There is so much conversation around our coastlines right now – and what lives on it. India’s coastline – over 7,500km of it, hosts lives and livelihoods. Let’s include children in this discussion and arm them with the knowledge of the shore – what lives there and what the ocean represents.
The good people at Pratham Books Storyweaver have helped us compile a reading list that might inform and charm them all at once. These books offer a peek into various aspects of how we engage with water – there are stories that introduce kids to animals in and around the intertidal (so relevant in this time), while others help us dip our feet into the sea, and even dive to understand what thrives (and glows!) beneath the surface.
Keya’s Day At The Beach: Keya is a baby Soldier Crab who is exploring the beach for the first time ever with her Ma. The story introduces us to other crabs through her curious eyes. Written by Radha Rangarajan, illustrated by Lavanya Naidu. Read the story here.
Whoop Goes The Pufferfish: A baby pufferfish is stuck in a shallow pool of seawater for the first time and panics. The story brings in other creatures from the intertidal, while showing what tidepools – and tides – mean and what happens when the water ebbs. Written by Sejal Mehta, illustrated by Pia Meenakshi. Will the pufferfish baby find its way back home to the sea? Find out here.
A Suitable Shell: Mili the hermit crab has lost her shell. She combs the beach for a suitable shell, but all she meets is litter, people, and angry snails. It’s a great visual narrative of the shore and this lovely crab that you will most definitely find if you visit. Written by Radha Rangarajan, illustrated by Rohan Dahotre. Will Mili find a shell before it gets too hot? Find out here.
Razia Learns to Swim: Razia must learn to swim. But she’s terrified of water! Join Razia in the lagoon as she kicks, wiggles and floats. We watch Razia overcome a common childhood fear by meeting some inhabitants of the shallows as she snorkels. Written by Divya Panicker, illustrated by Lavanya Naidu. Read the story here.
Whale In The Sky: Join Dadu and Muznah on their cloud-watching expedition, and dive into the ocean to learn about blue whales. It’s a bit like as above, so below with this one. Written by Siddharth Chakravarty, illustrated by Kaveri Gopalakrishnan. Read the story here.
The Night The Moon Went Missing: When the moon doesn’t rise from the sea one night, it is up to Maisha and her friend Uchli the flying fish to find her. But how can they look for the moon without any light? The story takes us through seemingly magical beings that glow in the ocean – plankton, squid, and more – through the eyes of a little girl. Written by Shreya Yadav, illustrated by Sunaina Coelho. Read the story here.
Dive: Take a dive into the spectacular world of coral reefs, and catch a glimpse of some strange and beautiful sea creatures. An illustrated introduction to the creatures of the deep told in the way of a diving trip. Written and illustrated by Rajiv Eipe. Read the story here.
The Case Of The Missing Water: When the tank in Ranj’s village dries up, she sets out on a mission to find the missing water. Join Detective Ranj on the case. Not exactly a part of the intertidal or the deep sea in the way the others are, but a deeply relevant read for children to help understand how precious water is and how it is used by some to bully others and make profits. Written by Shalini Srinivasan, illustrated by Upamanyu Bhattacharyya. Read the story here.