WETA.org
Loading

Start with a Book

Ricky Rocket

A summer reading initiative for kids from Reading Rockets

Start With a Book

Oceans, Rivers and Ponds

Do you know any kids who are happiest swimming in a freshwater lake, body surfing in the ocean, or launching a homemade boat down a stream? Or kids who are curious about ocean tides, the physics of water, and the amazing variety of aquatic animals?

We've gathered up a great collection of books, activities, apps, and websites for learning all about ocean, rivers, and ponds. Try pairing fiction with nonfiction books and exploring different genres (like poetry and biographies) and formats (like graphic novels and audio books). You'll be creating your own "text sets" — collections of texts focused on a specific topic. Reading widely in this way helps children build background knowledge, vocabulary, and comprehension skills.

Oceans, Rivers and Ponds

Great Fiction & Nonfiction Books

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Printer-friendly versionPrint List

A Long Way Away: A Two-Way Story

By: Frank Viva

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Starting in space, an alien family bids adieu to their offspring (they look a lot like octopuses)...

Purchase book

All the Water in the World

By: George Ella Lyon

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Rich, rhythmic language combines with lush illustration to poetically describe the water cycle...

Purchase book

Crustacean Vacation

By: Brian Benoit

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Humans are sure to see themselves in the beach vacation taken by a crab family. From playing in the...

Purchase book

Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas

By: Lynne Cox

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Most elephant seals live in the ocean but one prefers the Avon River in Christchurch, New...

Purchase book

Hello Ocean / Hola Mar

By: Pam Muñoz Ryan

Age Level: 3-6 years old

A child narrates her visit to the ocean, inviting readers to explore it with her. She experiences...

Purchase book

Here Come the Humpbacks!

By: April Sayre

Age Level: 3-6 years old

A mother humpback whale and her calf travel from the Caribbean Sea to the coast of New England and...

Purchase book

If You Want to See a Whale

By: Julie Fogliano

Age Level: 3-6 years old

If a whale is what you want to see — as does the boy in this expressive, delicately...

Purchase book

In the Small, Small Pond

By: Denise Fleming

Age Level: 3-6 years old

A child (and a small green frog) witness the change of seasons in a small, critter-filled pond....

Purchase book

Jump into Science: Coral Reefs

By: Sylvia Earle

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Readers explore a coral reef with a snorkeling young swimmer and see what the swimmer sees as...

Purchase book

Leopard & Silkie: One Boy's Quest to Save the Seal Pups

By: Brenda Peterson

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Join Miles, a young Seal Sitter at the Salish Sea (aka Puget Sound) in Seattle, Washington, as he...

Purchase book

Looking Closely Along the Shore

By: Frank Serafini

Age Level: 3-6 years old

A full-color, close-up framed by black and a repeated text focuses the reader's eye. Look closely....

Purchase book

Looking Closely Around the Pond

By: Frank Serafini

Age Level: 3-6 years old

"Look very closely. What do you see?" It may be something familiar or quite out of the ordinary....

Purchase book

On the Way to the Beach

By: Henry Cole

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Young readers are invited to look and listen as they join a girl on a summer morning walk to the...

Purchase book

Out of the Ocean

By: Debra Frasier

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Open this book and you'll be walking along the ocean shore, looking for all kinds of special things...

Purchase book

Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach

By: Melanie Watt

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Scaredy Squirrel comes by his name honestly; he's a bit frightened of just about everything! Can...

Purchase book

Seashells: Treasures from the Northeast Coast

By: Joanne Roach-Evans

Age Level: 3-6 years old

No visit to a beach is complete without finding shells. Those who visit the Northeast coast of the...

Purchase book

Swamp Chomp

By: Lola Schaefer

Age Level: 3-6 years old

As swamp residents move, water ripples and the creatures munch, gulp, swallow and more. Short,...

Purchase book

The Seashore Book

By: Charlotte Zolotow

Age Level: 3-6 years old

A young boy who lives in the mountains and has never seen the sea, asks his mother to describe it....

Purchase book

Trout Are Made of Trees

By: April Sayre

Age Level: 3-6 years old

As two children and their fathers explore a stream and its natural riches, a straightforward text...

Purchase book

Undersea Animals: A Dramatic Dimensional Visit to Strange Underwater Realms

By: Jane Buxton

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Though not for the youngest hands, stunning colors and amazing pop-ups are used to introduce sea...

Purchase book

Water Is Water

By: Miranda Paul

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Lyrical language and handsome, realistic watercolors present water in its many forms, from...

Purchase book

Wave

By: Suzy Lee

Age Level: 3-6 years old

No words are needed to share a child's seaside adventure as she plays with the waves, is knocked...

Purchase book

Where the River Begins

By: Thomas Locker

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Nature is the star in this affecting tale of a boy and his grandfather who journey to a waterway's...

Purchase book

Wow! Ocean

By: Robert Neubecker

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Izzy and her sister were mountain girls, so one summer the family decided to go see something new...

