Ocean Life Book List
Byatt, Andrew, et al. The Blue Planet: Seas of Life. New York: DK Publishing, 2001.
This photo-rich book reveals the diverse wildlife in six distinct marine habitats.
Kurlansky, Mark. Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World. New York: Penguin Books, 2003.
A book about a fish that probably has mattered more in human history than any other. The cod helped inspire the discovery and exploration of North America. It had a profound impact upon the economic development of New England and eastern Canada from the earliest times.
MacQuitty, Miranda. Eyewitness Ocean. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1995.
Gaze at amazing photographs as you dive into the ocean. Take a trip through ocean habitats and explore the diversity of marine life. This book also examines the ways we use, explore, and affect the ocean.
Nybakken, James W. Marine Biology: An Ecological Approach. New York: Harper & Row, 1988.
This books emphasizes the ecological principles that govern marine life throughout all environments in the world's oceans. Its unique ecological approach adds real-world relevance by exploring how organisms interact within their individual ecosystems. The book is organized by habitat, and each habitat receives detailed, in-depth coverage, giving readers the flexibility to focus on their particular areas of interest.
Weinberg, Samantha. A Fish Caught in Time: The Search for the Coelacanth. New York: Perennial, 2001.
An account of the discovery of the coelacanth, a five-foot-long fish that existed on Earth for approximately 330 million years. It was thought to have become extinct about 70 million years ago. That is, until one was discovered off the coast of South Africa in 1938.
Beales, Kevin, Catherine Halversen, and Craig Strang. Ocean Currents: Teacher's Guide. Berkeley: Lawrence Hall of Science, 2001.
This comprehensive, wonderfully written unit about ocean currents helps students develop new understandings through hands-on activities and group work using science inquiry. This practical guide has clear, step-by-step instructions and illustrations for each activity, including teaching tips, suggested alternatives so teachers can adapt the curriculum to their needs, evaluation discussions, and basic background information. Students create their own currents, plus other activities, to understand the global significance of the oceans. This includes learning about the impact of ocean currents on climate, waste dumping in the ocean, and trade routes.
Barrett, Katharine, and Carolyn Willard. Aquatic Habitats: Exploring Desktop Ponds. Berkeley: Lawrence Hall of Science, 1998.
Build a pond right in your classroom! Learn the skills of scientific observation while creating a complete pond ecosystem. This book includes step-by-step directions, lists of materials and resources, and tips for creating a five-session curriculum. For grades 2-6.
Discovering Density. Berkeley: Lawrence Hall of Science, 1997.
Secret formulas, salt solutions, color layering in liquid, and other activities and demonstrations of density reinforce students' practical understanding of this important concept in the physical sciences. From their understanding of density in liquids, students learn to infer the relative densities of solids and gases. As appropriate, the mathematical equation for determining density is introduced. For grades 6-8.
Fredericks, Anthony D. Exploring the Oceans: Science Activities for Kids. Golden, CO: Fulcrum Publishing, 1998.
This book contains a selection of exciting hands-on activities and projects that will help children, parents, and teachers learn and appreciate this important ecosystem. For grades 3-8.
Marine Education: A Bibliography of Educational Materials. Available from any of the Sea Grant college programs. Compiled in July 1988.
Contact the Marine Information Service, Sea Grant College Program, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-4115. Or contact the Maine/New Hampshire Sea Grant Program, Kingman Farm, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824; (603) 749-1565.
Ocean Currents. Berkeley: Lawrence Hall of Science, 2002.
This companion guide to Only One Ocean provides fascinating, real-world insights into the causes and effects of marine currents. Students explore how wind, temperature, and salinity set water in motion. They learn how the ocean makes our planet livable and how it transports nutrients, people, and pollution. For grades 5-8.
Only One Ocean. Berkeley: Lawrence Hall of Science, 2002.
