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Boats: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best children's books about boats?

Do you have a little boat lover on your hands? From tug boats, to row boats, to speed boats, to steamers, lucky for you, there seems to be a children’s book about it, because what better mode of transportation is there for daring rescues, brave adventuring and valiant journeys home? We hope you enjoy these books about boats as much as we do!

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Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey
Written & illustrated by Maira Kalman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

The John J. Harvey fireboat was the largest, fastest, shiniest fireboatof its time, but by 1995, the city didn’t need old fireboats anymore. So the Harvey retired, until a group of friends decided to save it from the scrap heap. Then, one sunny September day in 2001, something so horrible happened that the whole world shook. And a call came from the fire department, asking if the Harvey could battle the roaring flames. In this inspiring true story, Maira Kalman brings a New York City icon to life and proves that old heroes never die.

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The Antlered Ship
Written by Dashka Slater & illustrated by Terry Fan and Eric Fan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

An inquisitive fox named Marco and a bored flock of pigeons join the crew of deer Captain Sylvia, setting sail in her antlered ship in search of a wonderful island and finding friendship on the way.

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Boats on the Bay
Written by Jeanne Walker Harvey & illustrated by Grady McFerrin
Thoughts from Lauren Hancock
I was all hearts-for-eyes emoji over this book as soon as I picked it up in the bookstore, and I haven't stopped loving it. My three-year-old feels the same way. It's fun to look at and quick to read, making it easy to read over and over again. There's a lot to discuss in it too--we like to identify specific places, talk about what the various people are doing, and notice opposites. Yes, we definitely love it a little extra because we live in the San Francisco Bay Area and the illustrations prominently feature the bridges, islands, buildings, and horizons we know and love, but children and adults from anywhere will enjoy the beautiful illustrations and descriptions of many different types of boats.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Illustrations and easy to read text portray a variety of vessels, from houseboats to dredgers, through the course of a busy day on the bay.

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The Sea Knows
Written by Alan B. Havis and Alice B. McGinty & illustrated by Stephanie Laberis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Dive in and explore the wonders of the ocean and its inhabitants in this lyrical, fact-filled ode to the sea! This beautifully illustrated picture book features extensive nonfiction backmatter for further exploration.

We are young. The sea is old. The sea has secrets to unfold. The sea knows.

In this playful, rhyming celebration of the marine world, readers can explore all of the wondrous things the sea knows. It knows huge whales and small krill; it knows short crabs and tall giant kelp; it knows brightly colored starfish in shallow pools; and in the inky depths it knows the alluring jewel of an anglerfish’s glowing lure.

Discover all of the strange and magnificent underwater creatures in this accessible tribute to the power and mystery of the ocean.

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Ocean Meets Sky
Written by Terry Fan & illustrated by Eric Fan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

It’s a good day for sailing. Finn lives by the sea and the sea lives by him. Every time he looks out his window it’s a constant reminder of the stories his grandfather told him about the place where the ocean meets the sky. Where whales and jellyfish soar and birds and castles float. Finn’s grandfather is gone now but Finn knows the perfect way to honor him. He’ll build his own ship and sail out to find this magical place himself! And when he arrives, maybe, just maybe, he’ll find something he didn’t know he was looking for.

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  • Ahoy, Li'l Buccaneers! - Buccaneers sail. Buccaneers steer. Buccaneers grumble, snarl, and sneer. Hardy har har! Calling all Li’l Buccaneers to set sail on a fun adventure, filled with dancing, singing, sparring, and treasure hunting. Young swashbucklers and their pirate pals are guaranteed a mighty good time with this delightfully rip-roaring, rhyming board book.

  • Yellow Kayak - A child and his beloved best friend go on a grand sea adventure in this magical picture book by the author and artist who created If I Had a Little Dream. You just never know what a new day will hold if you are brave enough to find out. On one quiet afternoon, a boy and his special friend’s unexpected adventure bring joy and excitement and sights never imagined. And the best part of any adventure is returning home with stories to tell and you best friend at your side.