Purchase book

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Printer-friendly versionPrint List

At the Sea Floor Cafe: Odd Ocean Critter Poems

By: Leslie Bulion

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Poems introduce sea creatures and their habitats using different poetic forms (e.g., concrete,...

Purchase book

Coral Reefs

By: Jason Chin

Age Level: 6-9 years old

A girl is transported from the library to an underwater world where she observes coral reefs and...

Purchase book

Deep Sea Floor

By: Sneed Collard

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Rich, realistic illustrations accompany clear text as readers explore what lives in the ocean,...

Purchase book

Dolphins

By: Penelope Arlon

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Splendid photographs are used along with a crisp, easier to read narrative to introduce dolphins...

Purchase book

Everglades

By: Jean Craighead George

Age Level: 6-9 years old

As an Indian storyteller guides a boat of children down the sea of grass, he reveals the story...

Purchase book

Face to Face with Manatees

By: Brian Skerry

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Two different environments, two different authors, one goal achieved: to bring alive the process of...

Purchase book

Face to Face with Sharks

By: David Doubilet, Jennifer Hayes

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Underwater photographers, Hayes & Doubilet, provide basic information about their work as...

Purchase book

Flotsam

By: David Wiesner

Age Level: 6-9 years old

A bright, science-minded boy goes to the beach equipped to collect and examine flotsam —...

Purchase book

Follow the Water from Brook to Ocean

By: Arthur Dorros

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Water is always flowing, from a brook to a stream, to a river to the ocean. Read and find out more...

Purchase book

Ocean Soup: Tide-Pool Poems

By: Stephen Swinburne

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Meet a sea anemone, sea urchin, a sculpin and other inhabitants of a tide pool through poems (in...

Purchase book

Oceans

By: Seymour Simon

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Simon explores the magnitude of the oceans and their impact on the Earth's climate. He includes...

Purchase book

Pond and River

By: Steve Parker

Age Level: 6-9 years old

This Eyewitness book examines the relationship between ponds, rivers, and the larger bodies of...

Purchase book

The Big Rivers: the Missouri, the Mississippi, and the Ohio

By: Bruce Hiscock

Age Level: 6-9 years old

The book focuses on the 1993 floods in the Midwest, showing how unusual weather patterns affected...

Purchase book

The Magic School Bus at the Waterworks

By: Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Ms. Frizzle, an unflappable science teacher, drives the magical school bus into a cloud where...

Purchase book

The Magic School Bus on the Ocean Floor

By: Joanna Cole

Age Level: 6-9 years old

When Ms. Frizzle drives the Magic School Bus full speed ahead into the ocean, the class takes a...

Purchase book

The Open Ocean

By: Francesco Pittau, Bernadette Gervais

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Guess whose silhouette? Find out with a lift of a flap. Examine a close-up, lift the tab and up...

Purchase book

The Raft

By: Jim LaMarche

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Nicky isn't one bit happy about spending the summer with his grandma in the Wisconsin woods, but...

Purchase book

Three Days on a River in a Red Canoe

By: Vera B. Williams

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Follow the red canoe from page to page as it journeys down river carrying the family on a camping...

Purchase book

Water Rolls, Water Rises/El agua rueda, el agua sube

By: Pat Mora

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Evocative watercolors and short, lyrical poems take readers on a trip, “Around our round world”...

Purchase book

Water Sings Blue: Ocean Poems

By: Kate Coombs

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Translucent watercolors and short, varied poems take readers on a trip to the sea. There they...

Purchase book

Water Sources

By: Rebecca Olien

Age Level: 6-9 years old

How much water is on Earth? This title introduces readers to the different places on Earth water...

Purchase book

Age Level: 9-12 years old

Printer-friendly versionPrint List

Encantado: Pink Dolphin of the Amazon

By: Sy Montgomery

Age Level: 9-12 years old

The author joins several field scientists to find the mysterious encantado, the pink dolphins of...

Purchase book

Paddle-to-the-Sea

By: Holling Clancy Holling

Age Level: 9-12 years old

A young Indian boy carves a little canoe with a figure inside and names him Paddle-to-the-Sea....

Purchase book

Slickety Quick: Poems About Sharks

By: Skila Brown

Age Level: 9-12 years old

A poem about the well-known Great White begins this handsomely illustrated collection of poems...

Purchase book

The Aquarium Book

By: George Ancona

Age Level: 9-12 years old

Take a tour through four national aquariums and learn how they are set up, the educational displays...

Purchase book

The Next Wave: The Quest to Harness the Power of the Oceans

By: Elizabeth Rusch

Age Level: 9-12 years old

Journey to the wave-battered coast of the Pacific Northwest to meet some of the engineers and...

Purchase book

Water Wow!

By: Paula Ayer, Antonia Banyard

Age Level: 9-12 years old

A colorful infographic look at the many surprising and fascinating facts about water. Where did...

Purchase book