This comprehensive companion to Ocean Currents interweaves the concepts of connected ocean basins, animal adaptation, and sustainable fisheries. Its highlight, a classroom squid dissection conducted by student pairs, leads to activities about ocean fisheries and diminishing resources. Students brainstorm and present possible solutions in a "world conference." Activities address both National Science Education Standards and Benchmarks for Science Literacy. Appendices include resources, assessment suggestions, and literature connections. For grades 5-8.
Stevens, Betsy T. Sea Soup Teacher's Guide. Gardiner, ME: Tilbury House Publishers, 1999.
The interesting and fun activities in this teacher's guide meet the challenge of relating tiny microscopic organisms to the lives of children. For grades 1-2.
Baldwin, Robert. This Is the Sea that Feeds Us. Nevada City, CA: Dawn Publications, 1998.
This book clearly and simply teaches vital information about the food chain. Age level: 4-8
Berger, Melvin, and Gilda Berger. What Do Sharks Eat for Dinner? Questions and Answers About Sharks. New York: Scholastic, 2000.
Have you ever wondered if sharks can taste? Find out the answer to this question, as well as many other myths and realities about these living fossils. Age level: 4-8
Castaldo, Nancy F. Oceans: An Activity Guide for Ages 6-9. Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 2001.
Can't visit the coast? Highlight humanity's interdependence with the oceans no matter where you live. This guide introduces students to ocean habitats; tides, currents, and waves; ocean creatures; and ocean folktales. The simple activities and games allow landlubbers to experience many of the ocean's mysteries. Age level: 6-9
The Center for Marine Conservation. The Ocean Book: Aquarium and Seaside Activities and Ideas for All Ages. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1989.
This fun workbook is filled with crossword puzzles, hands-on activities, and experiments using the diverse life in the Earth's oceans. Learn about fish anatomy, food webs, and much more. Age level: 4 and up
Cerullo, Mary M. Sea Soup: Phytoplankton. Gardiner, ME: Tilbury House Publishers, 1999.
This attractive book introduces children to an area of biology they may know little about: the world of phytoplankton, plants so tiny that a million could fit in a teaspoon of sea water, and so numerous that they produce half the world's oxygen. A teacher's guide to this book is also available. Age level: 9-13
Cerullo, Mary M. Sea Soup: Zooplankton. Gardiner, ME: Tilbury House Publishers, 2001.
A companion to this team's Sea Soup: Phytoplankton. Zooplankton opens a pellucid window into the drifting world of the mostly minute animals that, along with phytoplankton, form an aqueous "soup" that nourishes a wide variety of sea creatures, from the tiniest copepods to gigantic blue whales. A teacher's guide to this book is also available. Age level: 9-13
Earle, Sylvia A. Dive!: My Adventures in the Deep Frontier. National Geographic Society, 1999.
Underwater explorer and ambassador for the ocean Dr. Sylvia A. Earle is well known for inspiring young people with her enthusiasm for the sea and its inhabitants. Children will follow along as the author goes ever deeper into the unknown, walking the seafloor in a diving suit named Jim and cruising in her submersible, Deep Rover. A timeline, glossary, and index round out this in-depth look at the deep frontier. Age level: 8-12
Eyewitness Fish. New York: Dorling Kindersley, 1990.
Fish come in all shapes and sizes. Take a tour through the body of a fish in this Eyewitness book. Learn why some fish are so colorful and others are not. And explore how fish have changed over millions of years. Age level: 9-12
Goodman, Polly, and Janet Sacks. Arty Facts: Oceans & Art Activities. New York: Crabtree Publishing, 2002.
Would you like to learn how to make your very own Treasure Island map, or create a diving bird mobile? This fun book is packed with ocean-life activities that will keep your mind swimming for hours. Age level: 9-12
Kalman, Bobbie, and Jacqueline Langille. What Is a Marine Mammal? The Science of Living Things. New York: Crabtree Publishing Company, 2000.
