I literally maxed out on the number of books from my library for our ocean unit (50 book limit). I had to use my husband’s library card to check the rest of the books out. There are soooo many amazing kids books about the ocean and animal life in the ocean! Once I brought everything home, I ended up sorting through and taking out some books that I thought would be too hard for the kids to understand. Then I sorted through a few that had redundant topics (we had a LOT of books on dolphins and whales). Yet a few more didn’t quite fit in with the direction I wanted to go with our ocean unit study. Ultimately, we narrowed this list down to our 28 favorite books about the ocean. I hope you enjoy them!
Curious George Discovers the Ocean
by H.A. Rey (link)
Curious George AND the ocean? You can’t go wrong with this book… My kids loved it!
by Bob Barner (link)
The kids liked this book ok; it had some interesting pictures pointing out different bones in the body of a fish.
Sea Slime: It’s Eeuwy, Gooey, and Under the Sea
by Elen Prager (link)
My son particularly loved this book. My daughter found it slightly disgusting and equally fascinating.
Swim, Fish! Explore the Coral Reef
by Susan B. Neuman (link)
This book used simple words and language and was easy and interesting for the kids to follow along with.
by Melissa Cole (link)
This book was a bit above my kids’ current reading comprehension but we were able to talk about it in ways that they understood. Originally when we first read this book I was hoping that we would be able to visit some tide pools in the near future, although this didn’t end up working out. I’m not sure how much they remember about tide pools since we didn’t study them much beyond this book. I probably wouldn’t have picked it out if we weren’t planning on visiting actual tide pools.
by Melissa Stewart (link)
I wanted to include hurricanes in our ocean unit as they are weather that is directly related to the ocean. The kids love anything weather-related (especially destructive weather).
The Magic School Bus Presents: Inside A Hurricane
by Joanna Cole (link)
It doesn’t get much better than The Magic School Bus and hurricanes! Informative and fun, as usual!
Sea Anemones (Things That Sting)
by Walter Laplante (link)
Aside from the fact that the author’s last name made me chuckle considering the subject of the book, this was a fun read. It was simple and explained something possibly strange and foreign in a way that the kids could grasp the topic easily.
by Gail Gibbons (link)
The kids loved this book- the illustrations were fantastic; bright and colorful.
Baby Animals of the Sea Shore
by Carmen Bredeson (link)
This book turned out to be a huge hit. The story itself was fun but the kids wanted to know what each animal sounded and looked like, so we went to YouTube and looked up the baby animal on each page while we read. We heard the call of the baby birds, saw baby turtles hatch and run towards the ocean… The kids had a blast with this one.
Whoosh!: A Watery World of Wonderful Creatures
by Marilyn Baillie (link)
This book was another beautifully illustrated one, which the kids always love.
The Magic School Bus Presents: Sea Creatures
by Joanna Cole (link)
Magic School Bus books always have a lot going on. The kids like pointing out the different sea creatures, the boxes with little asides of information, and the fun photographs.
by Kate Riggs (link)
My kids wanted to read this book three nights in a row. It has large, easy-to-follow-along-with print. We used this book to practice beginning-sounds
The Blue Whale
by Jenni Desmond (link)
This was included in our polar unit but we read it again since the kids loved it so much last time. It’s a beautiful story with beautiful illustrations.
The Eye of the Whale: A Rescue Story
by Jennifer O’Connell (link)
This was another one the kids requested several times, about the rescue of a humpback whale. Lots of pictures and the kids really felt the emotions and empathized with the whale.
Here Come the Humpbacks!
by April Pulley Sayre (link)
This book follows the migration of a mother humpback whale and her calf and was another hit with the kids.
If You Were A Dolphin
by Clare Hibbert (link)
Dolphins are a favorite with the kids and this was a fun one, all about them!
by Kate Riggs (link)
As with the Whales book by the same author, the kids loved practicing their letter sounds with this easy-to-read book.
Sharks! (We Both Read Level 1-2)
by Sindy McKay (link)
Everything you need to know about sharks at an easy-to-understand level for kids!
Splash! Discover Hammerhead Sharks
by Virginia Lo-Hagan (link)
Hammerhead sharks are probably the most recognizable and favorite type of shark with my kids so this book was an instant hit!
Sharks Have Six Senses
by John F. Waters (link)
Seriously with the author’s last name again… That has to be a joke, right??
This was another one of those books that my kids wanted to read over and over again. It was educational and laid out in a fun way.
Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas
by Lynne Cox (link)
This was the cutest story. It was about an elephant seal that kept coming back to the city… And it’s a true story! Real photographs in the back of the book of the real Elizabeth complete this adorable tale.
Can You Tell a Seal from a Sea Lion?
by Buffy Silverman (link)
I’m not entirely sure I can tell, even after reading this book, but the kids had fun trying.
Giant Pacific Octopus
by Leon Gray (link)
The bad news is, my kids decided that octopuses are “bad”. The good news is sharks are now good, because they eat octopuses, apparently. I’m not even sure that information is in this book, but that’s what the kids got out of it.
Splash! Discover Rays
by Susan H Gray (link)
My kids kept talking about how “naughty” stingrays are because they sting. (Do you see a theme going on here? My kids are really into calling things, and people, “bad” and “naughty”.) They didn’t want to read this book again. From a parent’s point of view (or for kids who actually like stingrays), it was educational and informative!
by Maddie Gibbs (link)
My daughter loves sea horses. Especially fairy sea horses. This book doesn’t have fairy sea horses in it, but it does have a lot of neat sea horses camouflaging against their ocean backgrounds.
by Maddie Gibbs (link)
Another fun one by Maddie Gibbs. And apparently, the whole transgender-clownfish thing is true.
The Rainbow Fish
by Marcus Pfister (link)
Most people are familiar with this book. It’s a classic, and the kids loved it like many people before them!
Note about the books: I found all of these books at our local library but I’ve included Amazon links to them. These links are for your convenience only; we are not affiliated with or promoting Amazon in any way.
More about our ocean unit study coming soon!