In 2008, the UN General Assembly recognized June 8th as World Oceans Day. The concept of the day was first explored during the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and is meant to not only celebrate oceans and their beauty, but to remind us all of the major role oceans play in our everyday lives. This year’s World Oceans Day theme is healthy oceans, healthy planet and the focus is on reducing the use of plastic, a major pollutant and threat to aquatic species.
Oceans cover three quarters of our planet. They feed us, help regulate our climate, transport goods, and provide recreation. As young learners prepare to be global citizens, it is vital that they recognize the importance of oceans as a global common. Understanding the impact human actions, such as unsustainable fishing, pollution, and climate change, have on our oceans’ well-being is crucial in protecting it for future generations. Conveying something as abstract as the delicate ocean ecosystem to young learners can be a tricky task and utilizing children’s literature can help make the information digestible.
Here are a few of children’s books that we recommend using to help young learners celebrate the World Oceans Day 2015:
1. Coral Reefs by Jason Chin. In this story a young girl finds herself transported to a coral reef where she gets an up-close and personal look at the organisms that live, hunt, and hide there.
2. All the Way to the Ocean by Joel Harper and Marq Spusta. A story about two young boys and their discovery that pollutants dumped down their neighborhood storm drains impact the health of the world’s rivers, lakes, and oceans.
3. This is the Sea that Feeds Us by Robert Baldwin. This story explores our interdependence with the ocean ecosystem and why it’s important to protect it.