15 Books That Will Take Kids on a Journey Under the Sea


Picture books are a great way to ignite your children’s curiosity about life under the sea. Here are fifteen books that will introduce your child to the mysterious of the ocean.

Secret Seahorse(opens in new window) By Stella Blackstone (Author) and Clare Beaton (Illustrator)

On each page of this beautifully illustrated book, kids search for an elusive secret seahorse as it swims through the ocean. Five pages of supplemental information at the back of the book helps kids spot additional sea creatures in the illustrations, such as crabs, sea anemones, eels, starfish, coral, and octopi.

A House for Hermit Crab(opens in new window) By Eric Carle "Time to move," said Hermit Crab one day. "I've grown too big for this little shell." Hermit Crab’s new shell doesn’t quite feel like home, but a menagerie of sea creatures slowly join him on his journey — including a starfish, a snail, a sea urchin, and a lantern fish.

A Swim through the Sea(opens in new window) By Kristin Joy Pratt Angelfish, blue crabs, and clown fish begin this oceanic ABC book. This library stapleplays with alliteration and can be used at multiple ages. For very little ones, read the large text that identifies each sea creature. For older children, read the small text that shares rich details about each animal.

National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of the Ocean(opens in new window) By Catherine D. Hughes National Geographic’s “First Big Book” series are oversized books filled with large, vivid illustrations and kid-friendly facts. In this ocean version, kids can read about more than 100 animals and learn how and where they live.

Commotion in the Ocean(opens in new window) By Giles Andreae (Author) and David Wojtowycz (Illustrator) Enter a delightful oceanic world with the words, "There's a curious commotion, at the bottom of the ocean; I think we ought to go and take a look. You'll find every sort of creature, that lives beneath the sea; swimming through the pages of this book." Kids will love these catchy, informative poems about everything from whales to walruses.

Over in the Ocean: In a Coral Reef(opens in new window) By Marianne Berkes (Author) and Jeanette Canyon (Illustrator) Written to the tune of “Over in the Meadow,” this singable text takes kids through the coral reef, teaching number sense and animal facts at the same time. The vibrant illustrations, made up of photos of clay reliefs, look like they’re about to come off the page.

Guess Who: Ocean Friends(opens in new window) By Jodie Shepherd (Author) & Laura Ovresat (Illustrator) Toddlers and preschoolers will enjoy lifting the “peekaboo” flaps in this book and learning more about five ocean friends: a turtle, sea lion, lobster, clownfish, and shark. How to Hide an Octopus and Other Sea Creatures(opens in new window) By Ruth Heller How do animals protect themselves in the deep? This books explores different ways creatures camouflage themselves and invites kids through rhyme to hunt for the hidden animals in the illustrations.

Down, Down, Down: A Journey to the Bottom of the Sea(opens in new window) By Steve Jenkins Forget shallow waters. This book plunges the readers down, down, down to the mysterious depths of the ocean — nearly seven miles deep, to the Marianas Trench. Along the way, meet creatures such as a flashing jellyfish and a squid as long as a bus.

Seashells by the Seashore(opens in new window) By Marianne Berkes (Author) and Robert Noreika (Illustrator) In this watercolor counting and rhyming book, a young girl collects twelve seashells for her grandmother’s birthday present, including periwinkle, oyster, kittens paw, and scallop shells. The end of the book includes further facts about each of her discoveries and a tear-out shell identification card.

I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean!(opens in new window) By Kevin Sherry In this silly, brightly illustrated story, a giant squid brags about how he is bigger than any of the other sea creatures he encounters... that is, until he is swallowed whole by a whale!

The Pout-Pout Fish(opens in new window) By Deborah Diesen (Author) and Dan Hanna (Illustrator) Written in catchy rhythm and rhyme, this story follows the life adventures of a pouty-faced fish whose underwater friends try to cheer him up. The whimsical pictures and silly repetition make this a good read aloud for young children.

Way Down Deep in the Deep Blue Sea(opens in new window) By Jan Peck A little boy travels “under the ocean” at bathtime and invites the reader to come along. Young children, especially, will enjoy the catchy, sing-song style of the text.

Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle(opens in new window) By Claire A. Nivola In this inspiring picture book biography of oceanographer Sylvia Earle, kids learn about Earle’s early love for nature and follow her into adulthood as explores the ocean, swims with whales, and advocates for "the blue heart of the planet."

Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau Hardcover(opens in new window) By Jennifer Berne (Author) and Éric Puybaret (Illustrator) Before Jacques Cousteau was a world-famous oceanographer, he was a curious little boy who dreamt of swimming like a fish under the ocean. The illustrations in this book are as exquisite as the poetic text itself.

Author:PBS KIDS, the number one educational media brand for kids, offers children ages 2-8 the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television, digital media and community-based programs. PBS KIDS and local stations across the country support the entire ecosystem in which children learn, including their teachers, parents and community. Explore Splash and Bubbles Splash, Bubbles and their best friends Dunk and Ripple go on epic adventures, discovering marine biology and oceanography.

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