Wouldn’t it be wonderful if your child would do more reading?
As we mark International Children’s Book Day (April 2) it’s a time to celebrate the many benefits of reading for young children. And what better time to instill a love of the ocean than when they’re very young? Whale watching in the Pacific Northwest is a fabulous way to introduce your kids to the big blue, but our second-favourite option is opening a book!
Explore the Salish Sea and take a peek into the underwater world of some fascinating creatures while feeding your child’s imagination and sense of wonder! We’ve rounded up some of our favourite marine-themed children’s books with some help from the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea and a few of our pint-sized “naturalists in training” at Eagle Wing Tours.
Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea favourites (available in their Sidney, BC gift shop or online):
Hello Humpback and Orca Chief both by Roy Henry Vickers and Robert Budd, are must-haves for all lovers of West Coast art. These beautifully illustrated stories make wonderful gifts for your favourite tiny humans. The board book format of Hello Humpback means it will hold up well for many years to come, while Orca Chief is geared toward slightly older children.
Salmon Forest (David Suzuki and Sarah Ellis)
Ocean Champions (Michelle Mech and Ian Fry)
Nuptse & Lhotse Go to the West Coast (Jocey Asnong)
Explore the Wild Coast with Sam and Crystal (Gloria Snively and Karen Gillmore)
Animals of the Salish Sea—Coast Salish First Nations and Native Art (Native Northwest)
Goodnight World—Animals of the Native Northwest (Native Northwest)
Granny’s Clan: A Tale of Wild Orcas (Sally Hodson and Ann Jones) introduces the reader to the southern resident killer whales, during a time when grand matriarch Granny (J2) shared her wisdom and experience with her extended family. With a focus on individual whales (including detailed identifying marks on dorsal fins and saddle patches) and their close relationships, this book brings orca culture to life in a way that is relatable and easy for children to understand.
The Snail and the Whale (Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler) takes you on a journey across the world’s oceans as you follow the “tale of a tiny snail and a great big grey-blue humpback whale.” Watch as the snail discovers that even though she is small, she has the power to make a big difference. Written in simple lyrical prose, this is one book your child (and you!) will enjoy reading again and again.
Liam and Mackenzie’s favourites:
Explore the Salish Sea: A Nature Guide for Kids (Joseph K. Gaydos and Audrey Delella Benedict) is a fabulous option for bigger kids who are reading on their own. With colourful, photographs and beautifully presented facts and stories, this book is a great way to engage kids in learning about the ocean.
For kids who love to look and find books like Where’s Waldo, here’s a new one with a marine twist! Find the Fish is brought to us by the “Marine Detective” (aka Jackie Hildering), with colourful photos of the northeast Pacific Ocean and its inhabitants. Your child can learn about some amazing and well-camouflaged undersea animals as they test their detective skills with this fun interactive book!
Did you know that Canada’s largest blue whale skeleton once travelled across the country from one side to the other and that several of our Eagle Wing team members worked on it while it was being prepared in Victoria? Big Blue Forever—The Story of Canada’s Largest Blue Whale Skeleton (Anita Miettunen) gives kids a glimpse into the process of securing and preparing specimens for display in museums, as well as teaching them about the remarkable and marvellous world of the blue whale. Fun follow-up activity—visit “Big Blue” at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum at the University of British Columbia!
When “I” is for invertebrates, and “T” is for tides, you know you’ve found a gem of an alphabet book! Meander through the temperate rainforests and into the Pacific Ocean with West Coast Wild: A Nature Alphabet (Deborah Hodge and Karen Reczuch) while teaching your little one about letters and the natural world.
Sharing Our World: Animals of the Native Northwest Coast (Native Northwest)
Explore the Rocky Shore with Sam and Crystal (Gloria Snively and Karen Gillmore)
The Salmon Bears, The Sea Wolves, and The Great Bear Sea (Ian McAllister and Nicholas Read)
Nowhere Else On Earth—Standing Tall for the Great Bear Rainforest (Caitlyn Vernon)
Not Quite Narwhal (Jessie Sima)
We recommend looking for these books at your favourite bookstore and shop local if you can!
We hope you’ve enjoyed this list of our favourite children’s books. We’d love to hear about your treasured books to add to our own collections as well. Next step for your little nature-lover—bring the whole family to Victoria for a whale watching tour with Eagle Wing Tours!