Greetings readers and welcome to the end of the week. As we round out the hottest month of the year into the runner up hottest month of the year, many of us long for the beach, pool, or any body of water that will stay still long enough to dip our toes in. Personal favorite? The ocean. There is just something about the sun, the sand, and the sea.
We, as humans, have had a long time relationship with the briny deeps. In our collective consciousness, the sea is a realm of mystery, a vehicle of our earliest explorations, and a cornerstone of many world mythologies. It continues to fascinate us, and befuddle us. We are still trying to impress and understand how deeply interconnected the world oceans are to the health of the planet, how important it is for us to protect them, and clean them. The seas hold a special place in our imaginations, both as a place as adventure, a place of warning, and a place of wonder.
So in honor of the briny deep and summer shenanigans (my absolute favorite word) here are some high seas adventures across the genre spectrum to wet your literary palette. (See what I did there?) We can already hear the waves crashing.
Over & Under the Deep Blue
By Sea & Sky by Antoine Bandele
With no magic, no brawn, and no pirate crew, Zala seeks to steal back the one treasure that matters to her most: her husband.
To succeed she needs a ship—and not just any ship, but the latest, secret invention by the Vaaji Empire. An airship.
Zala will have to use her wits to overcome scoundrels and nobles alike on her journey through the clouds.
But if she's smart enough, she may just have what it takes to save her husband—and go down in history as the first sky pirate.
Delve into a pirate fantasy inspired by the West Indies, The Swahili Coast, and Arabia, where Zala will encounter ruthless raiders, arrogant aristocrats, and imperial secrets.
Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis
NARNIA... the world of wicked dragons and magic spells, where the very best is brought out of even the worst people, where anything can happen (and most often does)... and where the adventure begins.
The Dawn Treader is the first ship Narnia has seen in centuries. King Caspian has built it for his voyage to find the seven lords, good men whom his evil uncle Miraz banished when he usurped the throne. The journey takes Edmund, Lucy, and their cousin Eustace to the Eastern Islands, beyond the Silver Sea, toward Aslan's country at the End of the World.
The Deep by Rivers Solomon, Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, and Johnathan Snipes
Yetu holds the memories for her people—water-dwelling descendants of pregnant African slave women thrown overboard by slave owners—who live idyllic lives in the deep. Their past, too traumatic to be remembered regularly, is forgotten by everyone, save one—the historian. This demanding role has been bestowed on Yetu.
Yetu remembers for everyone, and the memories, painful and wonderful, traumatic and terrible and miraculous, are destroying her. And so, she flees to the surface, escaping the memories, the expectations, and the responsibilities—and discovers a world her people left behind long ago.
Yetu will learn more than she ever expected to about her own past—and about the future of her people. If they are all to survive, they’ll need to reclaim the memories, reclaim their identity—and own who they really are.
Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller
Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.
More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.
House of Salt & Sorrows by Erin Craig
In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.
Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls' lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.
Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn't sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?
When Annaleigh's involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it's a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
An ocean voyage of unimaginable consequences... Not every thirteen-year-old girl is accused of murder, brought to trial, and found guilty. But I was just such a girl, and my story is worth relating even if it did happen years ago. Be warned, however: If strong ideas and action offend you, read no more. Find another companion to share your idle hours. For my part I intend to tell the truth as I lived it.
And the Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness
With harpoons strapped to their backs, the proud whales of Bathsheba's pod live for the hunt, fighting in the ongoing war against the world of men. When they attack a ship bobbing on the surface of the Abyss, they expect to find easy prey. Instead, they find the trail of a myth, a monster, perhaps the devil himself...
As their relentless Captain leads the chase, they embark on a final, vengeful hunt, one that will forever change the worlds of both whales and men.
Did Someone Say Shark Week?
You heard right. The fabulous Shark Week is coming up August 9th via Discovery Channel and the interwebs. In honor of the ocean's possibly most misunderstood inhabitant, we would like to share a few tales where our shark friends are more protagonist/ hero than deep sea monster. (Prepare for at least one appearance of Baby Shark.)
Sharks in the Time of Saviors by Kawai Strong Washburn
In 1995 Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, on a rare family vacation, seven-year-old Nainoa Flores falls overboard a cruise ship into the Pacific Ocean. When a shiver of sharks appears in the water, everyone fears for the worst. But instead, Noa is gingerly delivered to his mother in the jaws of a shark, marking his story as the stuff of legends.
Nainoa's family, struggling amidst the collapse of the sugarcane industry, hails his rescue as a sign of favor from ancient Hawaiian gods--a belief that appears validated after he exhibits puzzling new abilities. But as time passes, this supposed divine favor begins to drive the family apart: Nainoa, working now as a paramedic on the streets of Portland, struggles to fathom the full measure of his expanding abilities; further north in Washington, his older brother Dean hurtles into the world of elite college athletics, obsessed with wealth and fame; while in California, risk-obsessed younger sister Kaui navigates an unforgiving academic workload in an attempt to forge her independence from the family's legacy.
When supernatural events revisit the Flores family in Hawai'i--with tragic consequences--they are all forced to reckon with the bonds of family, the meaning of heritage, and the cost of survival.
Gilbert the Great by Jane Clarke, Ill. by Charles Fuge
'From the time Gilbert the Great White Shark was a tiny pup, Raymond the Remora stuck to him like glue. Raymond was always on Gilbert's side.' Then one day, Gilbert wakes up to discover that Raymond has gone. Mrs Munch does everything she can to help her little shark come to terms with his loss and - slowly but surely - Gilbert learns to smile a wobbly smile through his sadness. He knows that Raymond will always be in his heart and, when mum takes Gilbert to the wreck, a chance meeting helps him find happiness once more. Jane Clarke's heart-warming story, exquisitely illustrated by Charles Fuge, is funny and sad in equal measure.
Baby Shark, Ill. By John John Bajet
Look. We aren’t going to sing the song here. We aren’t that evil.
Sea Creatures from the Sky by Ricardo Cortes
A shark, swimming the seas, encounters . . . Aliens.
Will anyone believe it is true?
Sea Creatures from the Sky is a gorgeously illustrated children’s picture book from the New York Times best-selling illustrator of Seriously, Just Go to Sleep. Cortés’s stunning seascapes follow the adventures of a shark that has a story to share about creatures who live above the ocean. Our shark encounters strange-looking creatures who resemble nice, caring marine biologists. But after they release it back into the ocean, the shark cannot find one friend to believe its tale.
Swimming with Sharks by Twig C. George, Ill. by Yong Chen
No TV, no friends, and a grandfather struggling with retirement from marine biology--Sarah's sure her stay in the Florida Keys will be the most boring summer of her life.
That is, until she begins to take notice of the unusual-looking fish that visits her grandparents' dock every day. When Sarah discovers she's befriended a baby lemon shark, her fascination with sharks fakes roof. Before long, Sarah and her grandfather are inseparable as they spend hours tracking, observing, and swimming with sharks.
The Florida summer heats up quickly with heart-pounding shark encounters and the daring pursuit of two shark-fin poachers. This is a shark-filled summer Sarah and her grandfather won't soon forget.
No TV, no friends, and a grandfather struggling with retirement, Sarah was sure her stay in the Florida Keys would be the most boring summer of her ten-year-old life. That is, until she befriends a baby lemon shark who swims near their dock. Before long, Sarah and her grandfather are inseparable as they spend hours tracking and observing sharks. Sarah's Florida summer heats up quickly with heart-pounding shark encounters and the daring pursuit of two shark-fin poachers.