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The Ocean and Explorers: Books For Kids

This list of the best kids books about the ocean is sure to include a new favorite for the voracious young reader in your life! From Inky's Amazing Escape to Tomo Explores the World there's something here for everyone's tastes. Do you have a favorite book about the ocean? Let us know!

Inky's Amazing Escape book
#1
Inky's Amazing Escape
Written by Sy Montgomery and illustrated by Amy Schimler-Safford
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Learn all about Inky the Octopus, an international sensation known for escaping from the New Zealand aquarium in April 2016, in this adorable picture book from National Book Award nominee and octopus lover Sy Montgomery. Inky had been at the New Zealand aquarium since 2014 after being taken in by a fisherman who found him at sea. Inky had been getting used to his new environment, but the staff quickly figured out that he had to be kept amused or he would get bored. Then one night in 2016 Inky, about the size of a basketball, decided he’d had enough. He slithered eight feet across the floor and down a drainpipe more than 160 feet long to his home in the sea. Acclaimed author Sy Montogmery reminds readers that Inky didn’t escape—but instead, like the curious animal he is, wanted to explore the rest of the vast ocean he called his home.

Flying Deep Climb Inside Deep Sea Submersible ALVIN book
#2
Flying Deep Climb Inside Deep Sea Submersible ALVIN
Written by Michelle A. Cusolito and illustrated by Nicole Wong
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

Climb aboard Alvin, the famous deep-sea submersible credited with helping to find the Titanic, and take a trip two miles down to the bottom of the ocean. Experience a day in the life of an Alvin pilot, diving two miles down to explore the seafloor, collect samples, and conduct research. Along the way, discover what one wears, eats, and talks about during a typical eight-hour trip in a underwater craft, and find out more about the animals that live deep in our oceans. In expressive, poetic language and gorgeous illustrations, the mysteries of the deep sea are revealed. Backmatter includes an author's note about researching this book, a glossary, and suggested further reading.

Little Explorers: Under the Sea book
#3
Little Explorers: Under the Sea
Written and illustrated by Little Bee Books
board book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Introducing the next book in the LITTLE EXPLORERS series, an interactive nonfiction series for curious youngsters. With more than 30 flaps, UNDER THE SEA provides little ones with hands-on fun! UNDER THE SEA is a lively introduction to all types of sea creatures, where children can lift the flaps to learn about all types of amazing animals and the environment they live in. Young readers will be amazed as they find out all about the coral reef, open ocean, endangered animals, shipwrecks, and much much more! This book features over 30 sturdy flaps to lift, along with charming, kid-friendly artwork that introduces new concepts and vocabulary in a simple and accessible way.

The Sinking of the Vasa book
#4
The Sinking of the Vasa
Written by Russell Freedman and illustrated by William Low
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

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.

Garcia and Colette Go Exploring book
#5
Garcia and Colette Go Exploring
Written by Hannah Barnaby and illustrated by Andrew Joyner
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Exploring outer space and the ocean is exciting, but what if you left something very important at home? Best friends Garcia and Colette are eager to go exploring, only they can’t agree on where to go. Garcia loves everything about space (Stars! Planets!)­ and Colette is obsessed with the sea (Waves! Fish!). Staying home is not an option, so they each get busy. Garcia builds a rocket ship that’s snazzy and silver. Colette’s shiny submarine is perfect for deep-sea dives. And they wish each other well on their travels. It turns out the Milky Way really is amazing and the ocean floor is truly spectacular, but Garcia and Colette both realize they left something very important back home. Exploring your favorite place can be terrific, but maybe the company is more important than the destination.

  1. Great White Shark Adventure - 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.

  2. Island in the Salish Sea - This gorgeously illustrated picture book is a celebration of summer vacation and West Coast island life. Every day is different on Gran’s island in the Salish Sea as granddaughter climbs big-leaf maples, eats blackberries, explores tide pools and sandstone caves and examines ancient middens and petroglyphs. She and Gran watch harbor seals sunning themselves and Gran’s neighbor carving an eagle out of a piece of cedar while drinking fresh nettle tea. And on her way home, our young narrator sees a pod of orcas, breaching,tail lobbing and spy-hopping as she says goodbye to the island for another summer.

  3. Tomo Explores the World - For young makers and explorers comes Tomo Explores the World! On a tiny island far to the north, there lives a young boy named Tomo whose life is filled with fish, fish, and more fish. Tomo was born into a family of the world’s strongest, wisest, and bravest fishermen. But Tomo has a secret—he doesn’t want to fish; he wants to explore the world beyond his small village! When Tomo finds his great-grandfather’s Adventure Journal, full of fantastic inventions to build and exciting quests, he decides to become the greatest explorer in the world. With the help of his best friend, Maya, and his expert tracking dog, Captain, Tomo builds his own boat and sets off on an adventure at sea. On their journey, Tomo, Maya, and Captain learn just how big the world is, and how much there is to discover. Perfect for budding innovators who like to think outside the box, Tomo Explores the World is a fun and inspiring story that emphasizes creativity and imagination to achieve your goals.

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