Summer Reading Program Offers ‘Oceans of Possibilities’

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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 the oceans cover more than 70% of the Earth’s surface?

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

Our summer reading program is free and includes versions for all ages, even adults! Registration begins June 1. Dive into these books about the oceans and marine life.

For children from birth to 5 years old, one of my favorite books is “I want a boat!” by Elizabeth Garton Scanlon (Holiday Home, 2021). A girl uses her imagination to transform a box into a boat that sails the world. She and her stuffed animal friends encounter a storm, but find their way home in time for supper. Pair it with the classic “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak (Harper Collins, 1991) and you can have a conversation about travel locations in your imagination. The possibilities are limitless.

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

For ages 5 and up, check out the book to start reading “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 discover 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 depths"

“Otis and Will discover the depths: the record dive of the bathysphere” by Barb Rosenstock (Little, Brown and Company, 2018) is a well-researched children’s picture book that could appeal 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 living creatures in the depths of the ocean. Both men helped make further deep-sea exploration possible.

“Dive in: swim with life-size sea creatures” by Roxie Munro (Holiday House, 2020) explores a coral reef and its inhabitants through vibrant, life-size illustrations and interesting facts. It includes a folded section that opens to illustrate the size of a reef shark. This is another book that can be of interest to all ages.

For tweens and teens who prefer their reading in graphic novel form, I recommend “Sharks: Nature’s Perfect Hunter” by Joe Flood from the Science Comics series (First Second, 2018). It’s filled with information about the 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 dive instructor. The book visits three different areas above and below the seas, profiles people and animals, and discusses 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.

Adults may want to check “Anatomy of the Ocean: The Curious Parts and Pieces of the World Under the Sea” (Storey Editions, 2020). In easily accessible bite-size pieces, with colorful and accurate drawings, Julia Rothman provides information on ocean food chains, the anatomy of various sea creatures, coral reefs and the ocean floor, and how people affect the ocean. Due to its sketchbook-like format, this book also appeals to teenagers. It briefly touches on a wide variety of topics, so it can inspire you to learn more about a specific topic.

"ocean anatomy"

I’ve suggested mostly non-fiction books, but “Oceans of Possibilities” can cover all kinds of fiction as well. How about romance on a cruise ship? A mystery on the sea? Or historical fiction about immigrants traveling to the United States on a ship? Whatever you like, I’m sure we can help you find something to read this summer. Come see us!

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