems by Kate Coombs, Water Sings Blue evokes the beauty and power, the depth and mystery, and the endless resonance of the sea.

The Boy and the Whale book
#20
The Boy and the Whale
Written and illustrated by Mordicai Gerstein
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

A boy and his father discover a whale tangled in their only fishing net. Is the whale dead? While the man worries about losing their net, the boy worries about the whale. He remembers the fear he felt when, caught in a net himself in childhood, he almost drowned before being rescued by his father. When the whale blinks an enormous eye, the boy knows that he has to try to save the creature, no matter how dangerous doing so may be.

Expressive and perfectly paced, this powerful story, The Boy and the Whale, by Caldecott Medal–winner Mordicai Gerstein was inspired in part by a real-life video of a whale’s rescue, and the creature’s joyful dance through the waves after being freed.

Rainbow Fish and the Big Blue Whale book
#21
Rainbow Fish and the Big Blue Whale
Written and illustrated by Marcus Pfister
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

An adorable Rainbow Fish board book! It’s a whale of a tale in which a terrible misunderstanding escalates, putting Rainbow Fish and his friends in great danger, and Rainbow Fish must try to make peace with a big blue whale to save them all from disaster. When a big blue whale comes to live near their reef, there is a misunderstanding between him and Rainbow Fish and his friends that leaves everyone very unhappy and hungry.

Sharko and Hippo book
#22
Sharko and Hippo
Written by Elliott Kalan and illustrated by Andrea Tsurumi
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Sharkee & the Teddy Bear book
#23
Sharkee & the Teddy Bear
Written and illustrated by Ripley Publishing
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Brand new picture books from Ripley’s feature fun and engaging stories around two favorite Ripley’s Aquarium mascots—Sharkee the sand tiger shark and Bremner the pufferfish. Filled with expressive illustrations, silly situations, and lovable characters, kids and parents alike will be enchanted by each of these charming “tails”! A teddy bear has fallen into the ocean, but there were witnesses. And they want the teddy bear. Join Sharkee and his sassy sidekick as they search for the bear, stopping to ask all sorts of marine animals along the way with varying degrees of silliness. Told from Sharkee’s point of view, this bubbly tail will have young readers giggling at Sharkee’s hilarious encounters and parents entertained by the adorable ending. Will Sharkee ever find the teddy bear? There’s only one way to find out!

  1. Shark Dog and the School Trip Rescue! - Splash! It’s a shark! Woof! No wait, it’s a dog! Hey! It’s Shark Dog: a one-of-a-kind pet! And this time, he’s joining Ms. Ablett’s class on their school trip. For Shark Dog, a trip to the woods means: Jumping in a pond full of frogs! Frolicking in mud! And shaking off mud! The great outdoors is loads of fun and nothing short of an adventure for a pet like Shark Dog. But the muddy fun stops when there’s a loud cry coming from the woods. An animal is in trouble, and it’s up to Shark Dog to save the day! FOLLOW THAT SHARK DOG! From author-illustrator Ged Adamson, Shark Dog and the School Trip Rescue! is the perfect back-to-school book for fans of such favorites as Hello, My Name Is Octicorn, Not Quite Narwhal, and The Adventures of Beekle.

  2. Way Down Below Deep - Swim with the ocean’s most secret creatures! What mysteries lurk at the bottom of the ocean? Discover some of the world’s most fascinating animals, such as anglerfish, luring prey to a toothy doom with a siren’s light; vampire squid, peering forth with red eyes; and sea cucumbers, filtering food from the water passing through their bodies. Follow the lanternfish as he lights the way down to the mysterious deep, where whale worms sprout from bones and all varieties of jellies float free. Children will learn about these bizarre bottom-dwellers through clever rhymes and captivating drawings that bring this sunless land to light. Fun, sometimes silly, facts and images accompany each rhyming marine description.

  3. Swimming with Sharks - Before Eugenie Clark’s groundbreaking research, most people thought sharks were vicious, blood-thirsty killers. From the first time she saw a shark in an aquarium, Japanese-American Eugenie was enthralled. Instead of frightening and ferocious eating machines, she saw sleek, graceful fish gliding through the water. After she became a scientist—an unexpected career path for a woman in the 1940s—she began taking research dives and training sharks, earning her the nickname “The Shark Lady.”

