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Shipwrecks: Books For Kids

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

As you can see, this list of kids books about shipwrecks is a work in progress! We’re currently exploring the best books available, and we’d love your input. If you have a title you’d suggest including on our list of kids books about shipwrecks, please share it with us!

We’ll be featuring a variety of titles on our list, from well known classics to popular bestsellers to lesser known titles that deserve a bigger audience. We’re also including books for a range of ages, from board books for babies and toddlers, to picture books for preschool and kindergarten age kids, to chapter books for early elementary age kids.

We’d love to hear any book suggestions you have—you can comment below or email us at [email protected].

The Circus Ship
Written & illustrated by Chris Van Dusen
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

After courageously swimming to shore when the ship that they are traveling on sinks and the wretched captain does nothing to rescue them, circus animals find a way to become a valued part of a coastal community.

Simon and the Bear: A Hanukkah Tale
Written by Eric A. Kimmel & illustrated by Matthew Trueman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Before Simon sails to America, he promises his family that he will get a job and send for them. Simon’s mother knows he will need a miracle, so she reminds him to celebrate Hanukkah wherever he may be. Little does either of them know that Simon will spend the first night of Hanukkah on an ice floe after his ship sinks.The lone survivor out in the wide ocean, Simon lights the first candle, and it attracts a visitor: a polar bear. Does she eat him? No! She shares his latkes, enjoys his songs, goes fishing for him, and even keeps him warm at night. By the last day of Hanukkah, Simon has nearly given up hope of ever being rescued. But then he recounts all of the miracles that have befallen him so far. Perhaps it is not too much to hope for one more, he thinks, as he lights all of the candles in the menorah. The bright glow signals a passing ship, and Simon makes it to New York after all. This fanciful Hanukkah tale-like none you’ve ever read before-celebrates eight miracles: family, friendship, hope, selflessness, sharing, faith, courage, and love. A retelling of the ancient Hanukkah story is included on the last page.

The Girl Who Sailed the Stars
Written & illustrated by Matilda Woods
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

When Oona Britt was born in the magical town of Nordlor, where all of the homes are built from wrecked ships, her parents never expected her to be a girl. Having listened to a faulty prediction from a washed-up soothsayer, they were promised a “bold and brave son,” so as the youngest of seven sisters, Oona’s birth became a disappointment — especially to her sea captain father, who doesn’t believe there’s a place for girls aboard ships.

But Oona is different from the rest of her family. She longs for adventure and knowledge. So she steals aboard her father’s ship just as he’s about to set sail for his annual winter whale hunt, and suddenly finds herself in the midst of a grand adventure! The ship has its own sea cat, Barnacles, and a navigator named Haroyld, who show Oona how to follow the stars. But for all that, Oona’s father is furious. Can she prove to him that she’s worth his love and pride, even though she’s not the bold and brave son he was promised?

This follow-up to The Boy, the Bird & the Coffin Maker carries just as much heart and charm as Matilda Woods’s first novel. The characters, story, and illustrations will dazzle readers.

Tonight on the Titanic
Written by Mary Pope Osborne & illustrated by Sal Murdocca
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Titanic trouble! Jack and Annie are in for an exciting, scary, and sad adventure when the Magic Tree House whisks them back to the decks of the Titanic. Is there anything they can do to help the ill-fated ship? Will they be able to save anyone? Will they be able to save themselves?

The Bravest Man in the World
Written & illustrated by Patricia Polacco
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

One afternoon, Jonathan Harker Weeks didn’t feel like practicing the piano. So his grandfather decided to tell him a story to show how much of an impact music can have. When he was a child growing up poor in Ireland, his mother made sure he learned to play the fiddle, despite their challenges. After his mother passed away and he was on his own, Jonathan’s grandfather fell asleep hiding in a mail sack and was taken to a ship. When he woke up, he realized he was on the Titanic on its maiden voyage, and it was there that he met Wallace Hartley and Mrs. Weeks, a kind man and woman who took him in. Then one night, the majestic ship hit an iceberg. He and Mrs. Weeks were put on a lifeboat—and Mr. Hartley and his band bravely continued to play to calm the crew and passengers. The story of Wallace Hartley is true and he is known throughout the world as a hero. The New York Times bestselling author and illustrator of The Keeping Quilt Patricia Polacco offers this stunning and heartbreaking picture book to celebrate the memory and bravery of a single man who used the power of music to comfort thousands of people during a catastrophic situation.

  • The Sinking of the Vasa - Newbery Medalist Freedman explores the mystery of the sinking of the great Swedish warship, the “Vasa, “ on her maiden voyage in 1628, and her resurrection from the seas centuries later. Full color.

  • The Unsinkable Walker Bean and the Knights of the Waxing Moon - SHIPWRECKED! After their perilous encounter with the sea-witches, Walker and the pirate crew of the Jacklight find refuge on a deserted island. But it might not be as deserted as it seems—shadowy creatures have been spotted in the jungle, and strange animal tracks appear overnight. When Walker, Shiv, and Genoa discover a secret passage and mysterious ruins, the dark history of the archipelago begins to unravel. Legend tells of a mad king, a fallen civilization, and a powerful royal family in search of their lost sister. And for reasons Walker can’t understand, Genoa seems to be at the center of it all. In this triumphant follow-up to the epic graphic novel The Unsinkable Walker Bean, Aaron Renier is back with more breathtaking art and high-sea adventure.

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