  • Lifeboat 12 - In the tradition of The War That Saved My Life and Stella By Starlight, this poignant novel in verse based on true events tells the story of a boy’s harrowing experience on a lifeboat after surviving a torpedo attack during World War II. With Nazis bombing London every night, it’s time for thirteen-year-old Ken to escape. He suspects his stepmother is glad to see him go, but his dad says he’s one of the lucky ones—one of ninety boys and girls to ship out aboard the SS City of Benares to safety in Canada. Life aboard the luxury ship is grand—nine-course meals, new friends, and a life far from the bombs, rations, and his stepmum’s glare. And after five days at sea, the ship’s officers announce that they’re out of danger. They’re wrong. Late that night, an explosion hurls Ken from his bunk. They’ve been hit. Torpedoed! The Benares is sinking fast. Terrified, Ken scrambles aboard Lifeboat 12 with five other boys. Will they get away? Will they survive? Award-winning author Susan Hood brings this little-known World War II story to life in a riveting novel of courage, hope, and compassion. Based on true events and real people, Lifeboat 12 is about believing in one another, knowing that only by banding together will we have any chance to survive.

  • The Wanderer - “Wonderfully strange and strangely wonderful, Peter Van den Ende’s Wanderer is an epic dream captured in superbly meticulous detail.”–Shaun Tan As with Shaun Tan’s The Arrival, it gives us collective goosebumps to introduce the singular talent and imagination of Peter Van den Ende to North America. Without a word, and with Escher-like precision, Van den Ende presents one little paper boat’s journey across the ocean, past reefs and between icebergs, through schools of fish, swaying water plants, and terrifying sea monsters. The little boat is all alone, and while its aloneness gives it the chance to wonder at the fairy-tale world above and below the waves uninterrupted, that also means it must save itself when it storms. And so it does. We hope that readers young and old will find the strength and inspiration that we did in this quietly powerful story about growing, learning, and life’s ups and downs.

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Emily Windsnap and the Ship of Lost Souls
Written by Liz Kessler & illustrated by Sarah Gibb
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-11

Emily Windsnap finds herself caught between worlds in a dramatic new episode of the New York Times best-selling series. A field trip to a mysterious island quickly turns into an adventure when Emily Windsnap and Aaron discover a secret lookout point from which they spot a ghostly ship that no one else seems to be able to see. The ship appears and disappears only at certain times of day–growing fainter each time. Searching for answers only leads to more questions until Emily and her friends confront the island’s keeper, uncovering the incredible story of a ship caught between land and sea, day and night . . . life and death. Only Emily, with her ability to transform from mermaid to human, can enter Atlantis to try to bring the ship’s passengers back before the portal is closed forever. Emily knows that if she fails, not only will the passengers never see their loved ones again, but Emily won’t be able to return either. Will she be able to resist the allure of Atlantis and return home before it’s too late?

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It's Raining, It's Pouring
Written by Poppy Green & illustrated by Jennifer A. Bell
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

Sophie Mouse and her furry friends prepare for a big storm that’s headed right for Silverlake Forest in this tenth charming book of The Adventures of Sophie Mouse series! Sophie Mouse has been preparing for the first-ever Silverlake Forest Spring Fling for weeks. She has come up with activities, like a Lily Pad Dance, she’s thought of games to play, and she’s created all sorts of fun hats, masks, and other costumes for her friends to wear. But the day of the Spring Fling is approaching, and Sophie’s twitching whiskers are telling her that the rain is too! Sure enough, it rains and it pours. Will Sophie figure out a way to save the day or will all her hard work go to down the drain? With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, the Adventures of Sophie Mouse chapter books are perfect for beginning readers.

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Stephen Biesty's Cross-Sections: Man-Of-War
Written by Richard Platt & illustrated by Stephen Biesty
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-11

The author of Incredible Cross-Sections takes a detailed look inside an eighteenth-century warship, providing fascinating facts about the ship and the people aboard it. BOMC Main.

