Posted by: Bill Lord | March 12, 2010

Seaside books

Seaside imagesI was talking to the teacher of Giraffe class about their work in the next summer term when they will be looking at a topic of the ‘Seaside’.

We were talking about the best books to choose to use with this Year One class and after a few tweets Joy Simpson commented that this would create a good blog post. I have decided to use the blog post to list books which could be used but also to ask reader to suggest any others of which they may be aware. The teacher is looking for one text to drive the topic and other texts to use during the topic.

The class will be immersed in the topic and will have an indoor beach and so role play will be at the heart of some of use of some texts.

I will revisit this  blog and add more details on each text as I find more examples. I suspect that this could turn into a bit of a labour of love.

Commotion in the Ocean – Giles Andrae Written by the man who brought you Purple Ronnie this wonderful rhyming book this book has one short poem per fish or mammal – crab, whale, shark, lobster, angel fish and will absolutely entrance children.

Seal Children The Seal Children – Jackie Morris

A lovely book  from this West Walean author ilustrator (who has added comments to this post). Her website shows the beautiful range of illustrations and books she has worked on. When a fisherman called Huw falls in love with a selkie – half-woman, half-seal – she gives him her sealskin as a sign of her love, and bears him two children, Ffion and Morlo, before returning to her own people. A few years later a stranger comes to the village, telling of a land far away, and Ffion and Morlo remember their mother’s stories of the cities of gold and pearls beneath the waves…This is a beautiful, atmospheric story of love and freedom. (taken from Amazon)

The Seal Surfer – Michael Foreman

Seal Surfer

A beautiful, beautiful book which tells the story of a very special friendship between a young boy and a seal istarted when the boy is present when the young seal pup is born. When the seal grows one summer the boy goes surfing, he is delighted when his seal friend joins in. When the seal saves his life, their bond becomes unbreakable and as the two grow older, their friendship is maintained. Another example of Michael Foreman’s storytelling skills and his fantastic illustration style.

Lucy and Tom at the Seaside – Shirley Hughes

Once upon a tide – Tony Mitton

On a tall, tall cliff – Andrew Murray

The Lighthouse keeper’s lunch – Ronda Armitage

Tiddler the storytelling fish – Julia Donaldson

Katie Morag – Mairi Hedderwick

Winnie the witch at the seaside – Valerie Thomas

Sister Seahorse – Eric Carle

Sneakers the seaside cat – Margaret Wise Brown and Anne Mortimer

Seaside poems – Jill Bennett and  Nick Sharratt

Sharing a shell – Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks

A Seaside Alphabet – Donna Grassby

Gilbert the Great – Jane Clarke

Starlight Sailor – James Mayhew and Jackie Morris

Sally and the limpet – Simon James

Wet pebbles under our feet – Manya Stojic

The Sand Horse – Ann Turnbull

Grandma’s beach – Rosalind Beardshaw

Come away from the water, Shirley – John  Burningham

The big, big sea – Martin Waddell

Saving Sinbad – Michael Foreman

Big B lue Whale – Nicola Davies

Seahorse the shyest fish in the sea – Chris Butterworth and John Lawrence

The Shrimp – Emily Smith

The Fossil Girl – Catherine Brighton

Obviously some of these are about sealife rather than beaches so I will need to categorise them – any suggestions gratefully accepted.



  1. Favourites of mine (I’m a librarian not a teacher) would be

    Simon James Sally and the limpet (lots abou what you find in rockpools and based on Wembury in South Devon)

    Mariya Stojic Wet pubbles under our feet

    Ann Turnbull The sand horse (creating a sand sculpture on the beach at St Ives, Cornwall)

    Rosalind Beardshaw Grandmas beach (very simple text and illustrations)

    John Burningham Come away from the water, Shirley ( story within story. One page shows the ordinary happenings of a day at the beach but while her parents doze, Shirely is captured by pirates and must walk the plank!

    Martin Waddell The big, big sea (atmospheric and fabulous illustrations)

    Michael Foreman Saving Sinbad ( based on St Ives and very good for looking at the physical geographical features of a small port and a lovely story)
    Russell Hoban The sea-thing child ( a longer, more challenging text that crosses into the realms of fantasy but lovely use of language)

    Hope this helps.

    • Some wonderful books I had forgotten and again some more books to buy – the Sand horse is a simply beautiful book which could inspire lovely work.
      Many thanks

    • Ah Nicola. I knew you would come up trumps!

  2. If you are working on The Seal Children do have a look at the schools resources page of my website where there is information about the book and all kinds of things that I put together with a friend, Eva John who is an advisor for literacy in Pembrokeshire.

    index at side leads to further pages.
    I love the language in Nicola’s Big Blue Whale.
    Sarah and the Sandman illustrated by Michael Forman was one of my kids favorites.
    Sally and the Limpet is great. Can’t remember who it is by. Might be Bob Graham.

    Oh, and silly me, Starlight Sailor, written by James Mayhew and illustrated by me. It has star charts for endpapers, a paper boat instruction page, dreams and adventures to imagine, dragons, its own blog
    and also these coming out soon

    HAven’t seen the story cards yet but they sound as if they should be good.

    • These sound wonderful and great to see another author investing so much tine in end papers (another blog post which needs writing!!!)

      More books to buy methinks!!!

  3. Hi Bill
    My first thought was Lucy and Tom at the Seaside by Shirley Hughes. Not a model for writing as it stands but elements are. Children can work from individual or series of pictures from the book, recreate in their own play, take photos and write about it.
    Tiddler the storytelling fish by Julia Donaldson – might link with talk for writing and storytelling and there are several sea type books by her.
    Eric Carle’s sister Seahorse might link with Seahorse the shyest fish.
    I will have more ideas on monday when i have visited the centre and poked around in the SLS shelves.

    • There are some nice stories aroud Seahorses – i will have a look out tomorrow – thanks for your offer to look on Monday Joy – I would really appreciate it

  4. Hey Bill

    Dont forget:

    Matthew and the Sea Singer – Jill Paton Walsh
    Man Whose Mother was a Pirate – Margaret Mahy?

    Beers soon?!

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