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Water Sports: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best kids books about water sports?

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

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, and you can also use our table of contents to jump to particular topics you think your kid will enjoy.

When it comes to children’s stories about water sports, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Froggy Learns to Swim to popular sellers like Swallows and Amazons to some of our favorite hidden gems like Jabari Jumps.

We hope this list of kids books about water sports can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book!

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Top 10 Books About Water Sports

#1
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Jabari Jumps
Written & illustrated by Gaia Cornwall
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Working up the courage to take a big, important leap is hard, but Jabari is almost absolutely ready to make a giant splash.

Jabari is definitely ready to jump off the diving board. He’s finished his swimming lessons and passed his swim test, and he’s a great jumper, so he’s not scared at all. “Looks easy,” says Jabari, watching the other kids take their turns. But when his dad squeezes his hand, Jabari squeezes back. He needs to figure out what kind of special jump to do anyway, and he should probably do some stretches before climbing up onto the diving board. In a sweetly appealing tale of overcoming your fears, newcomer Gaia Cornwall captures a moment between a patient and encouraging father and a determined little boy you can’t help but root for.

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#2
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The Whale in My Swimming Pool
Written & 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!

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#3
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Lottie & Walter
Written & illustrated by Anna Walker
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

An original, compelling, and visually stunning treatment of a common childhood predicament: overcoming a fear of the water.

Lottie goes to swim lessons every Saturday, but she never gets in the water. That’s because she is convinced there is a shark in the pool, a shark that wants to eat her and only her. But then Walter appears. Walter likes singing and reading books and bubble baths, and his favorite food is fish sticks, just like Lottie. When Saturday rolls around again, Lottie is no more ready to jump in the pool than she was before. Or is she? Sometimes it just takes a special friend to find the courage that was inside you all along.

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#4
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Shark Nate-O
Written by Becky Cattie and Tara Luebbe & illustrated by Daniel Duncan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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!

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#5
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Pop-Up Ocean
Written & illustrated by Ingela P. Arrhenius
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

The illustrator of the oversize hit Animals offers a pair of eye-catching miniature pop-up books sure to make waves and transport imaginations. Dive into a cool underwater who’s who and what’s what of the sea in this palm-size pop-up treasure. Discover ocean dwellers like the crab, octopus, and sea horse as they make a splash in vivid hues of coral and ultramarine and swim through spreads featuring familiar aquatic items – from a fishing boat to a lighthouse to a submarine.

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#6
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How to Train with a T. Rex and Win 8 Gold Medals
Written by Michael Phelps & illustrated by Ward Jenkins and Alan Abrahamson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

With his record-breaking eight gold medals won for swimming in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, Phelps became an international sensation. In this picture book, Phelps explains the mind-boggling statistics of his years of training in terms young kids can understand. Full color.

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#7
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A Ben of All Trades: The Most Inventive Boyhood of Benjamin Franklin
Written by Michael J. Rosen & illustrated by Matt Tavares
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

A rousing biography from Michael J. Rosen and Matt Tavares reveals how Benjamin Franklin’s boyhood shaped his amazingly multifaceted life.

Young Benjamin Franklin wants to be a sailor, but his father won’t hear of it. The other trades he tries – candle maker, joiner, boot closer, turner – bore him through and through. Curious and inventive, Ben prefers to read, swim, fly his kite, and fly his kite while swimming. But each time he fails to find a profession, he takes some important bit of knowledge with him. That tendency is exactly what leads him to become the astonishingly versatile genius we remember today. Inspired by The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Michael J. Rosen’s wry tale captures Ben’s spirit in evocative yet playful language, while illustrations by Matt Tavares follow Ben from the workbench to the water in vivid detail. A love story to the value of variety, A Ben of All Trades sheds light on an unconventional path to greatness and humanizes a towering figure in American history.

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#8
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Fruits in Suits
Written & illustrated by Jared Chapman
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

Have you ever seen a banana in a bikini? Or a tangerine in trunks? What about grapes in goggles? In this uproarious follow-up to Vegetables in Underwear, kids will learn that there are many kinds of suits–including suits for swimming, surfing, sunbathing, and scuba diving. But can you wear a business suit to the beach? Fruits in Suitshas the same irreverent silliness as Vegetables in Underwearand shows just how much fun swimsuits can be–and how important it is to hold on to them when you jump into the water!