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Words Set Me Free: The Story of Young Frederick Douglass
Written by Lesa Cline-Ransome & illustrated by James E. Ransome
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

“Words Set Me Free is the inspiring story of young Frederick Douglass’s path to freedom through reading”–

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Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard
Written by Rick Riordan
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

Magnus Chase, a once-homeless teen, is a resident of the Hotel Valhalla and one of Odin’s chosen warriors. As the son of Frey, the god of summer, fertility, and health, Magnus isn’t naturally inclined to fighting. But he has strong and steadfast friends, including Hearthstone the elf, Blitzen the dwarf, and Samirah the Valkyrie, and together they have achieved brave deeds, such as defeating Fenris Wolf and battling giants for Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir. Now Magnus faces his most dangerous trial yet. His cousin, Annabeth, recruits her boyfriend, Percy Jackson, to give Magnus some pointers, but will his training be enough? Loki is free from his chains. He’s readying Naglfar, the Ship of the Dead, complete with a host of giants and zombies, to sail against the Asgardian gods and begin the final battle of Ragnarok. It’s up to Magnus and his friends to stop him, but to do so they will have to sail across the oceans of Midgard, Jotunheim, and Niflheim in a desperate race to reach Naglfar before it’s ready to sail. Along the way, they will face angry sea gods, hostile giants, and an evil fire-breathing dragon. Magnus’s biggest challenge will be facing his own inner demons. Does he have what it takes to outwit the wily trickster god?

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  • Sheep on a Ship - The Book Snob Mom -

    I love this series! The rhymes are clever and I appreciate the addition of some less common vocabulary ("Sheep collide!"), and of course the illustrations are dynamic and humorous! It's such a quick, fun read-aloud, with tons of details to appreciate

  • The Treasure of Maria Mamoun - Twelve-year-old Maria lives a lonely, latchkey-kid’s life in the Bronx. Her Lebanese mother is working two nursing jobs to keep them afloat, and Maria keeps her worries to herself, not wanting to be a burden. Then something happens one day between home and school that changes everything. Mom whisks them to an altogether different world on Martha’s Vineyard, where she’s found a job on a seaside estate. While the mysterious bedridden owner―a former film director―keeps her mother busy, Maria has the freedom to explore a place she thought could only exist in the movies. Making friends with a troublesome local character, Maria finds an old sailboat that could make a marvelous clubhouse. She also stumbles upon an old map that she is sure will lead to pirate’s plunder―but golden treasure may not be the most valuable thing she discovers for herself this special summer.

  • Crossing on Time - David Macaulay, creator of the international bestseller The Way Things Work, brings his signature curiosity and detailing to the story of the steamship in this meticulously researched and stunningly illustrated book. Prior to the 1800s, ships crossing the Atlantic Ocean relied on the wind in their sails to make their journeys. But invention of steam power ushered in a new era of transportation that would change ocean travel forever: the steamship. Award-winning author-illustrator David Macaulay guides readers through the fascinating history that culminated in the building of the most advanced—and last—of these steamships: the SS United States. This book artfully explores the design and construction of the ship and the life of its designer and engineer, William Francis Gibbs. Framed around the author’s own experience steaming across the Atlantic on the very same SS United States, Crossing on Time is a tour de force of the art of explanation and a touching and surprising childhood story.

  • The Circus Ship - After courageously swimming to shore when the ship that they are traveling on sinks and the wretched captain does nothing to rescue them, circus animals find a way to become a valued part of a coastal community.

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The Star Thief
Written by Lindsey Becker
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The constellations come to life in this imaginative fantasy adventure debut. Honorine’s life as a maid at the Vidalia mansion is rather dull, dusting treasures from faraway places and daydreaming in front of maps of the world. But everything changes when she catches two brutish sailors ransacking Lord Vidalia’s study, and then follows a mysterious girl with wings out into the night…. Suddenly, Honorine is whisked into the middle of a battle between the crew of a spectacular steamship and a band of mythical constellations. The stars in the sky have come to life to defend themselves against those who want to harness their powers. Much to her surprise, Honorine is the crux of it all, the center of an epic clash between magic and science, the old ways and the new. But can this spirited young girl bring both sides of a larger-than-life fight together before they unleash an evil power even older than the stars?