Manatees, penguins, and whales, oh my! Find out how marine mammals survive in a variety of different ecosystems around the world. Use the vocabulary key in the back of the book to learn important terms that real scientists use in the field. Age level: 9-12
Littlefield, Cindy A. Awesome Ocean Science: Investigating the Secrets of the Underwater World. TK CITY, VT: Williamson Publishing, 2003.
The book contains an overview of the water cycle; the ocean's composition; the ratio of water to land on Earth; waves and currents; life in the ocean, including a chart of the ocean's animal kingdom by phylum and class; and conservation issues. Activities illustrate the concepts. Age level: 9-12
MacQuitty, Miranda. Eyewitness Ocean. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1995.
Gaze at amazing photographs as you dive into the ocean. Take a trip through ocean habitats and explore the diversity of marine life. This book also examines the ways we use, explore, and affect the ocean. Age level: 9-12
The Marine Biology Coloring Book. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1982.
Unearth your hidden artistic talents while exploring the world of marine biology in this illustrated coloring book. Find out everything you've always wanted to know about phytoplankton, coral reefs, fish anatomy, and more. Age level: 7 and up
Ricciuti, Edward R. Ocean. Tarrytown, NY: Benchmark Books, 1996.
The ocean looks like an endless sea of blue, but underneath the surface it's quite different! Discover the vast variety of habitats in the ocean, including coral reefs, kelp forests, and the ocean depths. Check out the fascinating marine life in each ecosystem. Age level: 8-12
Saunders, Ian. Bill Nye the Science Guy's Big Blue Ocean. New York: Hyperion, 1999. Bill Nye introduces curious readers to exciting facts about topics ranging from ocean currents and estuaries to sea jellies. Experiment with the "Try This" activities included in the book while you read about the mysterious life found within the world's oceans. Age level: 8-12
Schindler, S.D. The Cod's Tale. New York: Dial Books, 2001.
An exploration of the important role the Atlantic cod has played in both North American and European history. The cod has been an important factor in various world economies, including those of the Vikings, the Basques, and the North Atlantic colonists. Watercolor-and-ink illustrations accompany the text. Age level: 4-8
Simon, Seymour. How to Be an Ocean Scientist in Your Own Home. New York: J.B. Lippincott, 1988.
Calling all ocean scientists! Turn saltwater into freshwater, design metal boats that float, and create your own ocean currents. These thrilling activities, plus 21 other experiments, are guaranteed to submerge you in ocean water fun, all right in your own bedroom. Age level: 8-12
Simon, Seymour. They Swim the Seas: The Mystery of Animal Migration. New York: Browndeer Press, 1998.
The oceans of the world are busy highways for creatures on the move. Plankton-small plants and animals, some so small they cannot seen without microscope-travel up to the surface and then down more than 3,000 feet twice a day; 800-pound green turtles swim more than a thousand miles to lay their eggs; and spiny lobsters, forming long lines, walk across the ocean bottom. Age level: 7-10
Tibbitts, Christine Kump. Seashells, Crabs, and Sea Stars. TK CITY: NorthWord (CK) Press, 1996.
Have you ever wondered where the shells that wash up on the beach come from? You'll be a shell expert after reading this fun activity book. Learn all about snails, oysters, and other interesting mollusks. When you're finished, take notes on what you learned using the scrap pages in the back of the book. Age level: 4-8
Wenzel, Greg C. The Deep-Sea Floor. TK CITY, MA: Charlesbridge Publishing, 2003.
This book takes readers on a journey to the deep sea. Discover bioluminescent animals, tube worms, and other amazing sea life. Age level: 9-12
Wu, Norbert. Creeps from the Deep. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1997.
Underwater photographer Norbert Wu and journalist Leighton Taylor dive to the ocean's depths to show us the fascinating creatures living there. Learn why the light fish glows, how mega-mouths find food, and how 10-foot-long worms survive near the Earth's core. Incredible color photos, sidebars, and a detailed glossary accompany this engaging text. Age level: 8-12
Wu, Norbert. Life in the Oceans. New York: Tern Enterprise, 1991.
