Books are such a rich source of fun and inspiration. We’ve been delighted by the wealth of wonderful illustrated books that, in recent years, have brought the beauty of the oceans – and the problems they face – into our homes, helping us to both educate and entertain our children. These are just a few of our favourites. Perfect for bedtime, or indeed anytime, they're sure to be loved by both young and old for many years to come.
Nelson’s Dangerous Dive, by Ellie Jackson and Laura Callward, Under Pressure Media
When Nelson the humpback whale becomes trapped in a fishing net deep under water he must wait until a group of tourists can free him. The third in Jackson’s Wild Tribe Heroes series, like its predecessors, it’s a beautifully illustrated tale that will help children understand the environmental dangers these incredible creatures face – and that it’s up to us to save them, before it’s too late.
Clean Up! by Nathan Bryon and Dapo Adeola, Puffin
When Rocket and her family go to her grandparents for a visit, she can’t wait to swim and play in the sea. But when a baby turtle is washed up on the beach tangled in plastic, she’s determined to save it – and all the other sea animals – and sets about enlisting the whole community’s help. Can Rocket and her Clean-Up Crew help make a difference?
Shark Lady, by Jess Keating and Marta Alvarez Miguens, Sourcebooks
Inspirational true-life story of marine zoologist Eugenie Clark (aka Shark Lady), who did much to shift perception of sharks from something to be feared to apex predators deserving of our utmost respect. This beautifully illustrated book follows Clark on her journey to becoming one of the world’s leading shark experts, starting with her very first encounter with the fish at an aquarium.
The Big Book of the Blue, by Yuval Zommer, Thames and Hudson
Full of fascinating facts about everything from jellyfish to stingrays and plenty of other ocean-dwelling creatures, this vibrant, richly-illustrated book is a brilliant introduction to life under water. A go-to for answers to any questions your child might have about marine life, it will also help young children understand the threats these creatures face and why they need protecting.
The Snail and the Whale, by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, Macmillan
A little sea snail with ‘itchy feet’ is offered the adventure she craves when a humpback whale agrees to take her on a trip around the world by hitching a ride on his tail. When disaster strikes, can she become the tiny hero they need to get them both safely home? This delightful tail of unlikely friendship will inspire little explorers while teaching them to appreciate nature’s fragility.
Water World, by Ben Rothery, Penguin Ladybird
Exquisitely illustrated, this is a book that readers young and old will return to again and again. Rothery’s impeccable images of everything from penguins to plankton, seahorses to sharks, are accompanied by fascinating facts about each one. It will leave you and your family in no doubt that our planet is beautiful and unique – but also why these amazing animals need our help.
Manfish, by Jennifer Berne and Éric Puybare, Chronicle
Take yourself and your children on an immersive imaginary journey that dives deep beneath the waves. This gorgeous, fact-filled book about the life of the oceanographer and explorer Jacques Cousteau brings the wonders of the ocean to life. A fitting tribute to the famous Frenchman and champion of the seas – and one that will surely inspire a whole new generation of ocean-lovers.