Books about the ocean for primary-aged children

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Children enjoy discovering how much there is to know about oceans and everything that lives in them. It's vital to protect life in the sea as we combat climate change. This selection of books is packed with information on our amazing and varied sea creatures. 

  • A First Book of the Sea

    Author: Nicola Davies Illustrator: Emily Sutton
    Publisher: Walker Books
    Interest age: 5-8
    Reading age: 6+

    A First Book of the Sea reunites nature writer and poet Nicola Davies and illustrator Emily Sutton to create another stunning volume of poetic odes to the wonders of the sea.

  • Big Blue Whale

    Author: Nicola Davies Illustrator: Nick Maland
    Publisher: Walker Books
    Interest age: 5+
    Reading age: 7+

    Nicola Davies’ chatty picture book describes in detail the dimensions, eating habits and life-cycle of the blue whale.

  • The Big Book of the Blue

    Author: Yuval Zommer
    Publisher: Thames & Hudson
    Interest age: 5-8
    Reading age: 6+

    This wonderful, beautifully illustrated book about all things fishy (and ocean-y) has a gentle sense of humour: presenting digestible facts, ideal for lower primary children, with a light-hearted twist. 

  • Seahorse: The Shyest Fish in the Sea

    Author: Chris Butterworth Illustrator: John Lawrence
    Publisher: Walker Books
    Interest age: 5-8
    Reading age: 8+

    Seahorses are one of the most fascinating and ancient creatures that inhabit the oceans and this book explores their life-cycle and habits in some detail.

  • Hidden World: Ocean

    Author: Libby Walden and Stephanie Fizer Coleman
    Publisher: 360 degrees
    Interest age: 4-8
    Reading age: 6+

    This is a delightfully simple introduction to the creatures of the underwater world with realistic portraits and incredible facts. Readers will get a glimpse into the diversity of our ocean habitats and explore how animals use camouflage to outwit predators.

  • Obsessive About Octopuses

    Author: Owen Davey
    Publisher: Flying Eye Books
    Interest age: 6-11
    Reading age: 8+

    Owen Davey’s sixth book in this brilliant nonfiction series is as insightful, fascinating and beautifully designed as the rest, with a perfect amount of stunning illustrations and well-selected information about octopuses for mid and upper primary school children.

  • Who Rules the Rockpool?

    Author: Matty Long
    Publisher: Oxford University Press
    Interest age: 6-8
    Reading age: 7+

    Crab boasts that he is the ruler of the rockpool, as he’s so brave and strong, but Prawn insists that there’s more to survival than just being tough. An entertaining picture book with colourful, cartoon-like illustrations and plenty of witty one-liners. 

  • Interview With A Shark and Other Ocean Giants Too

    Author: Andy Seed Illustrator: Nick East
    Publisher: Welbeck
    Interest age: 7-11
    Reading age: 8+

    Intrepid wildlife reporter Andy Seed is back with another collection of interviews for which he has risked personal safety, and gotten seriously wet, while talking to the giants of the oceans.

  • Ocean Animals

    Author:
    Publisher: National Geographic Kids
    Interest age: 6+
    Reading age: 9+

    Get close-up with ocean animals - from sharks and manatees to turtles and blobfish. This book, full of amazing underwater photography, is perfect for any animal lover or aspiring oceanographer.

  • The Great Barrier Reef

    Author: Helen Scales Illustrator: Lisk Feng
    Publisher: Flying Eye Books
    Interest age: 6-8
    Reading age: 7+

    This lovely non-fiction book is filled with incredible facts about the Great Barrier Reef, from the weird and wonderful creatures that live there to the sheer scale of it - the size of 70 million football fields - and is stunningly illustrated by Lisk Feng. 

  • The Wonderful World of Water: From Dams to Deserts

    Author: Sarah Garré and Marijke Huysmans Illustrator: Wendy Panders
    Publisher: Prestel
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    Humans would not survive on Earth without water. But what is it exactly, and how do planet Earth’s weather and environments cycle water around so that we always have it? How does urine get cleaned up and put back into rivers and oceans? How do plants take water out of the ground, how do dams work, and what is the future of water in the world? 

  • Oceanarium

    Author: Loveday Trinick Illustrator: Teagan White
    Publisher: Big Picture Press
    Interest age: 8-11
    Reading age: 8+

    With remarkable illustration that will make anyone want to dive in and learn more about the wondrous oceanic realms, this is a brilliant addition to the now extensive “Welcome to the Museum” series, which has featured the planets, plants, history and more.

  • The Funny Life of Sharks

    Author: James Campbell Illustrator: Rob Jones
    Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 8+

    This is a non-fiction book with a difference: not only is it bursting with a wealth of fascinating information about sharks, such as their appearance, habitat and diet, but it also contains an amusing array of untruths and daft anecdotes about totally unconnected topics. 

  • Glow: The Wild Wonders of Bioluminescence

    Author: Jennifer N. R. Smith
    Publisher: Thames & Hudson
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 8+

    This large-format book is packed with incredible facts about the different flora and fauna that light up our world, from fireflies to anglerfish and even glowing mushrooms!

  • Epic Animal Journeys: Navigations and Migrations by Air, Land and Sea

    Author: Ed J Brown
    Publisher: Cicada Books
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 6+

    Migrating animals are found in all areas of the animal kingdom: birds, fish, reptiles, crustaceans, amphibians, mammals and insects. But why do they do it, and how does it work? There’s so much to learn, from the varying migration routes of different birds (gannets can cross oceans easily as they can take breaks to swim, float and fish for food, and storks r…

  • Earth’s Aquarium

    Author: Alexander Kaufman Illustrator: Mariana Rodrigues
    Publisher: Magic Cat Publishing
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 8+

    This stunning non-fiction picture book explores a diverse range of aquatic environments, from coral reefs to mudflats.