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Underwater Exploration: Books For Kids

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

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to underwater exploration. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about underwater exploration.

Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid.

We hope this list of kids books about underwater exploration can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book!

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The Tail of Emily Windsnap
Written by Liz Kessler & illustrated by Sarah Gibb
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The New York Times best-selling series With a sure sense of suspense and richly imaginative details, Liz Kessler lures us into a glorious undersea world where mermaids study shipwrecks at school and Neptune rules with an iron trident – an enchanting fantasy about family secrets, loyal friendship, and the convention-defying power of love.

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Under Water, Under Earth
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

Discover the amazing world that lies just beneath the surface! Hundreds of fascinating facts are waiting to be unearthed in this latest book from Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski, the creative duo behind the best-selling Maps. Dive below the surface and find out what happens under earth and under sea–from early submarines and deep-sea life to burrowing animals and man-made tunnels. You will never look at the world in the same way again! Gorgeous design and quirky illustrations make this a book to be pored over again and again.

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Daughter of the Deep
Written by Rick Riordan
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

New York Times #1 best-selling author Rick Riordan pays homage to Jules Verne in his exciting modern take on 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. If you have ever craved a story that will leave your heart racing, your lungs gasping from the numerous twists and turns, your soul heaving from the effort of now carrying an ensemble cast, you will find all that and more in these pages.–New York Times best-selling author Roshani Chokshi Ana Dakkar is a freshman at Harding-Pencroft Academy, a five-year high school that graduates the best marine scientists, naval warriors, navigators, and underwater explorers in the world. Ana’s parents died while on a scientific expedition two years ago, and the only family’s she’s got left is her older brother, Dev, also a student at HP. Ana’s freshman year culminates with the class’s weekend trial at sea, the details of which have been kept secret. She only hopes she has what it’ll take to succeed. All her worries are blown out of the water when, on the bus ride to the ship, Ana and her schoolmates witness a terrible tragedy that will change the trajectory of their lives. But wait, there’s more. The professor accompanying them informs Ana that their rival school, Land Institute, and Harding-Pencroft have been fighting a cold war for a hundred and fifty years. Now that cold war has been turned up to a full broil, and the freshman are in danger of becoming fish food. In a race against deadly enemies, Ana will make amazing friends and astounding discoveries about her heritage as she puts her leadership skills to the test for the first time. Rick Riordan’s trademark humor, fast-paced action, and wide cast of characters are on full display in this undersea adventure.Complete your middle grade action-adventure collection with these titles: Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick RiordanArtemis Fowl by Eoin ColferRick Riordan Presents: Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani ChokshiRick Riordan Presents: City of the Plague God by Sarwat Chadda

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Flying Deep: Climb Inside Deep-Sea Submersible Alvin
Written by Michelle Cusolito & illustrated by Nicole Wong
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

Climb aboard Alvin, the famous deep-sea submersible credited with helping to find the Titanic, and take a trip two miles down to the bottom of the ocean. Experience a day in the life of an Alvin pilot and join scientists at the seafloor to collect samples and conduct research. Along the way, discover what one wears, eats, and talks about during a typical eight-hour trip in a underwater craft and find out more about the animals that live deep in our oceans. Extensive back matter explains how Alvin works, describes the author’s research, and includes a glossary and further reading. An appealing, exhilarating, and informative vicarious journey of discovery –Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW Wong’s detailed illustrations add an exciting immediacy to the descent and to the glowing wonders of the deep”–Washington Post

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Flying Deep
Written by Michelle A. Cusolito & illustrated by Nicole Wong
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

Climb aboard Alvin, the famous deep-sea submersible credited with helping to find the Titanic, and take a trip two miles down to the bottom of the ocean. Experience a day in the life of an Alvin pilot, diving two miles down to explore the seafloor, collect samples, and conduct research. Along the way, discover what one wears, eats, and talks about during a typical eight-hour trip in a underwater craft, and find out more about the animals that live deep in our oceans.

In expressive, poetic language and gorgeous illustrations, the mysteries of the deep sea are revealed. Backmatter includes an author’s note about researching this book, a glossary, and suggested further reading.

