Title: Life in the Ocean, The Story of Oceanographer SYLVIA EARLE
Written by and illustrated by: Claire A. Nivola
Published in Canada by: D&M Publishers, Inc., 2012
Themes/Topics: women marine biologists, biography, women explorers, the ocean
Suitable for ages: 7-11
Seen from above, Earth’s land seems to float like an island on a vast sea—there is so much more blue than green. Hidden below the surface of that ocean lies an immense watery world. Catching the sun’s light at first, then cold and utterly black in its depths, the sea covers mountains taller, plains broader, and valleys steeper than any here on land.
Life in the Ocean is a biography about Sylvia Earle, an oceanographer. It begins by talking of Sylvia’s early years on a New Jersey farmland her love of the outdoors. The family then moves to Clearwater, Florida and meeting all the mew marine life in the Gulf of Mexico “softened the blow of leaving the farm” (the book also uses direct quotes from Sylvia to give readers a greater feel for her personality and passion).
Sylvia’s love of deepwater diving increased throughout her teens and this impacted her career choice as she entered adulthood. During her years as an oceanographer, she spent over seven thousand hours underwater exploring many oceans across the globe. This book reveals her close encounters underwater, such as when she came within inches of a humpback whale, gray angelfish, and parrot fish, among others. Sylvia’s discoveries and observations are recorded, including differences in marine life at different depths of the ocean. The book expresses Sylvia’s appreciation for the marine life rarely encountered by humans and the need for respect and care of the oceans due to the dependence of humans and land animals on life in the ocean. According to the book, only five percent of ocean water has been explored. transitioning into adulthood, and how her experiences encompassed who she became. The story examines Sylvia’s career and accomplishments weaving informative marine facts throughout.
Why I like This Book:
This is a beautifully written and illustrated biography of a strong woman scientist, which is inspirational for children. The ocean can feel vast and inhospitable to humans and this book helps demystify yet retain the magic of the ocean.
The illustration style is a breathtaking – delicate and whimsical watercolors are especially powerful in the panoramic underwater scenes, where Sylvia becomes one with the sea creatures. Other pages are filled with small animals and objects, which can get a little lost around the text but will be of interest to budding young marine biologists.
This book pays homage not only to Sylvia Earle’s work, but to the incredible ecosystem of the oceans as well and their interdependence with the rest of the planet.
- Back matter includes a bibliography and an author’s note that describes Sylvia’s concern that ignorance is at the root for our casual misuse of the ocean and her call to us to protect “the blue heart of the planet. This book provides reasons to care about this huge magical part of our planet.
- I would include this on units about the ocean, ecosystems and jobs!
- Beyond Penguins –hands on activities and lesson plans about oceans
- Proteacher ocean unit
EARTH DAY 2015, is coming up on Wed, April 22nd, so I am reviewing a series of book leading up to this that you may wish to incorporate into your celebration.
Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found sorted alphabetically and by topics, here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.