The 6 Best Children’s Books About the Ocean to Fascinate Young Minds

Written by Angie Menjivar
Published: October 14, 2022
© iStock.com/Thomas De Wever

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Key Points

  • The best overall children’s book about the ocean is The Fascinating Ocean Book for Kids.
  • There are books for science-minded children, board books for the littlest of little ones, and coloring books to explore ocean life via a fun activity!
  • Be sure to consider the reading level and type of book before making your final choice!

Some topics are easy to explain to kids. There are others, like the vastness of the ocean that can be a bit more difficult. To make this process easier, authors and illustrators have come together to create children’s books about the ocean. Some contain tons of fun facts about the ocean that make learning fun for kids. Others tell a fictional story about underwater creatures. Some have an underlying message about conservation.

In the list below, we highlight six amazing children’s books about the ocean for kids at different reading levels. We made sure to include a coloring book so you can create an ocean-themed set of activities to keep your kiddo entertained. There’s a board book for babies and toddlers and some with inspirational messages to help kids overcome their fears. There’s plenty to learn about the ocean and there are beautiful lessons the ocean offers as well.

  1. The Fascinating Ocean Book for Kids: 500 Incredible Facts! (Fascinating Facts)
  2. The Fascinating Ocean Book for Kids: 500 Incredible Facts! (Fascinating Facts)
    • Contains tons of inspiring facts that keep kids entertained for hours
    • Useful trivia section
    • Customers rate this book 4.8 out of five stars
    Check Amazon
  3. The Adventures of Myrtle the Turtle: Teaching Kids About Ocean Plastic Pollution and Recycling, Children’s Picture Book Age 3-5 (Environmental Children’s Picture Books)
  4. The Adventures of Myrtle the Turtle: Teaching Kids About Ocean Plastic Pollution and Recycling, Children’s Picture Book Age 3-5 (Environmental Children’s Picture Books)
    • Introduces children to the importance of caring for nature
    • Rhyming story makes it easy to remember for little ones
    • Customers rate this book 4.5 out of five stars
    Check Amazon
  5. Lola: The Bracelet Of Courage (Ocean Tales Children's Books)
  6. Lola: The Bracelet Of Courage (Ocean Tales Children's Books)
    • Lyrical rhyme structure that makes it fun for kids to read
    • Story about bravery and accessing courage
    • Customers rate this book 4.7 out of five stars
    Check Amazon
  7. Life Under The Sea: Ocean Kids Coloring Book (Super Fun Coloring Books For Kids)
  8. Life Under The Sea: Ocean Kids Coloring Book (Super Fun Coloring Books For Kids)
    • Pages are bursting with cute illustrations of the ocean and sea life
    • Coloring book with lots of high-quality images for kids to enjoy
    • Customers rate this book 4.5 out of five stars
    Check Amazon
  9. Hello, World! Ocean Life
  10. Hello, World! Ocean Life
    • Book designed to introduce little ones to concepts surrounding ocean life
    • Contains tons of bright and cheerful illustrations
    • Customers rate this book 4.9 out of five stars
    Check Amazon
  11. Marine Biologists on a Dive (Kid Scientist)
  12. Marine Biologists on a Dive (Kid Scientist)
    • Invites children to explore the ocean through observation of a pod of whales
    • 32 pages long and suitable for children between four and eight years old
    • Customers rate this book 4.7 out of five stars
    Check Amazon

The Fascinating Ocean Book for Kids: 500 Incredible Facts!

The best overall children’s book about the ocean is The Fascinating Ocean Book for Kids. This book is available in Kindle, hardcover, and paperback versions. It covers everything from zooplankton to anemones. The book contains 500 fascinating ocean facts for kids between eight and 12 years old. If there is an ocean lover in your house (or your classroom), this book is sure to be a big hit. It introduces children to everything that lurks beneath the ocean surface and contains tons of inspiring facts that keep kids entertained for hours. Each of the pages is full color and includes images of different fish, dolphins, and even some shipwrecks.

The book has a trivia section so your kiddo can top off all the learning with some fun memory-building questions. An example of a trivia question is, “_____ can inject some of their organs to defend themselves and then regrow them within a few weeks.” Your child can then enter the correct sea animal, a sea cucumber in this case. Although the book is intended for children between ages eight and 12, some customers feel that the reading age could go lower to even five years of age depending on your child’s reading level.

Customers rate this book 4.8 out of five stars. If you have a child in your life that is interested in nature-filled books along with facts and science, this is the perfect buy. Another customer says that this book contains a great mix of different pictures and facts. It’s also great for kiddos who may not yet be at the reading stage but enjoy looking at different pictures. It perfectly encapsulates ocean animals for kids who are interested in learning and seeing more (without getting in the water themselves!).