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#9
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Little Pig Saves the Ship
Written & illustrated by David Hyde Costello
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Little Pig is back in Little Pig Saves the Ship! When the sea-faring pigs go a-sailing! Intrepid Little Pig — still the littlest pig in the family — is too little to go to summer camp with his older brothers and sisters. He is left behind with Grandpa and Poppy. Little Pig and Poppy make and sail a toy ship all week, but on Saturday a gusty wind takes the ship into the current, and Little Pig has to use his newfound knot-tying skills to save the day.

A sweetly told intergenerational story about how even the littlest can make a big difference.

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#10
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Maisy's Pool
Written & illustrated by Lucy Cousins
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Maisy’s fun and familiar world reflects the lively adventures young children have every day.

In Maisy’s Pool, Maisy and her friends splash in a wading pool. As always, toddlers, preschoolers, and parents will find the ordinary extraordinary with Maisy!

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Table of Contents
Scroll to books about Water Sports and...

Books About Water Sports and Swimming

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Jabari Jumps
Written & illustrated by Gaia Cornwall
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Working up the courage to take a big, important leap is hard, but Jabari is almost absolutely ready to make a giant splash.

Jabari is definitely ready to jump off the diving board. He’s finished his swimming lessons and passed his swim test, and he’s a great jumper, so he’s not scared at all. “Looks easy,” says Jabari, watching the other kids take their turns. But when his dad squeezes his hand, Jabari squeezes back. He needs to figure out what kind of special jump to do anyway, and he should probably do some stretches before climbing up onto the diving board. In a sweetly appealing tale of overcoming your fears, newcomer Gaia Cornwall captures a moment between a patient and encouraging father and a determined little boy you can’t help but root for.

Buy book
$15.99
Bookshop
$13.59
Amazon
$12.76
Used $6.98
Prices as of Apr 12
Add to list
The Whale in My Swimming Pool
Written & 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!

Buy book
$7.99
Bookshop
$6.79
Amazon
$7.99
Used $7.99
Prices as of Apr 12
Add to list
How to Train with a T. Rex and Win 8 Gold Medals
Written by Michael Phelps & illustrated by Ward Jenkins and Alan Abrahamson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

With his record-breaking eight gold medals won for swimming in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, Phelps became an international sensation. In this picture book, Phelps explains the mind-boggling statistics of his years of training in terms young kids can understand. Full color.

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Honorable Mentions
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  1. Fruits in Suits - Have you ever seen a banana in a bikini? Or a tangerine in trunks? What about grapes in goggles? In this uproarious follow-up to Vegetables in Underwear, kids will learn that there are many kinds of suits–including suits for swimming, surfing, sunbathing, and scuba diving. But can you wear a business suit to the beach? Fruits in Suitshas the same irreverent silliness as Vegetables in Underwearand shows just how much fun swimsuits can be–and how important it is to hold on to them when you jump into the water!

  2. Ruby & Rufus - In this preschool tale from the world of Gossie & Friends, water-loving goslings Ruby and Rufus play on the pond come rain, sleet, snow, or shine!

  3. Hey, Water! - Splash! A spunky little girl plays a spirited game of hide-and-seek with water, in this gorgeously illustrated nonfiction picture book.

  4. Cruising for a Snoozing - The eighth book in a funny chapter book series filled with full-color illustrations and adorable animals! A group of sloths arrives at the Grumpy River for a synchronized swimming competition, and the Super Happy Party Bears are thrilled. They throw a party to celebrate their team, but the sloths just…sleep. The residents of the Grumpy Woods can’t help but notice the giant pile of snoozing sloths, and Mayor Quill plots to get rid of them by shutting down the competition…until he unexpectedly gets the opportunity to show off his swimming moves.

Books About Water Sports and Family

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Shark Nate-O
Written by Becky Cattie and Tara Luebbe & illustrated by Daniel Duncan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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!

