A Tuesday Ten: Under the Sea!

Okay . . . in honor of my latest reading let’s take this one for a dip in the ocean!


Deep Wizardry by Diane Duane (HMH, c1985)

The second book in the Young Wizards series, this is still very likely one of the best of them.  It is also one of the rare sea fantasy stories that does not rely on mer people.  Nia and Kit are young Wizards who have just survived their Ordeal, but now they are enmeshed in another mission.  This time to help a young whale wizard in a critical reenactment of an underwater ritual.  A profound story of sacrifice, friendship and family all wrapped up in an underwater adventure.  This is the book that made me cry out of all the ones in the series.  Diane Duane has tweaked the later editions to fix small inconsistencies in the series  and update the tech slightly, but otherwise it remains the same powerful piece I read as a kid.


The Neptune Project by Polly Holyoke (DisneyHyperion, 2013)

Finally got around to reading this and I’m a bit sheepish it took me as long as it did.  A great science fiction dystopian adventure read from a debut author.  Nere has never quite fit in at school with the other kids, and she’s much more comfortable swimming in the ocean with the dolphins.  But in her future world, the government has a tyrannical grasp on the populace and  the people suffer badly from famine and oppression. Nere finds out she really is different from her classmates–she is part of a super secret rebel experiment to create humans capable of living underwater.  Nere has been genetically engineered to ultimately live and breathe underwater and leave the land behind.  Now with a group of others similarly engineered, she’s on the run with her dolphins across a hostile ocean in hopes of finding her father and safety.


The Tail of Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler (Candlewick, c2003)

Our first legit mermaid book of the list is the story of Emily, a girl who lives on a boat but is not allowed to go in the water.  It turns out Emily’s mother is keeping secrets from Emily about who her father is.  One girl’s discovery that she is–in fact–a mermaid and the world under the sea.  This is the first in a series about Emily, followed by Emily Windsnap and the Monster from the Deep (2004), Emily Windsnap and the Castle in the Mist (2007),  and Emily Windsnap and the Siren’s Secret (2010)


Above World by Jenn Reese (Candlewick, 2012)

In this science fiction futuristic, Aluna’s community in the sea is failing.  The shell necklaces that allow them to breathe underwater are no longer working as well as they should.  But when the elders of the community decide  not to do anything and act on the perilous situation, Aluna seeks her own answers . . . far away on they mysterious land.  The sequel, Mirage (2013), has just come out this year.


Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne (c1870)

While not particularly children’s writing, this science fiction classic is frequently found in middle grade collections.  Journey with Captain Nemo in his amazing submarine far beneath the ocean. You’ll get to experience marvels, wonders . . . and captain Nemo’s thirst for revenge!


Ingo by Helen Dunmore (HarperCollins, 2005)

Sapphire always loved her father’s stories and songs about a place called Ingo, where the Mer lived.  But her father went missing a while back and now it’s just Sapphy, her brother Connor and her mom struggling to live in modern Cornwall.  Until Sapphy and Connor discover that Ingo isn’t an imaginary land, but a real place under the sea.  They find themselves drawn to the sea and the amazing kingdom of the Mer.  Can Sapphy find a way to reconcile her two worlds or will the pull of Ingo ultimately steal her away? The Ingo Series has 5 books to date, with the last in the series being a loosely connected story set in the same world but with different characters.


Journey Under the Sea by R. A. Montgomery (Choosco, c1979)

I thought it appropriate to add in this Choose Your Own Adventure story since it certainly fits the theme!  You are a highly experienced sea explorer on the search of a lifetime for the mysterious Atlantis.  What happens?  Only you can decide!  If you’ve never read a Choose your own adventure story, it’s a different sort of ride.  After the opening premise, readers get to choose from two different responses and then follow that response to the resulting page and continue to build their adventure in this fashion to a number of different endings.  This is number 2 in the Choose Your Own Adventure series.


Flotsam by David Weisner (Clarion Books, 2006)

A boy finds many things along the shore, including an old barnacle encrusted camera.    When he looks at the pictures on the camera a whole amazing underwater world is revealed.  The incomparable David Weisner makes this a picture book to enjoy at any age.  Wildly imaginative and beautifully illustrated, it’s well worth including on this list!


Isabel of the Whales by Hester Velmans (Yearling, c2005)

An interesting “Chosen One” story of an eleven-year-old girl who discovers she is a mermaid who can turn from person to whale and back again.  She learns about the whales while with them and teaches them about humans in turn, changing both her own and the whales’ lives.  A second book featuring Isabel is Jessaloup’s Song  where the tables are turned and a stranded Humpback whale is turned into a human.  Isabel must help him learn how to act like a person.


Poseidon: Earth Shaker by George O’Connor (First Second, 2013)

Decided to round out my list with a graphic novel, and probably the most famous undersea characters Poseidon/Neptune.  O’Connor’s series explores the Greek gods and goddesses and their mythology with his own take and interpretations–along with absolutely stunning art.  Not for the squeamish (but then, what  Greek mythology is?) this is the story of Poseidon and his stormy moods.  It’s book 5 in the Olympians series, which continues to be an amazing graphic presentation of Greek mythology.

So there’s my ten for today!  What are your own favorites?  Comments welcome!


About Stephanie Whelan

I'm a children's librarian with a life-long love of all things science fiction and fantasy.

Posted on November 27, 2013, in General Posts, Lists and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. My favourite of your lists so far. I think there’s so much under-rated potential in undersea adventures, and the inclusion of a choose your own adventure book filled me with happy nostalgia.

  2. Hi Stephanie, I’m so glad that you enjoyed THE NEPTUNE PROJECT. I’m thrilled my baby is keeping company with these titles! I loved DEEP WIZARDRY and many of the other books on this marine list. I’ll definitely tweet about your post tomorrow. Good luck with your blog.

  3. Oh my, you are a dangerous blogger for me to read! As if my book spending isn’t high enough. I love Emily Windsnap and reread it for some fun. You have me having to order Diane Duane’s books. Thank you for the introduction. Ooh books are so scrum.

  4. Good. I’m an incurable reader. May the powers that be never find cures and force them upon us. 🙂

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