Best Overall
The Fascinating Ocean Book for Kids: 500 Incredible Facts! (Fascinating Facts)
  • Contains tons of inspiring facts that keep kids entertained for hours
  • Useful trivia section
  • Customers rate this book 4.8 out of five stars
Check Amazon

The Adventures of Myrtle the Turtle

There are certain books geared toward more science-minded children and then there are those that are filled with fun illustrated pictures. This one has an underlying message though. Myrtle the turtle is the main character in this book who takes kiddos on a journey where she discovers sea life and recycling relate to one another. The book introduces the harm plastic pollution causes to the ocean, helping your young reader understand that their life on land directly impacts the lives of all the sea creatures they’ve come to know and love.

Kids who read this book immediately fall in love with Myrtle and all of her new friends as they learn together about plastic pollution. The book teaches your little one to avoid polluting the ocean by reducing their use of plastics, reusing whenever possible, and recycling as well. The book has rhyming text, which makes it a fast favorite among little ones who love memorizing and reading along with you. Don’t be surprised if they ask you to read it at once and more than once!

Customers rate this book 4.5 out of five stars. They love the fun and colorful cartoon-like illustrations. One customer says that those illustrations alone are worth picking up this book. He also loves that this story is concise and fun for children yet touches on an important environmental lesson. Another customer called this a great book about keeping our oceans clean not just for turtles, but also for other sea life. She finds it offers great encouragement for children to clean up and recycle.

Best Environmental Picture Book
The Adventures of Myrtle the Turtle: Teaching Kids About Ocean Plastic Pollution and Recycling, Children’s Picture Book Age 3-5 (Environmental Children’s Picture Books)
  • Introduces children to the importance of caring for nature
  • Rhyming story makes it easy to remember for little ones
  • Customers rate this book 4.5 out of five stars
Check Amazon

Lola: The Bracelet Of Courage

This next book is an inspirational work that centers around a brave mermaid. The book is available in Kindle, hardcover, and paperback formats. It’s designed to be heartwarming, and it has a lyrical rhyme that makes it fun to read. If your child has an affinity for mermaids, that’s just a bonus! Most children who enjoy exploring the ocean appreciate this book along with their teachers and parents.

In this story, Lola has a magic bracelet. This bracelet helps her feel courageous. One day, however, she loses her special bracelet, and she has to learn how to travel through a new path on the way home. It’s through a dark cave with a slimy kelp forest. Without her special bracelet, she has to find the courage within herself to travel through an unknown place. It’s a story about bravery and accessing courage, not from a magical piece of jewelry, but a place deep inside yourself.

Customers rate this book 4.7 out of five stars. They find that children between one and six years old take to it the most. One customer shares that the illustrations are vivid and colorful throughout the book, and they help children envision the storyline. She feels this is a perfect book to gift a child who might be more on the introverted side. Although timidity is natural, there are moments when courage can be cultivated. Throughout the book, Lola’s friends encourage her and she’s finally able to get safely home.

Best Inspirational
Lola: The Bracelet Of Courage (Ocean Tales Children's Books)
  • Lyrical rhyme structure that makes it fun for kids to read
  • Story about bravery and accessing courage
  • Customers rate this book 4.7 out of five stars
Check Amazon

Best Coloring: Life Under The Sea: Ocean Kids Coloring Book

For a fun coloring book, pick up Life Under the Sea book. It’s a paperback and the pages are bursting with cute illustrations of the ocean and sea life for your kiddo to bring to life. This is a great activity for children that helps to spark their creativity and keeps them busy and entertained for hours. The coloring book is 40 pages long and each page contains a high-quality image for your child to color in. Just pick up some bright colored pencils, pens, or markers, and let them have fun.

Customers rate this book 4.5 out of five stars. The pictures are easy to color even for young kids and each new page has an interesting image. They describe it as having very good quality paper with a paperback cover as well. If your kids don’t like busy coloring pages, this is a great find. Sometimes, too many visuals can overwhelm little ones but with this book, the pictures are very clean with large prints. One customer purchased one for her mother with dementia along with her child. Both of them have found this coloring book incredibly entertaining and have spent hours making each illustration their own.

Life Under The Sea: Ocean Kids Coloring Book (Super Fun Coloring Books For Kids)
  • Pages are bursting with cute illustrations of the ocean and sea life
  • Coloring book with lots of high-quality images for kids to enjoy
  • Customers rate this book 4.5 out of five stars
Check Amazon

Best Board Book: Hello, World! Ocean Life

Babies and toddlers need a sturdy board book. This book is exactly that. It’s about the ocean and the different creatures and plants that live within it. This is a board book designed to introduce little ones to non-fiction concepts. The author writes in a very clear and easy-to-understand fashion and the book contains tons of bright and cheerful illustrations. An example of the text you find inside this book is “An octopus has eight arms. Can you count them all?” This is a neat way to combine nature, science, and culture for toddlers who are sponges for new information.