Buy book
$17.99
Bookshop
$15.29
Amazon
$13.99
Used $3.00
Prices as of Apr 12
Add to list
Little Pig Saves the Ship
Written & illustrated by David Hyde Costello
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Little Pig is back in Little Pig Saves the Ship! When the sea-faring pigs go a-sailing! Intrepid Little Pig — still the littlest pig in the family — is too little to go to summer camp with his older brothers and sisters. He is left behind with Grandpa and Poppy. Little Pig and Poppy make and sail a toy ship all week, but on Saturday a gusty wind takes the ship into the current, and Little Pig has to use his newfound knot-tying skills to save the day.

A sweetly told intergenerational story about how even the littlest can make a big difference.

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Cannonball
Written by Sacha Cotter & illustrated by Josh Morgan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

He’s ready to make a splash!

I’m ready to pull off the perfect cannonball, but everyone has advice.
“You need more weight”
“Bigger shorts!”
“More muscles!”
“BIGGER SHORTS!”

All it really takes is listening to your own voice and finding the courage to make the perfect cannonball.

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  1. Chu's Day at the Beach - A new adventure for everyone’s favorite sneezing panda, from New York Times bestselling team Neil Gaiman and Adam Rex. Now available as a board book for Neil Gaiman’s youngest fans! Chu and his family are going to the beach! Chu is excited. He will get to play in the sand and wade in the water. But what will happen if Chu sneezes at the beach? And what will happen if he doesn’t? A perfect read-aloud story about a summertime adventure!

  2. Courage - For fans of Jason Reynolds and Kwame Alexander, a poignant and timely novel about race, class, and second chances. Ever since T’Shawn’s dad died, his mother has been struggling to keep the family afloat. So when he’s offered a spot on a prestigious diving team at the local private swim club, he knows that joining would only add another bill to the pile. But T studies hard and never gets into trouble, so he thinks his mom might be willing to bear the cost… until he finds out that his older brother, Lamont, is getting released early from prison. Luckily, T’Shawn is given a scholarship, and he can put all his frustration into diving practices. But when criminal activity increases in the neighborhood and people begin to suspect Lamont, T’Shawn begins to worry that maybe his brother hasn’t left his criminal past behind after all. And he struggles to hold on to the hope that they can put the broken pieces of their damaged relationship back together.

  3. Swimming with Seals - A stunning picture book set in the Pacific Northwest about an alternative, multigenerational family and their love for their granddaughter, niece and daughter. Ally isn’t able to live with her mother. Instead she lives far, far away, on the other side of the country, with her gram and great-aunt. But one summer Ally goes to stay with her aunt and uncle in the “big city by the ocean” and gets to spend time with her mom. While exploring the shore, watching whales from the boat and dipping into the salty water, Ally finds out something important: her mother loves to swim as much as she does. This is a very personal story. Ally is based on the author’s niece, Jeanie, and Ally’s mother is based on the author’s sister, Sarah, who went missing from the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver in 1998. Jeanie is like a seal in the water, and Sarah was just the same, but they never got to swim together. In this story, they do. Swimming with Seals is a story that was written for the thousands of children who long to live with their birth parents and will never fully understand why they can’t.

  4. Surfer Chick - Two birds of a feather, a chick and her dad, lived by the shore, in a radical pad. So begins the story of a little chick and her dad who take to the beach for some father- daughter surf lessons. Soon the little chicken is catching waves on her own board and doing gnarly tricks, just like her rad dad. This sweet, rhyming picture book is filled with cool surf lingo and perfect for summer at the beach. It also celebrates the love between father and daughter.

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Books About Water Sports and Water

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Lottie & Walter
Written & illustrated by Anna Walker
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

An original, compelling, and visually stunning treatment of a common childhood predicament: overcoming a fear of the water.

Lottie goes to swim lessons every Saturday, but she never gets in the water. That’s because she is convinced there is a shark in the pool, a shark that wants to eat her and only her. But then Walter appears. Walter likes singing and reading books and bubble baths, and his favorite food is fish sticks, just like Lottie. When Saturday rolls around again, Lottie is no more ready to jump in the pool than she was before. Or is she? Sometimes it just takes a special friend to find the courage that was inside you all along.