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Mayflower Treasure Hunt
Written by Ron Roy
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-9

Visit Plymouth Rock with the A to Z Mysteries gang! The hunt is on! Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose are spending Thanksgiving in Plymouth, Massachusetts. They can’t wait to see the sights and have a Thanksgiving dinner, just like the Pilgrims would have eaten. Then the kids learn about a sapphire necklace that went missing on the real Mayflower. Could the 400-year-old treasure be hidden somewhere nearby? And will someone else find it before they do? With A to Z Mysteries Super Editions, chapter book readers can keep on collecting clues and solving mysteries with Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose. Now with over 8 million copies in print, this classic kid-favorite series is back with a bright new look and hidden messages!

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The San Francisco Splash
Written by David A. Kelly & illustrated by Mark Meyers
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Time for a seventh-inning stretch! The San Francisco Splash is book #7 in our early chapter book mystery series, where each book is set in a different American ballpark! Splash! A hit soars over the walls of the San Francisco ballpark on the bay and drops into the water. But then Mike and Kate hear another, much larger splash nearby . . . and this time it’s not a baseball. It’s a man overboard! And when he’s pulled from the water, the old-time ballplayer discovers his World Series ring is gone! Is it at the bottom of the bay? Or was it somehow stolen by a long-ago rival? The San Francisco Splash includes several pages of Dugout Notes, fun facts about San Francisco’s recently built ballpark. Cross Ron Roy’s A to Z Mystery series with Matt Christopher’s sports books and you get the Ballpark Mysteries: fun, puzzling whodunits aimed at the younger brothers and sisters of John Feinstein’s fans.

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The Secret Of Black Rock
Written by Joe Todd-Stanton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Erin loves to lie on the jetty, looking for the weirdest fish in the sea—the weirder, the better! And she knows the best ones must be further out, where her mum won’t let her go… Out there in the deepest sea lies the Black Rock: a huge, dark and spiky mass that is said to destroy any boats that come near it! Can Erin uncover the truth behind this mysterious legend?

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The Mayflower
Written by Kate Messner
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Myths! Lies! Secrets! Smash the stories behind famous moments in history and expose the hidden truth. Perfect for fans of I Survived and Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales. In 1620, the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock and made friends with Wampanoag people who gave them corn. RIGHT? WRONG! It was months before the Pilgrims met any Wampanoag people, and nobody gave anybody corn that day. Did you know that the pilgrims didn’t go straight from England to Plymouth? No, they made a stop along the way–and almost stayed forever! Did you know there was a second ship, called the Speedwell, that was too leaky to make the trip? No joke. And just wait until you learn the truth about Plymouth Rock. Through illustrations, graphic panels, photographs, sidebars, and more, acclaimed author Kate Messner smashes history by exploring the little-known details behind the legends of the Mayflower and the first Thanksgiving. “Kate Messner serves up fun, fast history for kids who want the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Absolutely smashing!” –Candace Fleming, award-winning author Don’t miss History Smashers: Women’s Right to Vote!

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  • Raft - Inspired in part by his own childhood, this gorgeous picture book from Jim LaMarche, the beloved illustrator of A Story for Bear and The Elves and the Shoemaker, tells the story of one stubborn boy’s unexpectedly wonderful summer on the river.This is an imagination-sparking story about appreciating the simple, natural joys of the world and the people in it, and about discovering and exploring one’s own talents. School Library Journal proclaimed, “This dazzling picture book is an artistic triumph.” The author’s note describes the similarities between his own life and the life of his protagonist.Nicky is convinced that his summer with his grandmother in the Wisconsin woods is going to be the worst summer ever. She cooks food that he doesn’t like, there’s an art studio where her living room should be, and he’s expected to do chores–including fishing, the most boring chore ever.But one afternoon, while Nicky is trying to catch their dinner, a raft drifts down the river towards him. The raft has a calming magic about it, affecting both Nicky and the wildlife of the river and woods. Through the raft and the adventures it brings him on, Nicky finds new common ground with his grandmother, a fellow river rat, who encourages him to explore his newfound talent for art.

