Books About the Sea and Sailors

Books About the Sea/Sailors for Kids (and Big Kids)

Compiled by B.J. Whitehouse “The Shanteyman”

With kind help from Lisa Sheley

For Young Readers

Hello Ocean Pam Muñoz Ryan

Somewhere in the OceanJennifer Ward

 Over in the Ocean: In a Coral Reef-Marianne Berkes

 My Visit to the Aquarium-Aliki

 Swimmy-Leo Lionni

One Tiny Turtle-Nicola Davies

 In The Ocean-A.J. Wood

 Is This a House for Hermit Crab?Megan McDonald

 An Octopus Is AmazingPatricia Lauber

 BoatsByron Barton

 Once Upon a TideTony Mitton and Seline Young

 Grandad’s Island-Benji Davis

 The Mousehole Cat-Antonia Barber

 Ocean Meets SkyTerry Fan

Beyond the Bright Sea-Lauren Wolk

The Great Penguin Rescue : Saving the African Penguins-Sandra Markle

Race to the Bottom of the Sea-Lindsay Eagar

South-Daniel Duncan

The Left-Handed Fate-Kate Milford

The Nine Lives of Jacob Tibbs-Cylin Busby

Amos & Boris-William Stieg


For Young Adult Readers

The Beast of Cretacea 
– Todd Strasser

Piratica: Being a Daring Tale of a Singular Girl’s Adventure Upon the High Seas (Piratica, #1)  – Tanith Lee

Stowaway  – Karen Hesse

Powder Monkey– Paul Dowsell

Carry On, Mr. Bowditch – Jean Lee Latham

The Voyage of the Arctic Tern – Hugh Montgomery

The Edge of the World– Michele Torrey

The Jolly Regina (The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters #1)  – Kara LaReau

Shackleton’s Stowaway – Victoria McKernan

 The Slave Dancer – Paula Fox


For Older Readers

 Moby-Dick, or, The Whale-Herman Melville

Treasure IslandRobert Louis Stevenson

 Two Years Before the Mast: A Personal Narrative of Life at Sea  – Richard Henry Dana Jr.

Mutiny on the Bounty-Charles Bernard Nordhoff

Captains Courageous  – Rudyard Kipling

Lieutenant Hornblower –  C.S. Forester

In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex  – Nathaniel Philbrick

The Sea Wolf – Jack London

Master and Commander-Patrick O’Brian

Kon-Tiki- Thor Heyerdahl

The Old Man and the Sea-Ernest Hemingway

The Cruel Sea – Nicholas Monsarrat

Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage – Alfred Lansing

 The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea  – Sebastian Junger

Robinson Crusoe  – Daniel Defoe

The Incredible Voyage  – Tristan Jones

Ice – Tristan Jones


Sea Shanties and Music of the Sea

Any book by Stan Hugill:

  • The Bosun’s Locker, Collected Articles 1962-1973
  • Shanties from the Seven Seas (1961; abridged edition 1984)
  • Sailortown (1967)
  • Shanties and Sailor Songs (1969)
  • Sea Shanties (1977)
  • Songs of the Sea (1977)

Songs of American Sailormen-Joanna Colcord

Sea Songs and Shanties– Capt. W.B. Whall

LOTS of books can be on-line or on-site at:

Mystic Seaport Museum Bookstore: