Booklist: Children's Books about Rivers & Coasts

Rivers, Coasts & Water Cycles

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A river is a large, natural stream of flowing water that usually flows out to sea. The topics of rivers, coasts and water are components of the National Curriculum in primary schools, covering aspects of both Science and Geography. From erosion and tributaries to precipitation and the water cycle, we've got the topic well covered with our selection of children's books about rivers, coasts and water.

Victorians children's books: Hetty Feather
Journey to the River Sea
Eva Ibbotson
Chapter book

Winner of the Smarties Book Prize Gold Award, this is a very popular choice for KS2. It tells the story of a small girl called Maia, who journeys down the Amazon River with her strict governess, making friends and enemies along the way. It is rich in descriptive language in both its depiction of the Brazilian jungle and in its descriptions of complex and cruel characters that will stay with you long after you close the book. 

Victorians children's books: Hetty Feather
The Wind in the Willows
Kenneth Grahame
Chapter book

This is a children's literary classic. Set along the river bank, it recounts the humorous adventures of Toad, who relies on his helpful friends Mole, Ratty and Badger to keep him safe from a series of disasters that he seems to bring upon himself. 

Victorians children's books: Hetty Feather
Song of the Dolphin Boy
Elizabeth Laird
Chapter book

This  story from award-winning author Elizabeth Laird is a great choice for 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 topical and thought-provoking novel. 

Victorians children's books: Hetty Feather
Why Water’s Worth It
Lori Harrison
Picturebook

 An informative picture book aimed at teaching children why water is valuable and what changes they can make in their everyday lives to conserve and not waste water. The book starts by exploring different uses for water, moving on to how our water is cleaned at treatment centres before closing with ideas for children to consider about how they can use less water. 

Victorians children's books: Hetty Feather
Water Cycles
DK
Non-fiction

Dive into the life-cycle of water and discover how it supports all life forms, how humans harness its power, and why we need to conserve it.  
From snowflakes falling from the clouds and deep ocean currents to hot springs and water in space, this children's nature book showcases the beauty and power of water in the natural world. 

Victorians children's books: Hetty Feather
River Boy
Tim Bowler
Chapter book

Winner of the prestigious Carnegie Medal, this profound novel is incredibly rich in descriptive language. It tells the story of swimming-obsessed Jess as she struggles to come to terms with the impending death of her grandfather, who insists on finishing one last painting before he dies. Jess meets a mysterious river boy and is faced with an ultimate challenge of her own to complete. This is a novel that deals with themes of life and death and is suitable for more mature or confident readers. 

Victorians children's books: Hetty Feather
Song of the River
Joy Cowley & Kimberly Andrews
Picturebook

"Come with me. Come with me. I will take you to the sea," sings the stream to Cam, the mountain boy. And so Cam's adventure begins, an adventure in which he will see many strange and wondrous sights, and make a marvellous discovery. A poetic and beautifully illustrated picture book exploring the different forms that water can take.

Victorians children's books: Hetty Feather
A River
Marc Martin
Picturebook

This is a stunning picture book about a girl who observes a river outside her window and imagines where it might go. The book follows the incredible journey of the river through different landscapes, including cities and forests, and there is much to spot in the details of each double-page spread. Highly recommended across both KS1 and KS2. 

Victorians children's books: Hetty Feather
The Secret of Black Rock
Joe Todd-Stanton
Picturebook

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. 

Victorians children's books: Hetty Feather
The Rhythm of the Rain
Grahame Baker-Smith
Picturebook

This is a beautiful picture book that explores the remarkable journey of the water cycle. From a few drops of rain in a little boy’s jar to the depths of the vast ocean and back to clouds in the sky above, wonderful water is given centre-stage in this gentle narrative that evokes awe at the sheer beauty and scale of nature’s systems.

Victorians children's books: Hetty Feather
Amazing Rivers
Julie Vosburgh Agnone & Kerry Hyndman
Non-fiction

Discover over 100 of the world's most incredible rivers in this fascinating title written by Julie Vosburgh Agnone and illustrated by Blue Peter prize-winner Kerry Hyndman. Amazing Rivers takes readers on a tour of the world's waterways, revealing the animals that call them home, the societies that rely on them and the environmental issues threatening them along the way. 

Victorians children's books: Hetty Feather
The River Singers
Tom Moorhouse
Chapter book

A modern alternative to Wind in the Willows, this is the story of a family of water voles and the adventures that they have on their journey along the Great River.

Victorians children's books: Hetty Feather
Amazon River
Sangma Francis & Romolo D'Hipolito
Non-fiction

This stunning illustrated guide to the world's most famous river and its surrounding rainforest is packed with incredible facts about South America's wildlife, people, geography and history.

Victorians children's books: Hetty Feather
Once Upon a Raindrop: The Story of Water
James Carter & Nomoco
Poetry Picturebook

Do you know why the Moon's so dry and yet our world is wet?
Immerse yourself in the wonderful world of water and discover the story of H20 from its very beginning. Engaging, informative poetry flows over the pages and stunning illustrations bring this story to rushing, gushing life.

Victorians children's books: Hetty Feather
A Drop in the Ocean: The Story of Water
Jacqui Bailey & Matthew Lilly
Non-fiction

Part of the popular non-fiction 'Science Works' series, this book uses cartoon-style illustrations and humorous text to explain the water cycle to children. The book also contains an experiment and links to websites to find more information. 

Victorians children's books: Hetty Feather
Water
Melissa Stuart
Non-fiction

This information text all about water contains high-quality photographs and accessible text that explains the science of the water cycle. Recommended for lower KS2.

More ideas...
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