  • Dash - A dog’s-eye view of the Mayflower voyage and the first Thanksgiving at Plymouth Colony! English springer spaniel Dash and his furry friend Mercy–a mastiff–travel with their master, John Goodman, in search of the New World. Taken from the pages of history, this Dog Diary follows the story of the colonists whom we now call Pilgrims, from their sixty-six-day voyage at sea to the celebration of their first harvest with the Wampanoag Indians who become their friends and advisors. With realistic black-and-white illustrations by Tim Jessell and an appendix including information about the Mayflower, Plymouth Colony, springer spaniels, and the primary sources on which the book is based, this is historical fiction that dog-loving middle graders–and educators–can be truly thankful for!

  • The Boy Who Fell Off the Mayflower, or John Howland's Good Fortune - In the first book he has both written and illustrated, master artist P.J. Lynch brings a Mayflower voyager’s story to vivid life. At a young age, John Howland learned what it meant to take advantage of an opportunity. Leaving the docks of London on the Mayflower as an indentured servant to Pilgrim John Carver, John Howland little knew that he was embarking on the adventure of a lifetime. By his great good fortune, John survived falling overboard on the crossing of the Atlantic Ocean, and he earned his keep ashore by helping to scout a safe harbor and landing site for his bedraggled and ill shipmates. Would his luck continue to hold amid the dangers and adversity of the Pilgrims’ lives in New England? John Howland’s tale is masterfully told in his own voice, bringing an immediacy and young perspective to the oft-told Pilgrims’ story. P.J. Lynch captures this pivotal moment in American history in precise and exquisite detail, from the light on the froth of a breaking wave to the questioning voice of a teen in a new world.

  • Saturdays at Sea - The fifth and final book in Jessica Day George’s magical bestselling series, where Celie and her family set sea on a grand ship made in the likeness of their beloved Castle! There is never a dull moment for Celie and her family in Castle Glower–even when they’re not in the Castle itself! After traveling to the seaside kingdom of Lilah’s betrothed prince, Lulath, Celie and her companions are busy training griffins, enjoying wedding festivities, and finishing construction of a grand ship built from parts of the Castle. But on their maiden voyage, the Ship steers them far off course into uncharted waters. Celie and Lilah hope that the Ship is taking them to the ancient island where unicorns once roamed, but as the journey grows longer and supplies run low, they are in trouble. Celie, Lilah, and Rolf know they must trust the Ship as they trust the Castle, but what if they never reach land again? Don’t miss these other stories from New York Times bestselling author Jessica Day George: The Rose Legacy seriesThe Rose Legacy Tuesdays at the Castle seriesTuesdays at the CastleWednesdays in the TowerThursdays with the CrownFridays with the WizardsSaturdays at Sea Dragon Slippers seriesDragon SlippersDragon FlightDragon Spear The Twelve Dancing Princesses seriesPrincess of the Midnight BallPrincess of GlassPrincess of the Silver Woods Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow Silver in the Blood

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Legend of the Golden Snail
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

A young boy’s favorite storybook tells of a Golden Snail that lived long ago in the mythical Spiral Isles. When it journeyed through its magical realm, it took on the shape of a fantastical golden sailing ship. One day the ship was captured by a Great Enchanter and put under his spell. After he became bored with the Snail, the Enchanter banished it to the Ends of the Earth so no one else could ever sail in it. There it remains until a new master comes to claim it. Could a young boy named Wilbur be the next master? Featuring Graeme Base’s visually stunning signature art (packed with details, including a hidden “snail and crossbones” to search for in each picture) and a bonus mini book (bound in, nonremovable), The Legend of the Golden Snail is an adventure unlike any other. F&P Level: NF&P Genre: F Praise for The Legend of the Golden SnailStarred Review: “Base’s art steers the journey, alternating between action scenes and spectacular seascapes.” -Publishers Weekly “This beautiful book is sure to be a hit with the author’s fans and cultivate new ones.” -School Library Journal “Base’s big, elaborate illustrations teem with lively details.” -Booklist “The book is chock-full of Base’s bold, vibrant images and features fanciful locations. Lots to mull over for future sea adventurers.” -Kirkus Reviews

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Mr. Putter & Tabby Clear the Decks
Written by Cynthia Rylant & illustrated by Arthur Howard
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Mr. Putter and his fine cat, Tabby, are itchy. Not because of fleas, but because it is hot, they’re bored, and they’re out of orangesicles. So when their neighbor, Mrs. Teaberry, suggests a sightseeing cruise, they’re excited about an adventure. The boat makes them feel free! Plus they get orangesicles! But when it’s time to go home, there’s a little problem with Mrs. Teaberry’s good dog, Zeke. The nineteenth Mr. Putter & Tabby book has all the sly, sweet humor that has made the series a huge success. Cynthia Rylant’s perfect ear for rhythm and Arthur Howard’s comical illustrations continue to bring to life the quartet of characters readers know and love.