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Splashdance
Written & illustrated by Liz Starin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Ursula, a bear, and Ricardo, a human, are preparing for the water ballet competition, where the prize is a million dollars! But a new regulation at the community pool - no bears - leaves Ursula cut from the contest. Luckily, she encounters a group of undaunted animal swimmers at a local pond, and Ursula and her new team figure out a way to participate in the competition and make sure everyone is welcome at the pool once and for all. Filled with deadpan humor, adorable animals, and big themes about social justice and inclusion, Splashdance is a fun and splashy summer story with a lot of heart.

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How to Code a Sandcastle
Written by Josh Funk & illustrated by Sara Palacios
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

All summer, Pearl has been trying to build the perfect sandcastle, but out-of-control Frisbees and mischievous puppies keep getting in the way! Pearl and her robot friend Pascal have one last chance, and this time, they’re going to use code to get the job done. Using fundamental computer coding concepts like sequences and loops, Pearl and Pascal are able to break down their sandcastle problem into small, manageable steps. If they can create working code, this could turn out to be the best beach day ever! With renowned computer science nonprofit Girls Who Code, Josh Funk and Sara Palacios use humor, relatable situations, and bright artwork to introduce kids to the fun of coding.

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  1. I'm a Duck - I cannot swim, and that is bad. A landlocked duck is very sad. One day, an egg rolled out of a nest and right into a deep pond. Now that egg is a little duck, and the water is still very scary. Jumping into the pond at all seems impossible, never mind swimming in a line with all his brothers. “You’re a duck, and ducks don’t sink,” Big Frog points out. Practicing in a puddle helps a little, while backrubs and snacks from his mother help a little more. Big Frog offers to hold his friend’s wing and dive in together, but our little duck knows that some challenges need to be faced alone. Even when they are very scary!

  2. 1, 2, 3, Jump! - First swimming lessons can be exciting and terrifying, but this joyful and imaginative guide shows young readers how to conquer the pool. From what to wear (a bathing suit, of course!) to what to expect (no, your teacher will not be a mermaid), 3, 2, 1 Jump! covers the what if’s and how to’s of getting in the pool for the first time. There’s a lot to worry about (Can I be sucked into the filter?) and even more to be excited about (When can I wear flippers?), and our narrator has thought of everything. By the time she’s ready, you to will want to jump in!

Want to see books about water?

Books About Water Sports and Friendship

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Splish, Splash, Splat!
Written by Rob Scotton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Splat does not want to have a playdate with Spike. Spike will break his toys and eat all of his candy fish! And he does not want to learn how to swim—water is horrible, scary, and wet! He’s sure that this is going to be the worst day ever. But when the rest of their classmates rush straight into the pool, Splat and Spike find that they may have more in common than they thought. Will Splat overcome his fear of water and get into the pool? And how can he help Spike to do the same?

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Swim Or Sink
Written by Jake Maddox
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Although only in eighth grade Baxter Reilly is an important member of the Edgeview High School in Tempe, Arizona, and lately the pool has been his place of refuge from the stress of his parents’ separation–but now, between the pending divorce, his father’s miserable apartment, his mother’s new boyfriend, and the resentment and bullying from his older teammates, it is getting harder to focus on his role as the anchor of the 4 x 400 freestyle relay in the upcoming races.

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Luciana: Braving the Deep (American Girl: Girl of the Year 2018, Book 2)
Written by Erin Teagan & illustrated by Lucy Truman
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

In her second novel, Luciana is off to youth astronaut training camp! She hopes to be chosen to dive to an underwater habitat where real astronauts train for life in space. But when Luci accuses her diving partner of sabotage, no one believes her and her chances of making the diving team sink fast. Things hit rock bottom when Luci has an underwater crisis. Suddenly, making the dive team isn’t her biggest worry. She’ll have to conquer her fears if she ever wants to make it to Mars. If she can’t, will she have to kiss her dreams of becoming an astronaut good-bye?

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  1. Dude! - 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.

  2. Deep Water - From Watt Key, the author of the acclaimed Alabama Moon, comes a thrilling middle grade survival story about a scuba dive gone wrong and two enemies who must unite to survive.

