Best Kids Books: Ocean Theme

A comprehensive list of the best ocean books for kids!  Over 70 of our favorite Ocean themed books. 
Our list includes fiction, non-fiction and realistic fiction titles that are appropriate for all kids preschool and up.

70+ of the best ocean books for kids
Best ocean books for kids

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Realistic Fiction:

Out of the Ocean by Debra Frasiese

This is great preschool or Kindergarten book to read before a visit to the beach. A must read if you ever go to check out what the low tide brings to the tide pool .

Sea Shells, Crabs & Sea Stars

A great beach or tide pool companion complete with safety information.

Over in the Ocean by Marianne Beaks and Jeanette Canyon

Fantasticly written book that combines poetry, basic math and vocabulary building practice (lots of verbs which provide an opportunity for kids to interact with the story). With the AMAZING 3D illustrations this is one book I recommend everyone to own!

10 Reasons to Love a Turtle by Catherine Barr

This is a super cute book that shares 10 amazing facts about Sea Turtles. My son and I love the illustrations.

On Gull Beach by Jane Yolen

This is a new book by one of my favorite authors, Jane Yolen! It’s a great story with beautiful illustrations and is the first “high-tech” book I have checked out from the library. At the end of the book there are some non fiction photographs and information about Gulls and other birds that can be found on the beach. There is an app you can download that will play (just) the bird call when you scan the QR code, kinda cool if you’re a techie family!

If Sharks Disappeared by Lily Williams

This book explores extinction and what would happen if sharks were no longer a part of the ocean.

Star of the Sea Janet Hoffman

This award wining book explores the life through the point of view of an Ochre Sea Star.

What Lives in a Shell Kathleen Weeder Zoehfeld

This is an awesome level 1 science reader in a picture book format!

Wild Oceans

A super cool book with very graphic 3D illustrations. This book is better suited for older kids but can be good for any non-squemish shark lover.

Seashells by the Seashore by Marianne Berkes and Robert Noreika

A beautifully illustrated water color counting book (1-12) that teaches about the shells we find on the beach (are usually abandoned sea creatures homes).

Surprising Sharks by Nicola Davies and James Croft

A hilarious narrative text that debunks shark myths full of great facts and illustrations that suit very younger audiences.

In the Sea by David Elliot

A Creative exploration of various sea creatures with beautiful woodcut illustrations.

One Tiny Turtle by Nicola Davies and Jane Chapman

A lyrical account of the life of a Loggerhead Turtle.

Commotion in the Ocean by Giles Andreae

A collection of poems that teach about marine life.

Somewhere in the Ocean by Jennifer Ward

A great rhyming counting book with an ocean theme.

What it’s like to be a fish by Wendy Pfeffer and Holly Keller

This classic picture book was re-branded (new cover) and is a great picture book that teaches kids about fish.

The Pout Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen

Learn how to turn your frown upside down with this super cute picture book. This is seriously one of my favorite not just as a mama but as a teacher.

A House for Hermit Crab by Eric Carle

This colorful and classic children’s book by Eric Carle is great way to introduce children to the life skill of flexibility and why you should embrace change.

Swimmy by Leo Leoni

Swimmy teaches his friends how to work as a team when danger lurks near in this award wining children’s book.

I’m the Biggest thing in the Ocean

This is one of my personal favorite books! I use it for a few different things… to introduce children to reading (its super easy to follow along and engaging enough for kids to memorize), the food chain and humility.

Mr. Seahorse by Eric Carle

Another wonderful book by Eric Carle. The illustrations are beautiful and I love how he presents the differences about how seahorses are created and care for their young.

At the Beach by Ann Rockwell

This book is from the author of Apples and Pumpkins, a popular fall themed bookIt’s a beautifully illustrated story about a little girls day a the beach.

Good Night Ocean by Mark Jasper

Part of the Good Night Our World Series this book explores sea animals in different environments.

All the Way to the Ocean By Joel Harper

In this inspirational tale two friends take a look at the way we live, it’s affect on the ocean ecosystem and what we can do about it.

