What better way to launch our week of ocean science books and activities than with a new children’s biography of marine botanist and ocean conservationist Sylvia Earle, Sylvia Earle: Ocean Explorer (Women in Conservation) by Dennis Fertig?


Most of us go to the beach and marvel at the the beauty of the ocean, but we rarely get even the smallest glimpse of what is happening under the waves. Sylvia Earle has had a different experience because she is an explorer. Over her lifetime she has delved deeply into the oceans and learned as much as she can about what is happening under the sea, logging in more than 7,000 hours underwater. Now she shares her passion and knowledge with others.

As appropriate for a children’s book, the book starts with Earle’s childhood. Sylvia Earle spent her early years on a farm in New Jersey, where she remembers visiting the Jersey Shore at the age of three and discovering the power of the ocean. When she was twelve, Sylvia and her family moved to Dunedin, Florida. Suddenly, she had a beautiful ocean to investigate right in her own backyard. She jumped in and her life was changed forever.

Dr. Earle learned to scuba dive as a teenager, and then began studying marine botany. She earned her doctorate in 1966. Since that time, she has been pushing the boundaries of marine science, diving, and more recently, ocean conservation. Her passion has been rewarded, as she has been given over 100 awards and recognitions for her work, including Time magazine’s recognition as the first “Hero for the Planet” in 1998. She has also been in the news in the last few months because she is the subject of a new documentary, Mission Blue (official trailer).

In addition to being packed full of information about Sylvia Earle’s life, this book is illustrated with numerous color photographs. The back matter includes an extensive timeline and glossary, as well as suggestions for places to visit to learn more about oceans. It also has a list of three things people can do to help oceans starting today.

Sylvia Earle: Ocean Explorer is will be a hit with children who are interested in oceans, in science, in women’s history, and/or in conservation. The incredible story of Sylvia Earle’s life is sure to inspire future explorers and conservationists alike.


2009 TED Talk

Age Range: 8 – 11 years
Grade Level: 3 – 6
Publisher: Heinemann InfoSearch (July 1, 2014)
ISBN-10: 148460475X
ISBN-13: 978-1484604755



This post is part of our ocean science series. Visit the landing page for links to all the related posts.


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Looking for more children’s nonfiction books? Try the Nonfiction Monday blog.