Oceans and Seas

Bang, Molly and Penny Chisholm. Rivers of Sunlight: How the Sun Moves Water Around the Earth. New York: The Blue Sky Press, 2017.

Barton, Chris. Dazzle Ships: World War I and the Art of Confusion. Minnneapolis: Millbrook Press, 2017.
Why paint ships in eye-catching patterns? Why use striking colours? To confuse the enemy. German submarines were attacking British ships during the first World War. Not only warships but also ships bringing food to the island nation. A quiet unassuming lieutenant-commander came up with an idea: paint ships in bold colours and patterns that make it difficult to discern the speed and direction of travel.  The German torpedoes would be less likely to hit the British ships. In 1917, the project began and by the end of the war in 1918, almost 3,000 British ships and over 1200 American ships had been painted in dazzling designs.
This fascinating picture book – illustrated by award-winning Victo Ngai – is beautifully designed. The style and size of the font complements the tone of the story and the brilliance of the artwork. Additional information – including a timeline and bibliography – is included at the end of the book. The rhythm of the story makes it wonderful for reading aloud but this children’s book is highly recommended for readers of any age interested in art and the history of war. 

Carle, Eric. A House for Hermit Crab. New York: Simon Spotlight, 2014, c1987.

DaCosta, Barbara. Mighty Moby. New York: Little, Brown and Co., 2017.
Beautifully designed. Powerfully illustrated. Wondrously retold with a new ending. A perfect bedtime story for listeners 6 to 10 years old.

Kalman, Bobbie. Explore Earth’s Five Oceans. New York: Crabtree Pub., 2011. 

Kehret, Peg. Escaping the Giant Wave. New York: Aladdin, 2003.
Thirteen-year-old Kyle and his sister run for safety when a tsunami strikes the coastal resort where they are vacationing with their parents. A quick-paced novel for readers – 11 to 14 years old – who prefer realistic stories. 

Marino, Gianna. Following Papa’s Song. New York: Viking, 2014.  

Full-page illustrations colourfully illustrate this story about the migration of humpback whales. Recommended for children up to seven years of age.

McDonnell, Patrick. Shine! New York: Megan Tingley Books/Little, Brown and Company, 2017.
“I wish I were…” Somewhere else. Someone else. Something else. Little Hoshi wishes and wishes she were not a humble little sea star in the ocean. Until she learns, of course, that happiness is to be found right where we are and possibilities always surround us. This delightful picture book – illustrated by Naoko Stoop – is another heart-warming and inspiring story by the creator of the Mutts comic strips. Highly recommended as a read-aloud – for listeners 4 years old and up – and for anyone who needs a humorous reminder that we all can shine.

Mourvelat, Jean-Claude. The Pull of the Ocean. New York: Delacorte Press, 2006. 

Paulsen, Gary. The Voyage of the Frog. New York: Scholastic, 2009 (Dell, c1989).
Fourteen-year-old David – caught up in a storm at sea while spreading the ashes of his recently deceased uncle – must depend on his own skills to survive.

Philbrick, Rodman. The Young Man and the Sea. New York: Blue Sky Press, 2004. 

Sepetys, Ruta. Salt to the Sea. New York: Philomel Books, 2016.

Fleeing the invading Russian army near the end of the war, refugees try to escape aboard a military transport ship transporting German evacuees. Told from alternating points of view and based on the true story of the Wilhelm Gustloff, this award-winning 389-page emotion-laden novel is highly recommended for mature readers 13 years old and up. Includes a map. [Germany; Historical fiction; Poland; Refugees; Survival; WW 2; Young adult fiction] 

Skrypuch, Marsha Forchuk with Tuan Ho. Adrift At Sea: A Vietnamese Boy’s Story of Survival. Toronto: Pajama Press, 2016.
In 1981, six-year-old Tuan escaped with his mother and two of his sisters. In the middle of the night, they got on a boat which took them far out to sea where they were rescued by sailors on an American aircraft carrier. Illustrated by award-winning Brian Deines, this powerful picture book tells the true story of one child’s journey as a refugee from Vietnam to Canada. Accompanied by historical and biographical information, as well as numerous photographs, this informative and inspiring story is recommended for readers 8 years old and up.

Walters, Eric. WaveDoubleday Canada, 2009.
When the 2004 tsunami strikes Thailand, Sam struggles to survive while his sister, Beth, at home in New York City wonders if she will ever see her brother and parents again. Told from alternating points of view, this historically based novel by a popular and prolific Canadian author is recommended for readers – 11 to 14 years old – who prefer realistic stories.

Weisner, David. Flotsam. New York: Clarion Books, 2006.

Yaccarino, Dan. The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2009.

“For most of history, man has had to fight nature to survive; in this century he is beginning to realize that, in order to survive, he must protect it.” – Jacques-Yves Cousteau, oceanographer


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