As far back as 1719 The Life and Strange Surprising Tales of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe readers young and old have been captivated by nautical tales of dangerous journeys to remote lands on high seas with all its perils from flash storms to giant blue whales. Swashbuckling stories featuring madcap sojourns, shipwrecks, castaways, pirates, hidden treasure and exotic sea life have soaked our waking moments and saturated our dreams. From classics like Robert Louis Stephenson’s Treasure Island to more contemporary favourites such as Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s The Snail and the Whale nautical tales have been enjoyed for generations.
We have a wonderful array of exciting nautical fiction and informative non-fiction books to share with you celebrating marine life and the importance of becoming climate aware. Regardless of whether the tide is out or the waves are high, ensure you remain warm, dry and cosy with a good book in hand, and if it’s a bath book that’s even better.
Young readers will love the simply rhymes in Go, Go, Pirate Boat by Katrina Charman with enticing illustrations by Nick Sharratt, which will make you want to climb on board and set sail to find the hidden treasure. Barroux’s Where’s the Starfish? is a glorious book with a crucial message.
The Tide by Clare Helen Welsh and illustrated by Ashling Lindsay is a gentle humane tale about a busy day at the beach featuring a young girl and her grandfather. Touching on memory loss and living with dementia with warm, whimsical illustrations. Little Tiger’s new series highlighting the beauty of nature by Britta Teckentrup, in particular Sea: A World Beneath the Waves, is an ideal addition to every school library.
The Way to Treasure Island by Lizzy Stewart is ideal for independent readers. A Sea of Stories by Sylvia Bishop is a wonderful story containing nautical tales with stunning illustrations by Paddy Donnelly. Ben Clanton’s Narwhal and Jelly series is an amusing set of nautical tales of an unlikely friendship and brilliant for emerging readers. Fans of Alex T. Smith will cherish his new Mr Penguin series, especially the salty sea tales, Mr Penguin and The Lost Treasure and Mr Penguin and The Catastrophic Cruise. Popular children’s writer Malachy Doyle’s Molly and the Whale is a beautiful rescue story highlighting the impact of climate change, illustrated by Andrew Whitson. When siblings Molly and Dylan discover a blue whale washed up on the local beach the community joins forces to rescue it.
The Sea Book by Charlotte Milneris an ode to our sea and a timely read. It contains all the elements of marine life, including fascinating facts about underwater forests. Older readers will be enjoy by The Frozen Sea by Piers Torday and Lampie and the Children of the Sea by Annet Schaap. Fionn Boyle is back with another exhilarating adventure in The Storm Keeper’s Island by Catherine Doyle. Featuring Dagda’s army of merrows, soulstalkers, mythology and magic, the new sequel to The Lost Tide Warriors is just as exciting. Lauren Wolk’s Across the Bright Sea will capture readers’ attention. Flood World by Tom Huddleston is a fascinating and timely thriller with multiple plot twists about living on water. Any finally, why not follow Iris on an unexpected journey in Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly.
Where’s the Starfish? by Barroux Egmont
From the stunning light-blue cover featuring an array of bright and colourful fish of all shapes and sizes to the important message within, Barroux’s Where’s the Starfish? is a very special book and one to be treasured. Follow a clownfish, starfish and whale on each page as their journey becomes more difficult because of the increasing build-up of rubbish. Introducing young readers to the impact of ocean pollution, this book is, unfortunately, a very timely read. (Age 0–4)
The Fate of Fausto By Oliver Jeffers Harper Collins Children’s Books, £16.99 ISBN 9780008357917
Oliver Jeffers returns with another impressive book which can only be described as simple and stark in its beauty. A spellbinding, visual delight as well as a cautionary tale with sparse words with an ultra-clear message, The Fate of Fausto seems like it is already a timeless classic. The modern-day fable touches on greed, entitlement and the power of nature. Fausto sets out to conquer the world, but in time discovers to his own peril that the sea belongs to no one. In a time where power, wealth and possessions are revered, it is a reminder that we are fortunate to live on the planet. A book to be enjoyed time and time again. (Age 5+)
A Sea of Stories by Sylvia Bishop, illustrated by Paddy Donnelly. Stripes Publishing
When Roo goes to stay with her grandfather and his cat Bathsheba, she is a little anxious at first. Soon her worries are erased by games of hide-and-seek and hearing Grandpa’s tales of sea adventures. But now her Grandpa is too old and frail to walk down the cove to the sea. So Roo plans a way to bring ‘the cove inside for him, with its sunrises and sunsets, and its cliffs and caves and sea’. Paddy Donnelly’s gorgeous illustrations, featuring stunning settings, capture the changing moods perfectly, especially the seascapes and dramatic rolling waves. You can almost taste the salty air. 6–9
Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly, Piccadilly Press.
Iris is a technical whizz kid, who happens to be deaf. When she learns about a whale called Blue 55 who is unable to communicate with other whales, she sets out an incredible journey to help Blue 55. Iris composes a unique song for the whale using her tech skills. Her grandmother agrees to accompany her on their life-changing journey from California to Alaska to see the whales. Resilient, tenacious and determined, Iris is an amazing protagonist who will inspire readers. Written by Lynne Kelly, a sign language interpreter, this sensitive and uplifting story touches on many themes, including, loneliness, grief and the importance of connection and communication in its many forms. 9–11