Follow the Moon Home Phillipe Costeau and Deborah Hopkinson

The new girl in town, Viv learns that she can make a difference in her community & helps bring together a town to save this majestic sea creature.

Good Thing You’re Not an Octopus by Julie Marks and Maggie Smith

A story where a little boy considers how his life would be different if he were a variety of different animals. This book is NOT about the octopus, rather it is a story about basic needs of various animals. The illustrations are great and this is an excellent beginning reader (lots of sight words).

Non- Fiction:

Shark Lady

True story of girl power and sharks… need I say more?

Who eats What: Food Chains and Food Webs by Patricia Labuer 

A Great S.T.E.M. and N.G.S.S. book.

Hello Ocean by Pam Muñoz Ryan

A beautifully illustrated 5 senses related poem about the ocean.

Simon & Schusters Children’s Guide to Sea Creatures

A Great reference book with beautiful photos and in depth information.

Magic School Bus on the Ocean Floor

The best selling science series is back in the 20th Anniversary paperback edition.   Learn about coral reefs and more with Mrs. Frizzle and the gang!

Ocean a Visual Encyclopedia DK

Another beautiful ocean reference book by DK. I buy these for the photos alone but there is a lot of great information in them as well.

Clownfish and Sea Anemones Work Together by  

Explore the symbiotic relationship between clownish and sea anemones.

Clownfishes  by Joyce Wilkerson

Everything you need to know about clownfish conveniently located in a Kindle book.

Sea Turtles By Laura Marsh

This is a level 2 National Geographic Kids Reader focuses on Sea Turtles and is an easy to follow read aloud or a great book kids will be able to read on their own.

National Geographic Readers: Ocean Animals Set 

Level 2 & 3 Readers this series has always been popular with my students (and my son).  It is great for reading aloud or kids who are already reading.

My First Big Book of the Ocean

This delightful reference book has over 100 beautiful photos and discusses the diets, dwellings and more of many childhood favorite sea creatures.

A Swim through the Sea by Kristin Joy Pratt Serafini

Perfect for Preschool and Kindergarten this alphabetical tour of the ocean is lead by Seamore the Seahorse.

Over in the Ocean by Marianne Beaks and Jeanette Canyon

This fantastically written book is a must have for every ocean lover! It seamlessly integrates poetry, math and language.  If that wasn’t enough it has impeccably detailed 3D illustrations made entirely out of polymer clay.

Looking Closely along the Shore Frand Serafin

This is an excellent non-fiction book to read before you go tide pooling or even just make a day trip to the beach. There is SO  much to see but only if you make the time to see it!

Super Simple Ocean Projects

6 Science Experiments designed to teach kids marine biology concepts.

Weird Sea Creatures Scholastic

Another kid favorite by scholastic. This book shows the most interesting sea creatures around!

Shark and other Deadly Creatures Encyclopedia

A visual reference book packed with over 200 sharks and other deadly creatures. This book is great for jr. adventurer in your family. The images are graphic and this book may not be well suited for younger children.

The Ultimate Book of Sharks National Geographic Kids

I love the photography in this book. It is an excellent shark reference book and was published in 2018.

The Discovery Channel Sharkopedia

One of the most popular shark books by far in my full-time teaching days! Over 400 full color photos and nearly 500 known shark species. A few photos are a little graphic for very young kids but this is arguably the best shark resource book for kids. A shark week enthusiast must-have!

Sharks National Geographic Reader

Fun facts to know and tell in a simple level 2 reader format.

Amazing Sharks

I Can Read series book dedicated to sharks. This reader is level 2 and has fun facts to know and tell.

I Wonder Why the Sea is Salty: and other questions about the ocean by Anita Ganeri

This book answers some pretty cool questions! It is perfect for any curious ocean lover or a Junior Marine Biologist.

Related Products:

Melissa and Doug Underwater Ocean Floor Puzzle 

Ocean Animal Toys 

Ocean Play Sand with 6 molds and 6 figures 

Why Are the Ice Caps Melting by Ann Rockwell and Paul Miesel

A great introduction to natural resources and conservation.