    It's the most important rule of scuba diving: If you don't feel right, don't go down. So after her father falls ill, twelve-year-old Julie Sims must take over and lead two of his clients on a dive miles off the coast of Alabama while her father stays behind in the boat. When the clients, a reckless boy Julie's age and his equally foolhardy father, disregard Julie's instructions during the dive, she quickly realizes she's in over her head. And once she surfaces, things only get worse: One of the clients is in serious condition, and their dive boat has vanished--along with Julie's father, the only person who knows their whereabouts. It's only a matter of time before they die of hypothermia, unless they become shark bait first. Though Julie may not like her clients, it's up to her to save them all. Praise for Deep Water: "Key offers plenty of nail-biting suspense in this survival tale about a deep-sea dive off the Alabama coast that goes horribly wrong . . . The story meticulously details the steps that quick-thinking Julie takes to stay alive. Julie's troubled family history and her changing relationship with Shane are also examined, intensifying the book's emotional impact." --Publishers Weekly "A nail-biting survival tale." --Kirkus Reviews "Readers hungry for an epic tale of grueling odds will also find lessons in bravery, resourcefulness, and practical survival advice." --Booklist

  3. Forget-Me-Not Lake - Sophie Mouse wishes she could play in the water at Forget-Me-Not Lake with her friends, but she can’t because she’s a mouse. Or can she? Find out in this third book of The Adventures of Sophie Mouse. <p/>Sophie Mouse likes being a mouse. So she’s excited that she and her classmates are making presentations for school about life as the type of animal they are. Sophie has already made a list of things she can do–run fast, scurry into small places, and more. But while playing at Forget-Me-Not Lake with her friends Hattie Frog and Owen Snake, Sophie realizes one thing she definitely can’t do: swim! <p/>Hattie and Owen are having so much fun in the water, and Sophie will never be able to join them. Sophie starts to think that being a mouse isn’t so special, after all. When Sophie’s friends notice her disappointment, can they figure out a way to get her out on the water? <p/>With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, the Adventures of Sophie Mouse chapter books are perfect for beginning readers.

  4. Gracie Laroo at Training Camp - Training camp has opened, and Gracie LaRoo is excited to be back with her synchronized swimming team, the Water Sprites–but the other members of the team seem strangely uninterested in training, and it will be up to Gracie to set an example with a perfect triple spin.

Want to see books about friendship?

Books About Water Sports and Animals

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Maisy's Pool
Written & illustrated by Lucy Cousins
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Maisy’s fun and familiar world reflects the lively adventures young children have every day.

In Maisy’s Pool, Maisy and her friends splash in a wading pool. As always, toddlers, preschoolers, and parents will find the ordinary extraordinary with Maisy!

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Gracie Laroo Goes to School
Written by Marsha Qualey & illustrated by Kristyna Litten
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

Gracie LaRoo, the youngest pig on the Water Sprites synchronized swimming team, is nervous about giving a speech at the Wilbur Academy, the school she used to attend–she loves her sport, but her old coach does not think that it really measures up to swim racing.

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One-Dog Canoe
Written by Mary Casanova & illustrated by Ard Hoyt
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

I set off one morning in my little red canoe.
My dog wagged his tail.
Can I come, too?
You bet, I said.
A trip for two--just me and you.

When a girl and her dog set out on a canoe trip together, they're expecting a quiet afternoon for two. Then a beaver decides to join them, even when the girl protests that It's a one-dog canoe. And when a loon, and a wolf, and a bear, and a moose all ask for a ride, it's almost too much. But they all manage to fit in this one-dog canoe--until a frog comes along. . . .

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  1. Gracie Laroo Sets Sail - The Water Sprites are supposed to perform their medal-winning synchronized swimming routine aboard a cruise ship, but everything goes wrong when the piglets aboard start throwing things at the swimmers–so Gracie enlists the help of famous Rita Sinclair and her dancers to help impose order on the unruly passengers.

  2. Gracie Laroo at Pig Jubilee - It is Gracie’s first time at the Pig Jubilee with her synchronized swimming team, the Water Sprites, and she is the youngest pig with a chance to win a gold medal–the trouble is that she keeps getting distracted and missing her solo part, a triple spin dive.

  3. Can I Tell You a Secret? - Meet Monty! He’s a little frog with a BIG secret that he’s ready to share. Monty learns how to face his fears with some help from his new friend—YOU!

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