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The Friend Ship
Written by Kat Yeh & illustrated by Chuck Groenink
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Little Hedgehog is very lonely. But then she overhears passersby talking about something that gives her hope-something called a Friend Ship! Hedgehog imagines a ship filled with friends of all kinds, and soon she’s ready to hit the open seas in a boat of her own to track it down. Along the way, she meets other lonely animals eager to join her quest. They search north. They search south. They search east. But Hedgehog and her new friends can’t find the Ship anywhere! Until she realizes she knows just where the Friend Ship is. . . This heartwarming tale by Kat Yeh, with charming illustrations by Chuck Groenink, proves that sometimes, what you’re searching for is right in front of you.

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Peter Hops Aboard: A Peter Rabbit Tale
Written by Beatrix Potter
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

A fun, summery Peter Rabbit board book about a day at the pond.

It’s a sunny afternoon and the Rabbit family are having a picnic. The pond is sparkling in the sunshine and Peter wants to build a raft - all by himself. He soon finds it’s quite tricky without some help. Luckily his sisters are there to lend him a hand.

This fun summer tale has a positive message about learning to ask for help. Eleanor Taylor’s charming illustrations of Beatrix Potter’s well-loved characters mirror young reader’s early experiences.

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Who Sank the Boat?
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

A charmingly funny read-aloud that asks an important question: “Who sank the boat?” Beside the sea, there once lived a cow, a donkey, a sheep, a pig, and a tiny little mouse. They were good friends, and one warm, sunny morning, for no particular reason, they decided to go for a row in the bay. Do you know who sank the boat? “The idea is funny, the pictures are splendid, and the easy text is just right for the very young.”–The New Yorker “A bright, brisk tale, simply told, illustrated by cheerful, comical pictures.”–The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

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  • The Wreck of the Zephyr - At the edge of a cliff lies the wreck of a small sailboat. How did it get there? “Waves carried it up in a storm,” says an old sailor. But is it possible that waves could ever get that high? There is another story – the story of a boy and his obsessive desire to be the greatest sailor, the story of a storm that carried the boy and his boat to a place where boats glide like gulls high above the water and not upon it. Chris Van Allsburg tells that story of the boy and his boat, the Zephyr, in words and haunting, full-color pastel paintings. His sailboats sail the night sky with the stars in pictures so vivid that the reader can almost hear the wind in the sails. Here is a work of unusual artistry that will enchant readers of all ages for many years to come.

  • Charlie's Boat - Mr. Staccato -

    I love these books by Kit Chase. The illustrations are beautiful and the stories are straightforward and simple. A cute story about friends being inclusive and helping each other out.

  • The Unlikely Adventures of Mabel Jones - Mabel Jones finds herself aboard the Feroshus Maggot–a ship crewed by the strangest bunch of pirates you’d (never) want to meet. She then has to find pieces of an X-shaped puzzle that in her hands could be her ticket home, but in the hands of Captain Split, they’d give him the power to assemble a pirate militia to take over London!

  • The Voyage to Magical North - Twelve-year-old Brine Seaborne is a girl with a past–if only she could remember what it is. Found alone in a rowboat as a child, clutching a shard of the rare starshell needed for spell-casting, she’s spent the past years keeping house for an irritable magician and his obnoxious apprentice, Peter. When Brine and Peter get themselves into a load of trouble and flee, they blunder into the path of the legendary pirate ship the Onion. Before you can say “pieces of eight,” they’re up to their necks in the pirates’ quest to find Magical North, a place so shrouded in secrets and myth that most people don’t even think it exists. If Brine is lucky, she’ll find her place in the world. And if she’s unlucky, everyone on the ship will be eaten by sea monsters. It could really go either way.