Ocean Sunlight: How tiny Plants Feed the Sea a Poetic introduction to the ocean by Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm

This book is well suited for teachers and homeschooling! It offers poetic language and beautiful illustrations to engage curious readers. It dives deep into the big picture of the food chain, life cycles and sustaining a balanced ecosystem.

Seashore: Explore the world of shells, animals and shore plants by DK

This book is fun for the whole family. It includes fun facts and activities and is a great read before making a trip to the beach or tide pool.

Seashore: A guide to shells, sea plants, shore birds and other natural features of American Coasts  Unknown

This book was published in 1955. It’s author is unknown. This coast to cost resource book is a classic!

Smithsonian Handbook: Shells by S. Peter Dance

A wonderful resource book packed full of colorful photographs (600 to be exact) and information (over 500 species of seashells).

Seashells by Josie Iselin and Sandy Carlson

This book beautifully combines the art, science and mystery of nature. The photography in this book makes this a field guide in a picture book format.

Florida’s Curious Beaches: A Guide for the Curious Beachcomber

This is the best field guide and reference for beachcombers and natives! It includes over 1800 photographs, maps and illustrations. It explains beach features, plants, minerals, animals and man’s footprint on beaches.

Fly Guy Presents: Sharks by Tedd Arnold

Fly Guy Presents is an UBER popular series by Tedd Arnold. Here the famous author uses his creative style to teach us about sharks.


Smiley Shark by Ruth Galloway

Smiley Shark is the friendliest, funniest shark in the sea. He has trouble understanding why the other fish don’t want to play with him.

Octopus’ Garden Ringo Starr

This picture book brings the classic Beatles song to life.

Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea by Ben Clanton

A funny (early) grahpic novel that features 2 unlikely friends.

Fish Eyes a counting book by Lois Elhart

Simply a beautiful counting book. Best for toddlers and preschoolers or anyone beginning to count.

Sea Life Coloring Book for kids and Toddlers

Shark coloring and activity book by blue waves press

National Geographic Magnificent Ocean coloring book by Justin Poulter

This coloring book really is magnificent! It is suited for children in second grade (serious coloring fanatics) and up!

Life under the Sea Kids Ocean Coloring Book

Great for kids of all ages.

The Mermaid by Jan Brett

This book is more a fairy tale in the ocean, think: underwater Goldi-locks.   The illustrations in Jan Bretts books are work checking out, no matter the topic.

The Three Little Fish and the Big Bad Shark

A funny marine version of the 3 Little Pigs.

Way Down in the Deep Blue Sea

Super fun imaginative story teaches less about the ocean.

Hooray For Fish Lucy Cousins

Great color and rhyme book with an ocean theme.

Water Sings Blue Ocean Poems by Kate Coombs

I LOVE the water-color illustrations and the poems in this delightful book.

Tickly Octopus by Ruth Galloway

A super cute book and you learn about the Octopus. There are some “scary” images for those who are sensitive. This book is great for kids 3 & up.

Clumsy Crab by Ruth Galloway

A cute story about a crab who is clumsy (because of his big claws) and learns to appreciate them when he is able to help a friend in need.

Fidgety Fish by Ruth Galloway

Fidgety Fish is a super cute story that helps kids learn the importance of listening to their caretakers.

Hark a Shark by Bonnie Worth

The Cat in the Hat teaches all about Sharks.

Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister

Rainbow fish is a class story about a fish learning to make friends or at least it is for me. The foil illustrations are super cool!


Activity Calendar

Want to learn more about the ocean but can’t make the trip out there?

Download the Preschool Activities Ocean Theme Calendar

Related Posts:

Kids Activities: Ocean Theme

Other Book Lists:

Picture Book Series: Part 1: 36 Picture Books that Teach Kids Life Skills

Picture Book Series: Part 2: 100+Best Bedtime Stories

Best Books for Gardening with Kids


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