Under the Sea

The Coral Kingdom

Laura Knowles & Jennie Webber

"Come and see the coral reef, beautiful beyond belief. From up above you'd hardly know so much is going on below." This illustrated picture book takes a dive through the wonderfully diverse ecosystem of a coral reef. Both informative and entertaining, this is a great choice of book to support a topic on oceans and seas. 

Atlas of Ocean Adventures

Emily Hawkins & Lucy Letherland

Atlas of Ocean Adventures is an oversized hardback with immersive illustrations that showcase the natural wonders and marine marvels from different oceans of the world. Each impressive double-page spread features a different sea creature in its natural habitat, including a range of fish, marine birds and larger mammals. Maps, illustrations, captions and text boxes work together to build a picture of the incredible diversity of ocean life around the world. 

The Secret of Black Rock

Joe Todd-Stanton

This is a richly illustrated story from the much-loved Joe Todd-Stanton. Erin is the daughter of a fisherwoman. Despite living in a fishing town, Erin is not allowed out to sea herself because of the legend of the Black Rock, which casts a mysterious shadow over the town. Determined to discover its secrets for herself, Erin stows away and soon finds herself exploring the rich ecosystem it harbours and desperately seeking a way to protect the Black Rock from impending destruction. 

The Big Book of the Blue

Yuval Zommer

This large-sized informative compendium is the kind of non-fiction that children like to come back to again and again to pore over its pages. Each double-page spread dives into a different sea-themed question, such as 'Are jellyfish made of jelly?' or 'Why do crabs run sideways?'. There is never too much text on each page, but what you find is accessible chunks of information cleverly interspersed into each ocean scene. The illustrations are stunning and come together to make wonderful spreads that serve as a treasure trove of visual delights for young eyes, as text and pictures work together to build an understanding of underwater habitats and the life they hold.   

Dougal's Deep-Sea Diary

Simon Bartram

This is a wonderful picture book from Simon Bartram, author of the very popular 'Man on the Moon'. The story is told in a diary format and it details the adventures of Dougal as he discovers the world of Atlantis. The text is accompanied with appealing illustrations showcasing the spectacular diversity of ocean life. 

Song of the Dolphin Boy

Elizabeth Laird

This new story from award-winning author Elizabeth Laird is a great choice for upper KS2. When young Finn takes a dive in the water near his fishing village, he is delighted to find dolphins to swim with. However, the dolphins face a terrible threat due to the masses of rubbish floating around in their water. It is up to Finn to find a way to save the sea creatures and prevent their natural environment from becoming ruined. This is a highly topical and thought-provoking novel.

The Storm Whale

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. 

Secrets of the Seashore: A Shine-a-Light Book

Carron Brown & Alyssa Nassner

We absolutely adore Shine-a-Light books. These wonderfully engaging picture books invite readers to interact by shining a torch through each page to reveal hidden details in the pictures, such as the tiny creatures hiding in the rock pool or mussel shells gently opening beneath the shore line.  The pictures, hidden images and text work together to create perfectly interactive information books that both delight and intrigue their readers. Remember to supply a torch too!


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. 

Into the Blue

Nicola Davies & Abbie Cameron

Take a journey of discovery under the sea to meet all of the wonderful creatures living below the surface. Celebrating the diversity of sea life, this rhyming text with delightful illustrations makes you feel like you are there with the diver all the way. We also enjoyed the accompanying 'How to Draw' book (available here).

10 Reasons to Love a Turtle

Catherine Barr & Hanako Clulow

A great stimulus for non-fiction writing, this information text explores how amazing turtles are, from the way the babies hatch in the sand and race to the sea, to the thousand-mile journeys they undertake, to their beautifully formed shells. 

Shark Lady

Jess Keating & Marta Alvarez Miguens

This is the inspiring story of real-life scientist Eugenie Clark, who loved sharks so much from a young age that she became determined to study them and show the world how wonderful the creatures actually are. Written by a zoologist, this is a great story representing girls who follow their aspirations in STEM careers.

Smart About Sharks

Owen Davey

This is a high-quality non-fiction text that explores the topic of sharks in a stylish and visually appealing way. Learn all about these fascinating and sometimes misunderstood creatures, with topics including habitats, food chains, classification and mythology. With images that appeal to all ages and text that is most suitable for KS2, this is a winner for all primary school libraries. 

The Blue Whale

Jenni Desmond

This is a beautifully illustrated non-fiction picture book all about the blue whale. The text is informative and filled with interesting details and the engaging illustrative style gives the book an almost story-like appeal. The book helps children to get a sense of the sheer vastness of these creatures, comparing their size to relatable everyday objects like vehicles or milk bottles. Engaging, appealing and highly recommended for KS1 and lower KS2. 

Twinkle, Twinkle, Squiglet Pig

Joyce Dunbar & Tim Hopgood

We love this hidden gem of a picture book about an unusual sea creature called a piglet squid, who lives in the deepest and darkest parts of the ocean. This is a great book to introduce the wonders of the lesser known habitats deep beneath the deep blue sea and it has a great message about finding joy in the things all around you.

Under the Sea (See Inside)

Kate Davies and Colin King

This non-fiction text is a celebration of life under the sea. Its flaps and cartoon-style illustrations will keep children engaged as they learn about incredible underwater worlds. This is a good book to use to introduce the conventional features of information texts, including headings, contents pages and captions.

Hooray for Fish

Lucy Cousins

Here at BooksForTopics HQ we are big fans of Lucy Cousins' bright and colourful artwork. This simple rhyming text showcases a whole host of imaginative fish in all their splendour, including ele-fish, eye fish and curly-wurly fish! This is a great book to get imaginations whirring in EYFS.


Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler

Tiddler is a fish who is always late for school. Every day he arrives with a different tall story about why he is not there on time, until one day he finds himself caught up in a big adventure that will make him very, very late indeed! A fun, rhyming story with a repeated refrain. 

Life on Earth: Ocean

Heather Alexander & Andres Lozano

This is a bright and colourful non-fiction text about the world of the ocean. The simple question-and-answer format makes it easy to gather lots of information and the interactive flaps keep young readers interested. This is the kind of non-fiction text that children like to choose to read and read again. 

One Day On Our Blue Planet: In the Ocean<