It was one of those glorious days at the Oregon coast. The kind of day where you eek out every moment of sunlight, watching the kids sprint circles in the sand and splash in the warm, salty pools until they collapse. And you eat sandy sandwiches because you cannot bear to leave, even for lunch. And you turn into a kid yourself and try a cartwheel for your nephew (even though your body doesn’t do that anymore) and dig your hands into the hot-baked sand just to feel the warmth. For me anyway, there is no better day and no better place on Earth. Today reminded me of how much I have enjoyed sharing the discovery of marine life in the tide pools and estuaries with my daughter, niece, and nephew. Sea anemones, sculpins, sea stars, hermit crabs, mussels, clams, sea lions and harbor seals…there are so many miracles to wonder about through the eyes of a child. So, I wanted to share a list of ten of my favorite stories about the ocean, beach and seashore (old and new, in no particular order). They are wonderful reminders of all the time I have spent here and all the wonderful things I have learned, and they are some of my favorite books to read to the children in my life. If you have any favorite beach/ocean books, please leave a comment!
1. Secrets of the Seashore by Carron Brown and Illustrated by Alyssa Nasser
2. Sally Goes to the Beach by Stephen Huneck
3. When the Tide is Low by Sheila Cole and Illustrated by Virginia Wright-Frierson
4. Ladybug Girl at the Beach by David Soman and Jacky Davis
5. Stella, Star of the Sea by Mary Louise Gay
6. The Boy and the Whale by Mordicai Gerstein
7. The Maggie B by Irene Haas
8. Pout Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen and Don Hanna
9. The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson Illustrated by Alex Scheffler
10. Following Papa’s Song by Gianna Marino
"Bent paper... is something to celebrate!"
Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg is the perfect book for the little artist (especially one who might also be a little perfectionist, like mine)! Its playful flaps and innovative construction will help your child (and you) see the beautiful possibilities that can come from all those frustrating art moments (and life moments). I love how it allows the child a chance to imagine what she might do with the mistakes before the reveal. And now when I hear..."Noooo!" emanating from the art table, we have a starting place to work through the frustration. Not only is this a fun book, but it also teaches kids a valuable skill--seeing the opportunity in mistakes.
“You are not my mother, said the wolf pup.
I am not your mother, said the polar bear, but I can cuddle you and keep you safe.”
If you’re like me, you’re always wondering how to balance protecting your children and exposing them to the necessary realities of life…. in the right way AND at the right time. Pup and Bear by Kate Banks and Naoko Stoop (illustrator) is a beautiful and moving story that gently reveals the cycle of life while showing how the kindness of a stranger can lead to a powerful cycle of its own. A stranded Arctic wolf pup is found by a mother polar bear who cares for him until he is ready to go out on his own. The “wondrous wheel of life” turns round and round, but the Arctic wolf never forgets this extraordinary act of love.
This question provoking story had my daughter and I talking about how a small act can change your heart for a lifetime and about giving kindness in a forward way. This would also be a beautiful book for families who have adopted or found children in a non-traditional way.
Loses its cool, spews ash cloud--
Looking for something different for a curious kid that loves non-fiction? You’ve got to check out this innovative book by Sally M. Walker and William Grill. Earth verse is a combination of haiku, gorgeous art, and earth science. The haiku section encourages kids to think about earth’s processes from new, playful perspectives. Who knew rocks could be so relatable? Even my 3-year-old loved the concept of earth’s layers as a hard-boiled egg! The haikus are accompanied by accurate illustrations, skillfully showing familiar concepts from fresh angles. At the end, there are deeper explanations about the earth, minerals and rocks, fossils, earthquakes and volcanoes, and water in all its forms. It would be a great aid in the classroom, but it is also a beautiful book to have at home. Just leave it lying around to inspire curiosity and awe about our planet.