Just like space, the ocean is one of those science topics that fascinates kids. I love having a variety of books on hand in the classroom to help them explore this part of our world! Today I’m sharing my favorite ocean books for 4th and 5th graders. These are perfect to use during an upper elementary oceans unit or to add to your classroom or home library.
I like having at least one topic-specific encyclopedia for every science unit. Ocean: A Visual Encyclopedia is a great pick. It has tons of information, so it’s wordier, but it’ll be a hit with your students who want to soak up every detail about the ocean ecosystem.
National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of the Ocean is another good encyclopedia-like option but it’s much less wordy than the one above. It includes lots of text features, so it’s nice to use to reinforce nonfiction reading skills. Any book from Nat Geo Kids is always really popular with my students!
Ocean Animals and Their Ecosystems: A Nature Reference Book goes into more detail than you may need for upper elementary students, but it has some really nice images of ocean features, ocean layers, marine food webs, and more. This is definitely one I would use as a trade book as I’m teaching an oceans unit (Science SOL 4.7 if you’re in Virginia).
Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist is another keeper. I love that it’s narrative nonfiction, since we teach that genre in Virginia. And it’s a great picture book to read with your students during Women’s History Month!
Another literary nonfiction pick is Ocean Speaks: How Marie Tharp Revealed the Ocean’s Biggest Secret. This would make a great read-aloud to introduce the geographic features of the ocean floor.
This Nat Geo In the Ocean reader is a nice introduction to oceans. This is a good book to have for students who benefit from simpler language, prominent visuals, and vocabulary support.
Last, Natalie Hyde has written a “Protecting the Oceans” series on ocean pollution, ocean resources, and the effects of climate change on the oceans.
There are so many more great children’s books about oceans, coral reefs, marine wildlife, and more! I can’t list them all here, but I hope this selection helps you get started building your ocean books collection!
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