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Best Children’s Books about the Seaside

Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside, oh I do like to be beside the sea! The UK has one of the longest coastlines in the whole of Europe and every home in the UK lies 80 miles or less from the coast. That might be why the seaside has become such a popular topic in primary schools, especially in KS1 and EYFS! From sandcastles and seahorses to rockpools and riptides, there’s plenty to learn about with a seaside theme and we’ve put together a list of recommended children’s books to help you to dig deeper into the seaside topic.

Picturebooks about the seaside

Julia Donaldson
 & Lydia Monks
A seaside favourite from the stellar picture book partnership of Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks, When Crab finds a new shell, he doesn't want to share it with anyone - especially not a blobby purple anemone and a tickly bristleworm. But life in the rock pool proves tougher than Crab thinks and he soon finds he needs his new housemates. With brilliant rhythmic verse, bright and distinctive illustrations, this is a firm storytime favourite.
Ronda Armitage
 & David Armitage

A classic picture book featuring the story of the lighthouse keeper Mr. Grinling and his attempts to receive his lunch before it is eaten by the pesky seagulls. First published forty years ago, The Lighthouse Keeper series is a popular choice to go alongside a seaside topic. This text is rich in vocabulary and a good option for Talk for Writing.

Roland Harvey
This is a series of fictional postcards from a child on a seaside holiday. The pictures are incredibly detailed and children will spend hours poring over them. This book works well as a great stimulus for writing.
Benji Davies
Noi lives by the sea with his fisherman father and life there can feel pretty lonely sometimes. When Noi discovers a little whale washed up on the beach, he takes it home to care for it in his bath tub. But there are two problems; the first is that keeping it a secret from his dad will be tougher than he thinks and the second is that whales really belong in the depths of the sea. This engaging and empathetic picture book is a great choice for KS1.

Nathan Bryon
 & Dapo Adeola
Join Rocket as she sets sail on a brand new mission - to save a Caribbean beach from plastic pollution! When Rocket goes on holiday to visit her grandparents, she's shocked by the pollution that's spoiling their island home and putting the local sea life at risk. Can she think of a way to save the day and bring the community together?
Simon James
Sally finds a limpet when she is exploring rock pools at the beach. When the limpet attaches itself to Sally's finger, she and her friends simply can't find a way to unstick it. This is a humorous story with an important message about leaving things in their natural environments.
David Wiesner

This award-winning wordless picture book offers endless opportunities for discussion and creative writing. A beach-combing young boy finds a washed-up camera on the shore, and when the film is developed it reveals a fantastic new world of creatures from the ocean. Incredible illustrations that speak for themselves. Read our blog for inspiration from one talented teacher who brought a Flotsam literacy unit to life.

Fiona Lumbers
Clem is an explorer, a collector and a protector of the seas. Treasure hunting on her beloved beach, she stumbles across Crab, his claw stuck in a plastic bag. Crab will be much safer and happier in the city with Clem, but doesn't he belong on the beach? A stunningly illustrated timely tale of cleaning up our beaches, with the message that every small action helps.
Kes Gray
 & Garry Parsons
A popular choice with EYFS and KS1, this is the story of a little boy who asks for a bucket for his birthday. Billy fills his bucket with water and his parents fail to believe him when he says that it contains wonderful creatures from the ocean. That is, until Dad decides to borrow the bucket to wash his car!

Michael Morpurgo
 & Michael Foreman

A longer illustrated story from Michael Morpurgo and illustrated by Michael Foreman, all about a boy from a cornish fishing village who helps a beached dolphin find its way back into the sea. This heartwarming story tells of the special bond between children and animals, which is characterised by unconditional love and loyalty. Poignant at times and magical at others, we love this beautifully rich story of a friendship between a boy and a dolphin, which never fails to captivate KS1 audiences at storytime.

Short story and poetry collections about the seaside

Mairi Hedderwick
Short story collection
Follow the adventures of young Katie Morag, who lives on the Scottish Island Of Struay. These endearing stories, which have now been turned into a popular CBBC series, will help children learn about the ups and downs of coastal life on a small island.
Nicola Davies
 & Emily Sutton

Poetry meets science and art in this beautiful picture book anthology of sea-themed poems. Each double page spread explores a different aspect of the sea, from pebbles and sandcastles to whales and puffins to lighthouses and sailors. Each new aspect is drawn out in beautifully poetic language that makes the reader reflect with awe at the natural and man-made wonders of the sea, the pleasure it provides and the unanswered questions it holds.

Non-fiction books about the seaside

Moira Butterfield
 & Jesus Verona
Discover a world of wonder on a seaside stroll with this beautiful picture book from the National Trust. Chasing waves and having fun, water sparkling in the sun . . . Look what I found! A curly seashell. Inside it shines bright, like a pearl. Set off on an adventure to find treasure, from swirly sea shells to mysterious mermaid's purses, then learn more about each object with richly-illustrated and informative nature notes. Packed full of fascinating facts alongside a gentle rhyming narrative and encouraging children to get outside and explore their surroundings, this is a nature treasure hunt series for the whole family to enjoy.
Harriet Evans & Hannah Bailey

Turn the pages to discover the incredible habitats of sea and shore. From magnificent mangrove forests and colourful coral reefs to exciting estuaries and the dangerous deep sea, there is so much to explore. With superb split pages and new habitat on every spread, little learners can peek behind part of the scene to learn more about the wildlife which hides behind.

Clare Hibbert
An introduction to the history and geography of life beside the seaside. This non-fiction book compares what it would have been like to go on holiday to the seaside in the past with modern seaside holidays today. Readers are encouraged to explore what has changed and what has stayed the same, including the places we stay, beach activities and the clothes we wear.

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