Summer Reading program offers ‘Oceans of Possibilities’

Each month, the Columbia Public Library offers selections from its collection related to a current bestseller or hot topic. Children’s Librarian Jerilyn Hahn compiled this month’s selections.

Did you know that oceans cover over 70% of Earth’s surface?

Daniel Boone Regional Library will explore “Oceans of Possibilities” this summer, encouraging readers to learn more about the many animals and plants found in oceans and the impact oceans have on our lives. For instance, did you know that besides providing a means of trade and transport, oceans also help with climate regulation?

Our Summer Reading program is free and includes versions for all ages — even adults! Sign-up begins June 1. Dive into these books about oceans and marine life.

For ages birth to 5, one of my favorite books is “I Want a Boat!” by Elizabeth Garton Scanlon (Holiday House, 2021). A girl uses her imagination de ella to turn a box into a boat that sails out into the world. She and her de ella stuffed animal friends encounter a storm, but find their way home in time for supper. Pair this with the classic “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak (Harper Collins, 1991) and you can have a conversation about traveling places in your imagination. The possibilities are endless.

“Somewhere in the Ocean” by Jennifer Ward (Rising Moon, 2000) is a variation on the classic children’s song “Over in the Meadow,” counting animals in the ocean. Learn about clownfish, hermit crabs, tiger sharks, jellyfish, manatees, sea turtles, octopi and more.

For ages 5 and older, check out the beginning-to-read book “Sink or Float” by Kimberly Derting (Greenwillow Books, 2022). Vivi and her classmates visit an aquarium where they see a variety of sea creatures and learn about an organ called a swim bladder. It helps a fish sink or float. Instructions for a science experiment that illustrates the concept are included.

“Otis and Will Discover the Deep: The Record-Setting Dive of the Bathysphere” by Barb Rosenstock (Little, Brown and Company, 2018) is a well-researched children’s picture book that could be of interest to all ages, even adults. Through this beautifully illustrated story, you learn about Otis Barton and Will Beebe who, in 1930, were the first humans to see live creatures in the ocean depths. The two men helped make further deep-sea exploration possible.

“Dive In: Swim With Sea Creatures at Their Actual Size” by Roxie Munro (Holiday House, 2020) explores a coral reef and its inhabitants through vibrant, life-sized illustrations and interesting facts. It includes a folded section that opens up to illustrate the size of a reef shark. This is another book that may interest all ages.

For preteens and teens who prefer their reading in graphic novel format, I recommend “Sharks: Nature’s Perfect Hunter” by Joe Flood from the Science Comics series (First Second, 2018). It is filled with information about different types of sharks, their biology and behavior, and their relationship to humans.

“Planet Ocean: Why We All Need a Healthy Ocean,” written by Patricia Newman, includes photographs by Annie Crawley, a certified master scuba instructor. The book visits three different areas above and below the seas, profiling people and animals, and discussing environmental changes and their effects. There are QR codes printed in the book that take you to videos of student divers, sea creatures, pollution and more, adding information and bringing the sea to life.

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