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Out Into the Big Wide Lake
Written by & illustrated by Josee Bisaillon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

An empowering and necessary picture book about a young girl with Down syndrome who gains confidence and independence through a visit to her grandparents. It’s Kate’s first time visiting her grandparents on her own at their lakeside home. She’s nervous but excited at the adventure ahead. She helps her grandfather with his grocery deliveries by boat, where she meets all the neighbors, including a very grumpy old man named Walter. And she makes best friends with her grandparents’ dog, Parbuckle. Her grandmother even teaches her to pilot the boat all by herself! When her grandfather takes ill suddenly, it’s up to Kate – but can she really make all those deliveries, even to grumpy old Walter? She has to try! Based on the author’s sister, Kate is a lovable, brave, smart and feisty character who will capture your heart in this gorgeous and moving story about facing fears and gaining independence.

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The Paper Boat: A Refugee Story
Written by Thao Lam
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

A Kirkus Reviews most anticipated picture book of fall 2020 with starred reviews from Kirkus, Booklist, School Library Journal and the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books – a heartfelt and personal immigration story, new from critically acclaimed author Thao Lam New from Thao Lam, the award-winning author of picture books My Cat Looks Like My Dad, Wallpaper, and Skunk on a String, comes a personal story inspired by her family’s refugee journey. In The Paper Boat, Thao’s signature collage art tells the wordless story of one family’s escape from Vietnam–a journey intertwined with an ant colony’s parallel narrative. At her home in Vietnam, a girl rescues ants from the sugar water set out to trap them. Later, when the girl’s family flees war-torn Vietnam, ants lead them through the moonlit jungle to the boat that will take them to safety. Before boarding, the girl folds a paper boat from a bun wrapper and drops it into the water, and the ants climb on. Their perilous journey, besieged by punishing weather, predatory birds, and dehydration, before reaching a new beginning, mirrors the family’s own. Impressionistic collages and a moving, Own Voices narrative make this a one-of-a-kind tale of courage, resilience, and hope.

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Toy Boat
Written by Randall de Seve & illustrated by Loren Long and Randall de Seve
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom
This book is gorgeously illustrated and is simultaneously a fun "boat book"—showcasing lots of different kinds of boats with some of their attributes—while also conveying a much deeper and more moving message about independence, letting go, and a deep friendship. This really resonated with me in terms of a parent-child relationship, and how that bond can be strengthened if you let go a little but remain a safe place to always return to.
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-2

A toy boat gets separated from its owner and has an adventure on the high seas.

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Float
Written & illustrated by Daniel Miyares
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

“Wordless picture book about a boy who loses his paper boat in the rain”–

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I'll Catch You If You Fall
Written by Mark Sperring & illustrated by Layn Marlow
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In the spirit of Someday and Guess How Much I Love You comes a lyrical and endearing picture book about the people in our lives who are always there to look out for us. Who will keep the boy safe? “I will,” said his mother. “I will hold him close… and never let him lean too far.” Big or small, near or far, we all need someone to watch over us. This touching picture book is a reassuring tale about a journey and the people who are with us as we travel through life. It is for anyone who has wondered, Who will keep me safe? and for anyone who has answered, I will.

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  • Little Bear's Little Boat - Little Bear loves his little boat. But Little Bear soon begins to grow and grow, until one day he doesn’t fit in his little boat anymore! All children who experience growing pains will appreciate Little Bear’s predicament. And they will smile with satisfaction as the solution to his problem unfolds in simple, lyrical words and charming pictures from two award-winning picture-book creators.

  • Boat Book - A nonfiction board book that introduces a flotilla of different exciting boats to toddlers. Rowboats, canoes, sailboats, speedboats, cruise ships, submarines, tugboats, and more! Boats come in all sizes and we use them in different ways: for recreation, for transportation, and even for police work and fighting fires. This bright and strikingly graphic introduction to boats from award-winning author and illustrator GAIL GIBBONS is both basic and inviting, making it perfect for very young children.

