Watery reads for 8-12s

Deep Blue

Here are our favourite sea-based books! Get ready to dive into an exciting world of mermaids, pirates, selkies and shipwrecks. Fin-tastic!

  • Ingo

    Author: Helen Dunmore
    Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
    Interest age: 9+
    Reading age: 9+

    In Cornish legend, the Zenor mermaid fell in love with Mathew Trewhella and enticed him away to live in the sea with her forever...

  • Emily Windsnap and the Siren's Secret

    Author: Liz Kessler
    Publisher: Orion Children's Books
    Interest age: 9+
    Reading age: 10+

    If anyone can single-handedly bring peace, solve the mystery of the lost sirens, find her estranged grandparents and persuade Neptune to lift his banishment curse, it's Emily...

  • The Selkie’s Mate

    Author: Nicola Davies Illustrator: Claire Jenkins
    Publisher: Graffeg
    Interest age: 7-10
    Reading age: 7+

    Lyrical text is enhanced by evocative watercolour illustrations in this haunting and heart-wrenching tale of love, loss and trust, which is inspired by Selkie legends from around the world.

  • Oliver and the Seawigs

    Author: Philip Reeve Illustrator: Sarah McIntyre
    Publisher: Oxford University Press
    Interest age: 7+
    Reading age: 8+

    Philip Reeve and Sarah McInytre have joined forces to create a wonderfully wacky nautical tale.

  • Deep Blue

    Author: Jennifer Donnelly
    Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
    Interest age: 10+
    Reading age: 10+

    The first book in the Waterfire saga, this magical undersea adventure takes its inspiration from the myth of Atlantis. The courageous teen mermaid heroines will especially appeal to girl readers.

  • The Seal Children

    Author: Jackie Morris
    Publisher: Otter-Barry Books
    Interest age: 4-9
    Reading age: 6+

    A tender and mythical exploration of the selkie myth in a family context, with a gentle and evocative use of watercolour, this breathtakingly beautiful book is one to treasure.

  • Not As We Know It

    Author: Tom Avery
    Publisher: Andersen Press
    Interest age: 9+
    Reading age: 9

    Younger middle-grade readers desperate to get their teeth into something a little more serious will enjoy this sensitive story.

  • Ottoline at Sea

    Author: Chris Riddell
    Publisher: Macmillan's Children's Books
    Interest age: 9+
    Reading age: 9+

    When Mr Munroe starts wearing the Bog Goggles he is led on an unexpected journey. On her quest to find her friend, Ottoline meets a host of different people and creatures, goes deep sea diving, and even flies in a plane.

  • Mother Cary’s Butter Knife

    Author: Nicola Davies Illustrator: Anja Uhren
    Publisher: Graffeg
    Interest age: 7-10
    Reading age: 7+

    Inspired by traditional folk tales of mythical sea creatures, this other-worldly story of the savagery and beauty of the ocean will captivate readers. The ethereal illustrations, in a palette of watery blues, greens and greys, perfectly complement the poetic narrative.

  • Adventures of the Steampunk Pirates: rise of the slippery sea monster

    Author: Gareth P Jones
    Publisher: Stripes
    Interest age: 7-11
    Reading age: 7+

    The Steampunk Pirates' treasure has been stolen by what they think is a sea monster. They make a plan to get their treasure back and uncover more mysteries than they bargained for in this rip-roaring tale of daring-do on the high seas.

  • Deep Water

    Author: Lu Hersey
    Publisher: Usborne
    Interest age: 12+
    Reading age: 12+

    Hugely evocative of the romantic and wild Cornish landscape, this modern retelling of the selkie myth is a magical and beautiful story about coming of age, transformation and belonging.

  • Tamsin and the Deep

    Author: Neill Cameron and Kate Brown
    Publisher: David Fickling Books
    Interest age: 8-12
    Reading age: 8-12

    A fantastic graphic novel from the team at children's comic The Phoenix, this is a page-turning adventure with a great main character in brave, athletic and reckless Tamsin.