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  • Young Captain Nemo - Armed with his wits, his friends, and his Nemotech submarine, a twelve-year-old descendant of Jules Verne’s famous antihero is determined to help make the ocean a safer place one adventure at a time in Jason Henderson’s Young Captain Nemo, first in a new middle-grade series. Gabriel Nemo is not your typical 12-year-old. A descendant of the famous Captain Nemo, he spent the first years of his life living in obscurity, isolated in his parents’ peaceful underwater research lab. But with his older sister off following in their ancestor’s footsteps, sinking whalers and running away from vengeful navies, Gabriel decides it’s time to forge his own path, and use his Nemotech legacy for good. Armed only with his wits, his friends, and his Nemotech submarine, Gabriel embarks on a series of daring rescues and exciting undersea battles. But when Gabriel’s sister suddenly appears with proof of previously undiscovered sea creatures–giant beasts inhabiting wrecked war planes and ships–Gabriel and his new friends must face their biggest and most dangerous mission ever!

  • Mary Poppins Up, Up and Away - A whimsical journey over, under, and through London with Mary Poppins Mary Poppins is perhaps the most beloved nanny of the page and screen, and this charming storybook with ornate, laser-cut pages and delicate illustrations, pays homage to her preferred mode of transport. Based on the novels by Pamela L. Travers, Mary Poppins Up, Up and Away is an enchanting journey over the rooftops of London, under the sea, and everywhere in between. A fresh approach to a children’s classic, it is sure to appeal to children of all ages.

  • Dolphin Treasure - Wayne Grover and his friends are diving for treasure in the waters off Florida’s southeast coast when a ferocious storm severs his boat’s moorings. Wayne is left stranded far from shore. The storm is making huge, powerful waves. Sharks are closing in. Can Baby, the dolphin Wayne recused as a calf, come to the diver’s rescue?

  • Song of the Deep - Twelve-year-old Merryn lives with her fisherman father in a little cottage by the sea. Each day, her father braves the tumultuous waves and returns home in time for dinner. One stormy evening, he doesn’t come back. Merryn has a vision that he s been dragged underwater by a terrifying sea creature, and he needs her help. Determined to rescue him, Merryn builds a tiny submarine and embarks on a journey through the undersea worlds she’s only heard about in her father’s lullabies. As she faces the dangers and wonders of the world below the waves, she realizes that her father’s stories were all real. Readers can also experience Merryn’s daring journey firsthand in the new “Song of the Deep” video game from acclaimed developer Insomniac Games.”

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The Scaredy Cat
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

Get totally smitten with mermaid kittens in the first book in this new chapter book series! It’s purrfect for fans of Magic Kitten and the Fairy Animals of Misty Wood series. Coral, Shelly, and Angel are best friends. They love exploring their home in Kittentail Cove. On the first day of sea school, their teacher asks everyone to bring in something special to share with the class. Shelly and Angel can’t wait to visit Tortoiseshell Reef to find an extra-special treasure. But the reef is all the way on the edge of the cove and Coral is scared to swim that far away from home. Can this scaredy-cat learn to be brave? These adorable purrmaids will have young readers paws-itively hooked from page one!

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Astronaut-Aquanaut
Written by Jennifer Swanson
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Journey from the deepest trenches in the oceans to the farthest humans have ventured into space and learn what it takes to explore the extremes. You might just be surprised by how similar the domains of ASTRONAUTS and AQUANAUTS really are. Space and the ocean. If you don’t think they go together, think again! Both deep-sea and space explorers have to worry about pressure, temperature, climate, and most importantly, how to survive in a remote and hostile environment. Join us on an amazing journey as we go up in space with astronauts and dive deep down in the ocean with aquanauts to explore the far-off places of our planet and the solar system. With a strong tie into STEM topics–such as making connections, making comparisons, and recognizing patterns across content areas–readers will discover the amazing science and incredible innovations that allow humans (and sometimes only machines) to survive in these harsh environments.

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How to Spy on a Shark
Written by Lori Haskins Houran & illustrated by Francisca Marquez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Spend a day at sea tracking sharks–with the help of a robot! Join a team of marine biologists as they head out in their boat to study mako sharks. Simple, entertaining text and bright, accurate illustrations bring science and technology to life, and additional pages of facts about sharks follow the story. This book is bound to make a splash with young minds!

