5 brilliant books set on the high seas, chosen by Amy Raphael

Published on: 31 January 2022

Amy Raphael's brilliant new story The Ship of Cloud and Stars is a thrilling adventure about Nico, who accidentally ends up sailing on a famous scientist's boat!

Here, Amy recommends five more fantastic children's books featuring exciting sea voyages...

Amy Raphael and the front cover of The Ship of Cloud and Stars

1. Malamander by Thomas Taylor

Eerie-on-Sea, as its name suggests, is a mysterious place, especially when night falls. Still, Violet Parma is determined to find out what happened to her parents, whose disappearance might be linked to a legendary sea monster called the Malamander. Fiercely imaginative and atmospheric and with gorgeous drawings by George Ermos.

Read our review of Malamander

2. Stormy Seas: Stories of Young Boat Refugees by Mary Beth Leatherdale

This is an award-winning book chronicling five true stories about young people who have set sail in search of asylum. Filled with collages, sidebars, facts and timelines, Stormy Seas spans decades of history and includes escapes from Nazism, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Cuba. It's a brilliant way for children to learn about the ongoing refugee crisis.

3. Nim's Island by Wendy Orr

A young girl called Nim lives on an idyllic island in the middle of the sea with her scientist father and three friends: an iguana, a sea lion and a turtle. When her father disappears in a storm, Nim must forage for food and entertain herself. It's a tense and funny story and Kerry Millard's illustrations are beautiful.

4. The Deep-Sea Duke by Lauren James

The front cover of The Deep-Sea Duke

Pic: Helen Crawford-White

Lauren James uses sci-fi effectively to explore the climate crisis: Hugo spends the holidays on Hydrox, where his friend Dorian lives. Hugo initially worries about friendship dynamics, but then something else becomes more pressing - the butterflies from a neighbouring star system flee their planet and want to make Hydrox their new home, while a strange sea creature is causing issues of its own. An allegorical story to gently teach kids about the environment and equality.

5. Voyage of the Sparrowhawk by Natasha Farrant

This award-winning novel, set in the aftermath of World War One, follows the story of Lotti, who must escape her nasty aunt and uncle and Ben, whose brother Sam is missing in action. When Lotti and Ben decide to cross the Channel on a narrowboat to find Sam, the cat-and-mouse theme of the book really ramps up and it's a page-turner right till the very end.

Read our review of Voyage of the Sparrowhawk

Topics: Adventure, Features

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