  • Moby-Dick - Little Master Melville teaches little ones the language of the sea in Moby-Dick: An Ocean Primer. From ships and sailors to squawking gulls and moody good captains, Alison Oliver’s brilliant illustrations and Jennifer Adams’ clever, simple text will make a sea dog out of any young shipmate.

  • Little Pig Saves the Ship - The Book Snob Mom -

    It's hard to be the littlest, but when Little Pig's siblings all go off to sailing camp and he feels like he's missing out, his oldest brother and his grandpa do a great job of making sure Little Pig gets to be a little involved too. I appreciated the sweet and strong family relationships, the quality time they spend together and the realization Little Pig has that even though he's little, he still has something to contribute. The illustrations are sweet as well!

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Where Do Speedboats Sleep at Night?
Written by Brianna Caplan Sayres & illustrated by Christian Slade
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Illustrations and rhyming text reveal what sailboats, cruise ships, canoes, and other vessels do to get ready for bed after a hard day’s work.

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Mr. Gumpy's Outing
Written & illustrated by John Burningham
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Mr. Gumpy’s Outing is a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award winner and an American Library Association Notable Children’s Book. In England, illustrator John Burningham, with Mr. Gumpy’s Outing, became the first artist ever to win England’s Kate Greenaway Medal twice.

Mr. Gumpy lives by a river. One sunny day he decides to take a ride in his small boat.

It is such a perfect idea, for such a perfect summer day, that he soon has company: first the children, then the rabbit, the cat, the dog, the pig, the sheep, the chickens, and still others until– Mr. Gumpy’s outing comes to an inevitable but not unhappy, conclusion.

“Come for a ride another day,” says Mr. Gumpy at the book’s end. And young readers will return again and again to this sprightly story with its clever, captivating illustrations that reflect the sunlit quality of a lazy summer afternoon.

An ALA Notable Children’s Book A New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Children’s Book A Child Study Association Children’s Book of the Year A Library of Congress Children’s Book of the Year

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Sunker's Deep
Written by Lian Tanner
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Action, adventure, and mystery surround the Sunkers, a band of children who live in a submarine, as they try to survive a war in Book Two of the Icebreaker Trilogy . Sharkey is a Sunker - he was born on a fortunate tide, and everyone in the giant submersible Rampart knows it. He’s a hero, a future admiral, beloved by the ancestors. The trouble is his life is based on a lie. He’s been a fake hero for years, but when tragedy strikes, he must become a real one. And he has no idea how to go about it.Meanwhile, on land, Petrel, Fin, and the crew of the Oyster are on a mission to defeat the Devouts and bring lost knowledge back into the world, a mission they have no idea how to carry out. This second installment of the Icebreaker trilogy features action, adventure, and a world that is perhaps not so different from our own.

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Swallows and Amazons
Written by Arthur Ransome
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-14

Friendship, resourcefulness, adventures! Here’s the classic tale of two families of children who band together against a common foe: an uncle who claims he’s too busy for his nieces. The Walker children (John, Susan, Titty and Roger) are on school holiday in the Lake District and are sailing a borrowed catboat named “Swallow,” when they meet the Blackett children (Nancy and Peggy), who sail the boat, “Amazon.” The children camp together on Wild Cat Island where a plot is hatched against the Blackett’s Uncle Jim who is too busy writing his memoirs to be disturbed. Fireworks–literally–ensue along with a dangerous contest, a run-in with houseboat burglars, and the theft of Uncle Jim’s manuscript. How all this is resolved makes for an exciting and very satisfying story. Uncle Jim ends up apologizing for missing his nieces’ adventures all summer–thankfully, readers won’t miss a thing. Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons series has stood the test of time. More than just great stories, each one celebrates independence and initiative with a colorful, large cast of characters. Like the entire series that follows, this book is for children or grownups, anyone captivated by a world of adventure and imagination, exploring and setting sail.

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The Sinking of the Vasa
Written by Russell Freedman & illustrated by William Low
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

Newbery Medalist Freedman explores the mystery of the sinking of the great Swedish warship, the “Vasa, “ on her maiden voyage in 1628, and her resurrection from the seas centuries later. Full color.

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