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Finding the Titanic: How Images from the Ocean Depths Fueled Interest in the Doomed Ship
Written by Michael Burgan
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-12

On the night of April 14, 1912, as it made its first voyage, the luxury steamship Titanic struck an iceberg. Then, a few hours after midnight on April 15, the ship sank thousands of feet before settling on the ocean floor. And that’s where it stayed, whereabouts unknown, for the next 73 years until it was discovered by oceanographer Robert Ballard and his crew. The pictures and video Ballard brought back from the 1985 discovery helped stir new interest in the Titanic’s voyage and its resting spot.

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Larry Gets Lost Under the Sea
Written by Eric Ode and John Skewes & illustrated by John Skewes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

The bestselling Larry Gets Lost series heads down to the ocean in this picture book featuring vibrant retro illustrations of sea life and the perpetually lost pup, Larry. At the beach with Pete and his family, Larry the lovable pup follows a crustacean toward the sea and is swept out by a giant wave. He dog paddles around, exploring the plant and animal life before coming face-to-face with an oceanographer who leads him on a thrilling adventure through the layers of the ocean before he’s finally reunited with his best friend, Pete, back at the beach. This fun and educational book includes a Common Core teacher’s guide.

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  • Exploring the Deep, Dark Sea - The surface of the moon is more familiar to us than the deep sea of our own planet. Many oceanographers are trying to change that. To explore the deep sea, they climb into submersibles and employ ROVs to find out more about the ocean and ocean floor. Gail Gibbons invites readers along for a journey to the deep sea, explaining the technology for exploration and the kinds of animals found at different sea levels.

  • The Octonauts and the Growing Goldfish - Join global sensations, the Octonauts, in an exciting new title in the classic picture book series that inspired the phenomenally successful animated TV show, broadcast around the world.The Octonauts are a crew of cute animals who love to explore the big blue ocean. From their underwater base, the Octopod, the eight intrepid friends are always ready for fun and excitement!It was a sunny day under the South Pacific Ocean when… ALERT! ALERT! ALERT!The Octonauts meet Dunkie, a goldfish who can’t stop growing. Finding an ocean big enough for him seems to be an impossible mission for the intrepid crew… until they discover a prehistoric, deep sea world. Is Dunkie really a goldfish after all?An action-packed underwater adventure to delight Octonauts fans!The Ugly Duckling meets Journey to the Centre of the Earth in this hugely exciting nautical adventure!

  • The Octonauts and the Frown Fish - The Octonauts meet a fish who looks very sad…can they make it smile? Enjoy the original books that launched the hit animated TV show worldwide! The Octonauts are a crew of adorable animals who explore the oceans in search of adventure and fun! From their undersea base called the Octopod, the Octonauts explore a vibrant world full of thrills, chills, and gills. The crew of eight talented critters, which include Professor Inking, Dashi Dog, Tweak Bunny, and Tunip the Vegimal, is always ready to embark on a new exciting voyage. In this entertaining story, the Octonauts meets a fish with a giant frown on its face. It looks so glum that it’s causing everyone around to feel down too. Our heroes need to find a way to cheer it up. So the Octonauts share their favorite pastimes! Readers will enjoy making music, building robots, baking desserts, and carousing at the playground. But will the fun-loving crew ever make their new friend smile? Combining the instant appeal of Hello Kitty with the intrepid spirit from Star Trek, the Octonauts will entertain and delight children, while adults will appreciate the stylish design and subversive humor. Lushly layered and brightly colored illustrations create a teeming undersea universe that will dazzle readers’ eyes, inspire their imaginations, and tickle their funny bones. Called “charming and beautifully-designed” by comics scholar Scott McCloud, Meomi’s winsome cast of characters have attracted an international audience, from kids, parents, and teachers to digital artists and fashion designers. What is their next mission? Stay tuned for the next Octonauts adventure to find out! Immedium’s original four books inspired the popular animated television series that is broadcast on Disney Junior and Netflix and in more than 100 countries around the globe. Too many children’s books talk down to kids, thinking that talking on their level equates to dropping IQ points. It’s refreshing to read The Octonauts and the Frown Fish, a smart and entertaining kids book… it’s fun and teaches a lesson to look past the exterior and appreciate what’s inside. Comic book readers looking to get their kids into graphic storytelling early will want to seek out this one. Nice bed time story reading, this one is. - Ain’t It Cool News

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