  4. Baby Beluga - Presents the illustrated text to the song about the little white whale who swims wild and free.

Dude! book
#28
Dude!
Written by Aaron Reynolds
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

The author of Nerdy Berdy and Creepy Carrots! teams up with the Caldecott–winning illustrator behind The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend to create the hilarious, gnarly summer adventure picture book, Dude! Dude! You have to read this book. It’s totally about this platypus and this beaver who are friends. They want to go surfing but dude, there’s this shark who’s in the ocean, too. But don’t worry. This shark approaches and you’ll never guess what happens.

After Squidnight book
#29
After Squidnight
Written and illustrated by Jonathan E. Fenske
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
10 Reasons to Love... a Whale book
#30
10 Reasons to Love... a Whale
Written by Catherine Barr and illustrated by Hanako Clulow
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Blue whales are incredible creatures! Did you know they are the largest animal on earth? Or that they sing songs across the ocean? Discover ten reasons why whales are amazing and five ways you can show they love them in this gorgeous picture book. A must for any young animal enthusiast and a fantastic introduction to environmental issues.

Sam Wu Is Not Afraid of Sharks book
#31
Sam Wu Is Not Afraid of Sharks
Written by Kevin Tsang and Katie Tsang and illustrated by Nathan Reed
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-12

On a class trip to the aquarium, certified ghost hunter Sam Wu encounters something even scarier than ghosts: a giant shark who TOTALLY tries to eat him. Sam has no intentions of taking any more chances with these people-eating creatures. But then his classmates plan a birthday bash . . . on the BEACH! Can Sam overcome his fear of becoming fish food before he misses out on the fun?

Long Fin Silver book
#32
Long Fin Silver
Written by Davy Ocean and illustrated by Aaron Blecha
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Harry Hammer looks for the lost treasure of Long Fin Silver, the greatest pirate of the deep seas, in this ninth Shark School (mis)adventure.

Harry Hammer can’t believe his luck! He and his family are going on vacation to Treasure Reef, home of The Lost Treasure of that dastardly, long-ago pirate Long Fin Silver. Legend has it that Long Fin buried the Black Blood Pearl, the most valuable and beautiful gem in the history of the ocean. Harry and his pesky cousin Harvey are on the hunt for treasure, but they best beware of where they look, as they’re about to come fin-to-fin with the spooky spirit of Long Fin Silver himself!

  1. Storm Whale - A captivating and beautifully illustrated story about three sisters who nd a stranded whale on the beach. Bleak was the day and the wind whipped down when I and my sisters walked to town . . . With a powerful, poetic text, wonderful to read aloud, and illustrations full of life and movement, this picture book about three sisters finding a stranded whale celebrates the majesty and vulnerability of nature and our place in it.

  2. A Whale's World - A Whale’s World follows a pod of spy-hopping orcas as they explore the ecosystems of the Great Bear Sea while hunting for their next meal. Past rocky shores and through kelp forests,they observe foraging wolves, hungry grizzly bears, curious black bears, graceful fin whales, splashing porpoises,slippery seals and other members of the Pacific coastal food web.The book gives readers a fun introduction to the many ways that marine and land animals interact with their environments and with each other.

  3. How to Survive as a Shark - Ahoy, me mateys! Upset your Mom swam away after you were born? Cry me an ocean. You’ve got ME to show you the ropes! Well, at least until I get a craving for baby shark. Swim along and I’ll teach you how to hunt using all six senses (a whole sense more than a human), why you can NEVER stop moving (blimey, no - not even to sleep!), and what your most dangerous threat is (here’s a hint: those sneaky landlubbers don’t even live in our waters!). Aye, me hearties, learning How to Survive as a Shark is not as easy as it sounds! How to Survive as a Shark provides a unique take on fish science that will entertain and educate in and out of the classroom. Full of opportunities for extended learning, this book includes fun facts hidden throughout the hilarious illustrated story – and after, a glossary of important terms and some real photos of great white sharks. If you’ve ever wondered how to think and swim like a shark, and you like to laugh while you learn, this book is for you!