Customers rate this book 4.9 out of five stars. They love that this book has educational content wrapped in a really fun book. One customer says that she purchased it for her grandson and recently purchased a second one for her new niece. She loves that it helps them learn about animals in oceans. She thinks the graphics are adorable, it keeps her grandson engaged, and it’s interesting even for her. Several other customers have purchased this book as a gift for the children in their lives.

Best Board Book
Hello, World! Ocean Life
  • Book designed to introduce little ones to concepts surrounding ocean life
  • Contains tons of bright and cheerful illustrations
  • Customers rate this book 4.9 out of five stars
Check Amazon

Marine Biologists on a Dive

If you have a kid scientist on your hands, he or she will love this book. It invites children to explore the ocean through observation of a pod of whales. One of the characters in the book is Maggie. She’s a marine biologist. She has a team, and they all dive in to study the living beings in the ocean. The book tells the story of an exciting day. They have spent months researching and now they’re diving into the water along with that group of whales to record their songs. The book explores the way whales communicate. It’s 32 pages long and suitable for children between four and eight years old.

Customers rate this book 4.7 out of five stars. They appreciate the vivid imagery and the fictional story that incorporates a lot of science vocabulary. For example, one of the sentences reads “She has a hypothesis, or a prediction based on evidence, that the whales sing by stringing together combinations of these musical sounds in a repeated pattern.” It’s a challenging book for curious children that invites them to explore the study of science along with a group of kid marine biologists they can relate to.

Best for Kid Scientists
Marine Biologists on a Dive (Kid Scientist)
  • Invites children to explore the ocean through observation of a pod of whales
  • 32 pages long and suitable for children between four and eight years old
  • Customers rate this book 4.7 out of five stars
Check Amazon

Criteria: What to Look for in Children’s Books About the Ocean

There are several different books that children can explore on their own or together with you. To help you decide on the perfect gift for the child in your life, we invite you to consider the following.

Type of Book

The type of book is super important. There are board books, hardcover books, and Kindle versions of books. For babies and toddlers, board books are always your best bet. These are durable books that can withstand spills, gummy bites, and sticky fingers. They’re tough and that’s exactly what you need when you hand over a book to a tiny person. Some children may prefer to read on their iPads or tablets so purchasing a Kindle version may be the most appropriate. However, if your child prefers a tactile experience of holding a book and turning the pages, a paperback or hardcover may be the best choice for them.

Difficulty

The difficulty refers to the reading level of the book. Some children advance more quickly than others so if you happen to have a child that reads above his or her expected reading level, fantastic! You can challenge them with a book that includes more extensive vocabulary so they can remain engaged throughout. On the other hand, if you have a very young reader who is still learning how to put sentences together, be sure to pick up a book that is appropriate for that stage. A book that’s too complex may discourage a young reader and the idea here is to gift them with something they will not just love, but also understand and appreciate. As your kids grow, you can start introducing books at a higher reading level to help them keep advancing.

How to Introduce Children to the Ocean

Very young children should not be allowed to explore the ocean without first being taught to swim. It’s also important to get them acquainted with the ocean via some ocean books. You can teach them about all of the intriguing aspects of the ocean while also touching on important safety measures that they must take when at the beach. If there is a baby beach in your area, this is the best place to start. Usually, these environments are protected from huge, crashing waves, which allows children to explore the water in a safe and contained environment.

Visits to the beach can be used as opportunities for learning new lessons. You can watch along with your child how the water moves. Have them point out which way they think the water is moving by watching the swimmers and surfers out past the waves. Help them identify where the lifeguard posts are and watch how other children behave when near the water. When back at home, you can introduce a new book that addresses another topic regarding the ocean. You might study some sea creatures, study swimming techniques, and study some conservation books as well.

If you have not already enrolled your little one in swimming lessons, this is a great time to start. The earlier they learn, the better they’ll be as swimmers and the safer they will be around water. The ocean is gorgeous, but it should be respected because it’s incredibly powerful. The sooner children understand this, the more they operate with reverence when around crashing waves. You can also begin incorporating sand activities. Pick up a pail and a shovel to start building sand castles with them. The intention is to incorporate fun while also ensuring children understand the dangers of the ocean.

Up Next, More Books About the Environment:

About the Author

Angie is a writer with over 10 years of experience developing content for product and brand reviews, focusing much of her time on animals of all types. A cat owner herself, she enjoys writing articles on beloved pets that both inform and entertain her audience.

The 6 Best Children’s Books About the Ocean to Fascinate Young Minds FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How do you explain the ocean to a child?

Start with facts and corresponding images. Slowly build on the foundation to help children understand the different parts of the ocean. If you live by the beach, you can have them explore the sand as you watch the waves crash on the shore. You can take some of their favorite ocean books so they can point out what they recognize, like seashells, waves, and little crabs!

Which books are best for infants?

For infants, the best books are board books. They can enjoy the colorful illustrations and the text usually has a fun rhyme that’s easy to follow along with. If they want to grab the book, they can and they won’t rip the pages. These are the most durable for little ones.

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