If you enjoy gazing at beautiful underwater photography, then this is the book for you. Renowned photographer and writer Norbert Wu takes readers on a visual tour of the amazing diversity of life beneath the ocean's surface. Age level: 8-12
Climo, Shirley. A Treasury of Mermaids: Mermaid Tales from Around the World. New York: HarperCollins, 1997. A catch of international mermaids, from a Japanese ningyo and a Swiss nix to an Irish merrow and an Alaskan nuquot, swim through the pages of this illustrated book. Age level: 9-12
Crespo, George. How the Sea Began: A Taino Myth. New York: Clarion Books, 1993. A Taino story that tells of the creation of the sea and its bounty. Age level: 6-10
Green, Y.S. The Boy Who Drew Cats and Other Japanese Fairy Tales. New York: Dover Publications, 1998. A collection of Japanese fairy tales, including The Silly Jelly-Fish. Age level: 9-12
Hildebrandt, Ziporah. Sea Girl and the Dragon King: A Chinese Folktale. TK CITY: Atheneum, 1999. Age level: 9-12
Holling, Clancy. Pagoo. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1985. An interactive study of tide pool life is presented through the story of Pagoo, a hermit crab. Age level: 9 and up
Howell, Troy, Mary Pope Osborne, and Paul Werstine. Mermaid Tales from Around the World. New York: HarperCollins, 1999. A dozen mermaid tales from various cultures. Age level: 7-11
Lippert, Margaret H. The Sea Serpent's Daughter. TK CITY: Troll Associates, 1993. This is a Brazilian legend that tells how night came to the people who live in the Amazon rain forest-by way of the daughter of the Great Sea Serpent who lived at the bottom of the dark and peaceful ocean. Age level: 10-12
Schuch, Steve. A Symphony of Whales. New York: Harcourt, 1999. When thousands of beluga whales are caught in an iced-over inlet near her Siberian home, a young girl named Glashka, who has a gift for communicating with whales, finds a unique way to save them. Following Glashka's instructions, the people of her village and the crew of a Russian icebreaker ship manage to free the whales and lead them back to sea. Based on a true story, this tale is illustrated with oil paintings. Age level: 6-10
Shepard, Aaron. The Sea King's Daughter: A Russian Legend (Russian Folktales, Myths, and Legends). TK CITY: Atheneum, 1997. One of the most popular legends of Russia is this tale about a poor but gifted musician who draws the attention of the King of the Sea, and is invited visit his palace under the sea. Age level: 4-8
Spencer, Ann. Song of the Sea: Myth, Tales and Folklore. Toronto: Tundra Books, 2001. This collection of folktales originates from a variety of shores and beliefs, and includes a bibliographic list of sources at the end. Age level: 9 and up
Thomson, David. The People of the Sea: Celtic Legends and Myths. TK CITY: Canongate Books, 2001. The haunting record of a journey in search of the man-seal legends of the Celts. David Thomson's travels in the Hebrides and along the west coast of Ireland brought him into contact with a people whose association with the sea and its lore runs deep. They told of men rescued by seals in stormy seas, of babies suckled by seal-mothers, and of men who took sea-women for wives-centuries-old stories handed down to them by their forefathers. This book seeks to bring these fascinating legends alive. Age level: 12-18
Wolkstein, Diane. The Day Ocean Came to Visit. San Diego: Lou Gulliver Books, 2001. Trouble ensues when Ocean comes to visit at the house of her friends Moon and Sun. Color illustrations accompany this retelling of a Nigerian creation myth. Age level: 3-7
Copyright © 2003 American Museum of Natural History. All rights reserved.
More About This Resource...
This reference list has more than 50 books on ocean life, with titles for both kids and adults. A short description is given for each book, along with author name, publisher, and publication date. The list includes:
- illustrated looks at ocean habitats and marine life
- firsthand accounts of marine biologists and ocean conservationists
- collections of easy-to-complete activities and experiments
- collections of ocean fairy tales, folklore, and myths