Did you know that more than 70 per cent of the Earth’s surface is covered by the ocean? Well, you soon will, because we’ve got a selection of fascinating kids books all about this aquatic wonderland!
The sea is a vast, open space that everyone’s either fascinated by or afraid of. And rightly so. After all, it covers the majority of the Earth’s surface, and yet more than 80 percent of it remains unexplored. While we’d love to know more about the sea and its creatures, the closest we can get to the ocean is through our beaches at Pasir Ris, East Coast, and Sentosa… Interested to find out more about the marine world? Grab any of these kids’ book titles and take a dive under the sea!
Sea-riously fin-tastic books about the ocean for kids
1. Hello, World! Ocean Life by Jill McDonald
Give your little one a head start on their learning journey into the ocean with this lovely board book. Babies and toddlers will learn more about oceans as well as the animals and plants that live there. Featuring bright and colourful illustrations, readers can learn creatures’ names, observe their colours, and even count their fins and flippers.
2. Mister Seahorse by Eric Carle
If you loved A Very Hungry Caterpillar, you’ll love this one too. Littlies will learn about the miracle of life and birth through Mr Seahorse, who’s carrying baby seahorse eggs in his belly. As he waits for the eggs to hatch, he meets other underwater daddies similarly caring for their babies. There’s also a “hide-and-seek” feature that adds a colourful surprise to this stunning picture book.
3. Yellow Kayak by Nina Laden
Looking for a magical picture book about the ocean? We highly recommend this one. One quiet afternoon, a boy and his best friend go on a grand adventure through stormy seas, crashing waves, and moonlit skies. The book’s gorgeous illustrations and adorable rhymes will keep your littles occupied and teach them imagination, courage, and perseverance.
4. Moonlight Ocean by Elizabeth Golding
Do you know what happens to the ocean after dark? Would you like to find out? Use the magic flashlights embedded in each page to reveal the lurking creatures. No batteries needed! Every spread features a different underwater animal, but the reader will need to locate the hidden beings. There’s also a section filled with fascinating facts about ocean creatures and their habits.
5. I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry
Read this one out loud with the kids for some giggles and a playful time! A giant squid takes inventory of all the creatures in the ocean just to show off that he’s the biggest thing among them all. However, there are sea creatures bigger than he is… maybe the squid just doesn’t care?
6. The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson
Here’s another tale about friendship between two unlikely animals. When a tiny snail longs to see the world, it hitches a life on a whale’s tail. Together they go on an amazing journey… until disaster strikes. How will they get out of their plight? A delightful story about how even the smallest creature can help others in a big way.
7. The Big Book of the Blue by Yuval Zommer
Discover the myriad creatures living in the ocean in this beloved animal book series. From seahorses to stingrays, your tots will learn about the different types of marine life and its habitats. The charming illos will enthral readers to keep flipping through the pages and rereading the book over and over again. Get the accompanying The Big Sticker Book of the Blue, where the kids can take part in drawing, colouring, and making stickers.
8. One World by Michael Foreman
This is a great introduction for kids to ocean pollution and the marine environment. Author Michael Foreman also illustrated the book in stunning watercolours, which helps further explain the threat of pollution to the environment. Kiddos will no doubt be more informed of what they ought to do to save the ocean and all its wonders.
9. A Small Blue Whale by Beth Ferry
A lonely blue whale meets a quiet pink cloud and believes it’s the friend that he’s been looking for. However, when he finds himself in trouble, a group of penguins comes to rescue him. While this is indeed a book about the ocean, it’s also a heartwarming story about friendship that will melt even the coldest of adult hearts!
10. I Am Not a Fish! by Peter Raymundo
There’s more to the ocean than fish. There are octopuses, crabs, jellyfish… Edgar is a jellyfish, but he doesn’t look, act, or feel like a “fish”. He’s not even sure what he’s supposed to be, and it’s stressing him out. Is Edgar having an identity crisis? Yikes! With a little help from a starfish and a support group, Edgar learns some useful lessons along the way.
11. Goodnight, Baby Ocean Animals by Fiona Ocean and Alison Sky Simance
This enchanting children’s book chronicles endangered ocean animals in their first years of life. Readers will learn how baby ocean animals, such as polar bears, orcas, albatrosses, and turtles, play in our planet’s vast waters and go to sleep under the loving, watchful eye of their family members. The book has also been given the seal of approval by the UN Messenger of Peace, Dr Jane Goodall!
12. Pearl by Molly Idle
The vast oceans are not just home to plants and creatures – we’re told mermaids reside there too! This original fable is about a mermaid who longs to care for her oceanic world. However, when she is requested to look after only a mere grain of sand, Pearl is heartbroken. But she still did her best to look after the grain. We love this book for its simple, uplifting message about the power of small acts of kindness.
13. Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau by Jennifer Berne
Poetic text and gorgeous illustrations come together in this lovely biography about Jacques Cousteau, who longed to become a ‘manfish’. The Frenchman eventually grew up to become one of the most well-known oceanographers in the world. Magical and inspiring, this book will make your children fall in love with the sea too.
14. Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist by Jess Keating
We love this inspirational tale about Ms Clark, who defied everyone by proving that sharks are not scary creatures… and that women can be scientists too! Voted Best Children’s Book of 2017 by Parents magazine, this is a must-read and one of our fave books about the ocean that we recommend you have on your bookshelf.
15. Asian Scientist Junior: Chou Loke Ming by Rebecca Tan
Get ready to read up about Asian scientist Chou Loke Ming in this illustrated book. It takes a look at coral reefs, also known as rainforests of the sea. Coral reefs worldwide are sadly dying, but Mr Chou has taken it upon himself to save them, one at a time.
16. Captain Starfish by Davina Bell
To all the shy kids and those grappling with anxiety, this children’s book is a love letter to you. Alfie wishes he could be a normal kid like his peers, but his shyness is holding him back. One day, Alfie’s mother takes him to the aquarium, where he is acquainted with a clownfish. That’s when Alfie learns he’s not alone in the world, and that there’s a happy medium between being a star and retreating away.
17. Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea by Ben Clanton
This is a cute book about two sea creatures, Narwhal and Jelly, who don’t have a lot in common other than waffles, parties, and adventures. Through three stories, readers get to join the two and discover the wide ocean together. If you enjoyed this book, be sure to get the rest of the series! There are eight books in total thus far.
18. The Seashore Book by Charlotte Zolotow
Pick up a seashell by the seashore and put it close to your ear. What can you hear? This classic story tells the tale of a boy, who has never seen the beach. Through simple prose, elegant illustrations, and the power of imagination, the boy’s mother describes a vivid day at the beach to him. It’s a perfect kids’ book to read before bedtime.
19. Malander (The Legends of Eerie-on-Sea) by Thomas Taylor
In the town of Eerie-on-Sea stands the Grand Nautilus Hotel, which has an unexpected visitor – fearless Violet Parma. Having lost her parents at the hotel when she was a baby, Violet’s returned looking for answers. Unfortunately, she’s also being pursued by a strange man, while the Malander is making its appearance in the town. Will she be able to find out what happened to her folks? This fantastical mystery, part of a trilogy, had us hooked from start to finish.
20. The Boy Who Met a Whale by Nizrana Farook
Is there such a thing as sea monsters? While watching turtle eggs hatch, local fisherboy Razi notices a boat out at sea, a still hand hanging over its side. The hand belongs to Zheng, who has escaped a shipwreck and is on the run from some baddies. Razi and his sister Shifa soon become embroiled in Zheng’s predicament…
21. Sherlock Sam and the Seafaring Scourge on Sentosa by A.J. Low
Get this book if you’re searching for a swashbuckling, seafaring, Singaporean adventure. Sherlock and his Supper Club friends are hired to retrieve a collector’s priceless artefacts. The team trails clues around the small islands of Singapore, which lead them to the true culprits behind the theft. Will the Supper Club gang be able to take on their most dangerous foe yet?
22. The Girl from the Sea by Molly Knox Ostertag
If you’re a fan of graphic novels, this one’s a must-get. Fifteen-year-old Morgan can’t wait to escape the island where she lives. She wants to finish school and leave her mum, little brother, and especially her group of friends… because of her secrets. One night, Morgan is saved from drowning by a mysterious girl with secrets of her own. As both of them try to hide everything from finding its way to the surface, will they be ready to face the music?
23. The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall
Keep the tweens and teens entertained with this young adult sapphic romance set on the high seas. Pirate Florian, born Flora, has done everything in order to survive. Lady Evelyn Hasegawa is on a one-way voyage to an arranged marriage, which gets interrupted by the pirate and the crew on board the ship. What happens next is a sweeping fantasy tale of the captive and captor falling in love.
24. Skin of the Sea by Natasha Bowen
While we wait for Disney’s live-action version of The Mermaid, here’s a young adult fantasy novel to tide your little readers over. Simi is a mami wata – in this case, a mermaid – who collects the souls of those who died at sea and blesses their journeys back home. One day, when a boy is thrown overboard, she chooses to save him, which puts herself – and other mami watas – in danger.
25. EYEYAH – Sea Issue
Dive into the EYEYAH ‘zine’s Sea edition. It is a collection of thought-provoking, eye-catching artworks created by over 30 visual thinkers and illustrators worldwide. Their sea-themed iteration explores the magic of the Sea, life on, around and below the ocean. Suited for kids and ‘kidults’, this cool ‘zine celebrates all things sea and enlightens on the dangers in the oceans. A must-read for the ocean lover in your family!
26. Blueback by Tim Winton
This classic tale by award-winning Australian author Tim Winton makes for a deeply moving read. Slip into an ecologically sensitive story about Abel, who grows up loving the sea and develops an endearing friendship with a large grouper. Find out how Abel is inspired to save his friend and more. This tale was also made into a movie of the same title.
We hope you turtle-ly enjoy our sea-lection of books about the ocean, folks!