  4. The Ocean Calls - A breathtaking picture book featuring a Korean girl and her haenyeo (free diving) grandmother about intergenerational bonds, finding courage in the face of fear, and connecting with our natural world. Dayeon wants to be a haenyeo just like Grandma. The haenyeo dive off the coast of Jeju Island to pluck treasures from the sea—generations of Korean women have done so for centuries. To Dayeon, the haenyeo are as strong and graceful as mermaids. To give her strength, Dayeon eats Grandma’s abalone porridge. She practices holding her breath while they do the dishes. And when Grandma suits up for her next dive, Dayeon grabs her suit, flippers, and goggles. A scary memory of the sea keeps Dayeon clinging to the shore, but with Grandma’s guidance, Dayeon comes to appreciate the ocean’s many gifts. Tina Cho’s The Ocean Calls, with luminous illustrations by muralist Jess X. Snow, is a classic in the making.

Bremner & the Party book
#37
Bremner & the Party
Written and illustrated by Ripley Publishing
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Brand new picture books from Ripley’s feature fun and engaging stories around two favorite Ripley’s Aquarium mascots—Sharkee the sand tiger shark and Bremner the pufferfish. Filled with expressive illustrations, silly situations, and lovable characters, kids and parents alike will be enchanted by each of these charming “tails”! Bremner the pufferfish is going to a party. Tonight. Gulp! And he’s nervous. And he knows what happens when he gets nervous. He puffs up. And he definitely doesn’t want to puff up. Children and parents alike will laugh their way through Bremner’s nervous dialogue as he goes off the deep end before joining the party. Will Bremner puff up and ruin the celebration? There’s only one way to find out!

Hunt for the Octo-shark book
#38
Hunt for the Octo-shark
Written by Michael Anthony Steele and illustrated by Pauline Reeves
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

When the rest of the Nearly Fearless Monkey Pirates don’t believe that octo-sharks are real, Captain Banana Beard insists they go on a hunt for the mythical creature. Will the crew discover anything more than trouble in this swashbuckling adventure?

Rainbow Fish to the Rescue! book
#39
Rainbow Fish to the Rescue!
Written and illustrated by Marcus Pfister
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

Although his friends want to ignore the new striped fish in their midst, Rainbow Fish must decide whether to help him when a shark attacks in a sequel to the best-seller, The Rainbow Fish.

A Book about Whales book
#40
A Book about Whales
Written and illustrated by Andrea Antinori
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Acting as a first book of whales, A Book About Whales teaches young readers everything they need to know about the largest mammals on earth: how they have evolved over millions of years, what and how they eat, their migration patterns, and more! Andrea Antinori’s whimsical black-and-white illustrations bring their underwater world to life. The book discusses a variety of whales one by one so readers learn to tell the differences between a blue whale and a humpback whale, among others, and what makes each of these whales unique. Packed with facts and playful in tone, this book is a must-have for young and curious nature lovers. It includes a bibliography and index.

Great White Shark Adventure book
#41
Great White Shark Adventure
Written by James O. Fraioli and Fabien Cousteau and illustrated by Joe St.Pierre
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Two young explorers join Fabien Cousteau and his team to get up close and personal with great white sharks in this start to a series of graphic adventure novels.

Junior explorers Bella and Marcus join famed explorer Fabien Cousteau and his research team as they embark on an ocean journey off the coast of South Africa, where the world’s largest concentrations of great white sharks are found. Their mission is to investigate a sighting of a massive white shark, and tag it so they can track and protect it. Along the way, they’ll encounter whales, seals, dolphins, penguins, and a colorful array of other marine life. They’ll also enter a shark cage and come face to face with these powerful creatures.

Dramatic, graphic illustrations and a compelling story help young readers discover tons of facts about sharks and other marine creatures. Children will also learn the many damaging myths about sharks, why they are so misunderstood, and what is being done to protect them from further exploitation and possible extinction.

  1. Chomp: A Shark Romp - Dive in to the depths of the ocean to discover different species of sharks in this nonfiction picture book with simple text and illustrations. Many different kinds of sharks are swimming below the ocean’s surface. Some sharks are gentle, and some sharks are fierce. Some are awake in the day, and some are awake at night. Some eat almost anything, and some are very picky. You may not be able to visit their watery world, but you can always visit them up close at the aquarium. Simple text and bold illustrations take young explorers on a deep dive through the ocean full of sharks. Don’t Miss More from Michael Paul in Roar: A Dinosaur Tour!

Did you enjoy our children's book recommendations? Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!

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