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Water Sports: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best children's 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.

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 Jabari Jumps to some of our favorite hidden gems like The Whale in My Swimming Pool .

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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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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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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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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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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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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  • How to Train with a T. Rex and Win 8 Gold Medals - 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.

  • A Ben of All Trades: The Most Inventive Boyhood of Benjamin Franklin - 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.

  • Little Pig Saves the Ship - 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.

  • Maisy's Pool - 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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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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Ruby & Rufus
Written by Olivier Dunrea
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3
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!
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Hey, Water!
Written & illustrated by Antoinette Portis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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

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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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Cruising for a Snoozing
Written by Marcie Colleen & illustrated by Steve James
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

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.

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  • Splashdance - 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.

  • Splish, Splash, Splat! - 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?

  • How to Code a Sandcastle - 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.

  • Swim Or Sink - 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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Froggy Learns to Swim
Written by Jonathan London & illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Zzzziiiinnngggg splash! Everyone’s favorite frog learns to swim!

Frogs are supposed to be great swimmers. “Not me!” says Froggy, who’s afraid of the water. But with a little encouragement, some practice, and the help of a silly song or two, Froggy becomes an expert frog-kicker!

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Benny Learns to Swim
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-

"A testament of true friendship." - Kirkus Reviews

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Dilly Dally Daisy
Written & illustrated by Mark Fearing
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Get ready with Daisy the dawdler as she tries (really!) to get it together in this very real, very funny spin on dilly dallying.

Daisy Marsha Martin is always late. For good reasons, of course. She’s busy saving the world, or teaching her stuffed animals to dance, or finding the perfect shirt to wear. But if Daisy is late one more time, then it’s no more mermaid swim class for her!

This is the perfect story for fans of everyday silliness and for every kid who has been told to stop dawdling.

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The Ocean Calls: A Mermaid Haenyeo Story
Written by Tina Cho & illustrated by Jess X. Snow
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

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.

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Live and Let Swim: My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish
Written by Mo O'Hara & illustrated by Marek Jagucki
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

The name’s Goldfish. Zombie Goldfish. Fishy mayhem abounds with two more fin-tastic stories featuring our favorite (New York Times-bestselling!) zombie goldfish.

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  • You Can Do It, Bert! - This is Bert’s big day. He is well prepared, mentally, and physically. But he might need some encouragement. You Can Do It, Bert! is a simple, funny picture book with an encouraging positive message. It’s a great gift for anyone embarking on a new venture: a child about to start school, a teenager finishing high school, a college student graduating, or anyone starting a new job or going overseas.

  • 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.

  • Gracie Laroo Goes to School - 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.

  • Luciana: Braving the Deep (American Girl: Girl of the Year 2018, Book 2) - 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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Chu's Day at the Beach
Written by Neil Gaiman & illustrated by Adam Rex
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

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!

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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.

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Stink and the Freaky Frog Freakout
Written by Megan McDonald & illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

Croak! Squeenk! Ribbet! After a close encounter with a mutant amphibian makes him freaky for frogs, water-shy Stink becomes a swimming success. Stink may be super smart, and Stink may be uber clever, but he’s been in the Polliwog swim class frog-ever and he still can’t bear to put his face in the water. Why would he want a geyser up his nose, on purpose? But then something weird happens: Stink starts to see frogs everywhere — in the locker room, in his boot, in the bathtub. And when a freaky blue frog licks his arm, his froggy senses start tingling! He has an urge to slurp up raisins (that look like flies). He can’t wait to play in the rain and mud. He’s a wiz at identifying frog calls. And he has become very interested in the local frog population. Could it be that Stink is turning into . . . the amazing Stink-Frog, fighter of slime? Pree-eep! Craw-awk!

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Gracie Laroo Sets Sail
Written by Marsha Qualey & illustrated by Kristyna Litten
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

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.

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Gracie Laroo at Training Camp
Written by Marsha Qualey & illustrated by Kristyna Litten
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-7

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.

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  • Saturday Is Swimming Day - New things can be scary – but as one endearing little girl discovers, it’s perfectly fine to take your time. Swimming lessons are on Saturdays, and every Saturday one little girl has a stomachache. When she gets to the pool it’s loud, the floor is wet and slippery, and her swim cap is too tight. Her swimming instructor, Mary, says it’s OK to sit by the edge if she doesn’t want to get in the water this week. The next Saturday the girl has a stomachache again, but with Mary’s gentle encouragement, she eventually manages to make it into the pool to practice her kicks. Little by little, the girl’s confidence grows – until one Saturday comes around when she has no stomachache at all! In a charming and relatable story about trying something new, author-illustrator Hyewon Yum shows that sometimes a little bravery and a lot of patience are all you need to face your fear.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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I'm a Duck
Written by Eve Bunting & illustrated by Will Hillenbrand
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

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!

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1, 2, 3, Jump!
Written by Lisl H. Detlefsen & illustrated by Madeline Valentine
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

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!

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Spot Goes to the Beach
Written & illustrated by Eric Hill
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Everyone’s favorite puppy takes a trip to the beach in this board book adventure!

It’s a sunny day at the beach–and Spot is ready to have some fun and make new friends. Spot loves building sandcastles, but this time he decides to try something new: surfing! Spend a day at the beach along with Spot, his parents, and his new friends!

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Will You Help Me Fall Asleep?
Written by Anna Kang & illustrated by Christopher Weyant
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-9

Tomorrow is the annual boat race and Monty needs as much energy as possible to make sure he crosses the finish line first. He tried closing his eyes, counting sheep, and reading a book, but nothing will help him fall asleep.

In this interactive follow-up to Can I Tell You a Secret?, Monty the frog asks for your help once again. This time he is struggling to go to sleep before a very big day.

Both relatable and fun for children and parents, this adorable picture book is perfect for naptime, bedtime, or anytime!

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Surfer Chick
Written by Kristy Dempsey & illustrated by Henry Cole
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

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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  • 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!

  • Leo Can Swim - Leo, Lola’s little brother from Leo Loves Baby Time, is back in a new adventure at the pool. Leo and Daddy go to swim class where they kick, bounce, and dive like little fish. Joining other babies and their caretakers in the pool is a guarantee for unforgettable fun.

  • Sea Sirens - Dive into this visually stunning, middle-grade graphic novel about a spunky Vietnamese American surfer girl and her cantankerous talking cat who plunge into a fantasy world of oceanic marvels . . . and mayhem! Trot, a Vietnamese American surfer girl, and Cap’n Bill, her cranky one-eyed cat, catch too big a wave and wipe out, sucked down into a magical underwater kingdom where an ancient deep-sea battle rages. The beautiful Sea Siren mermaids are under attack from the Serpent King and his slithery minions–and Trot and her feline become dangerously entangled in this war of tails and fins. This beautiful graphic novel was inspired by The Sea Fairies, L. Frank Baum’s “underwater Wizard of Oz.” It weaves Vietnamese mythology, fantastical ocean creatures, a deep-sea setting, quirky but sympathetic main characters, and fast-paced adventure into an imaginative, world-building story.

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