Books About Tropical Islands

Laying on the beach, listening to the sound of the waves, soaking up the sun . . . a tropical island is paradise! But it’s also an adventure! This month, we invite you and your children to read about ocean creatures, tide pools, and island formations. Plus, don’t miss the books that describe the unique culture of island people and their way of life. Read a few of these books and encourage your children to share what they learn with another friend or family member!

Where the Ocean Meets the Sand Beth Costanzo

This book takes kids on an adventure at the beach. They’ll see crabs scurrying along the sand, clams hiding in tide pools, and sailboats passing by on the water. The text flows nicely and is perfect for toddlers. The illustrations are vivid, giving you and your child lots to talk about as you read. It’s a wonderful book listening, observing, and appreciating this unique environment!

The Seaside Heather Amery

This board book features colorful illustrations and toddler-level questions that encourage little ones to talk about what they see on each page. Throughout the pages, they’ll see how a family spends the day at the beach. It’s a simple book that lends itself to discussing new words and concepts with young children.

The Happy, Snappy Crab Gareth Lucas

This book is full of pop-up fun! The happy, snappy crab introduces his friends: speedy shark, tickly octopus, and others. The rhyming text rolls of the tongue, and the colorful pop-ups are sure to grab your toddler’s attention. It’s a great introduction to ocean creatures!

The Big Book of the Blue Yuval Zommer

This illustrated non-fiction book is just right for budding oceanographers. It covers more than a dozen different sea creatures like whales, crabs, tuna, pufferfish, and more. Plus, there are a few pages covering conservation issues like pollution and other threats to the oceans. The illustrations are cheerful and whimsical, perfect for preschoolers and young elementary kids.

National Geographic Kids: Tide Pools Laura Marsh

In this level 1 reader, kids can read to their parents and learn all about the wonder of tide pools. They’ll learn about how tide pools form, why they’re important, and what kind of creatures live there. Bright, crisp images are featured throughout the book to give kids a real sense for this special habitat. Emerging readers in first and second grade will be able to take on this one while younger children will enjoy reading it with you.

An Island Grows Lola Schaefer

Where does an island come from? Kids will find the answer in this book! It all begins with an undersea volcano. The author takes you through a variety of transformations until the island is complete with plants, birds, and people. Each page includes just a few carefully selected words, but they’re full of energy and tell about the scientific process in a way that early elementary kids can understand. A more detailed explanation is presented on the final page for older kids who may be interested.

Inky the Octopus Erin Guendelsberger

Inky the Octopus lived at the National Aquarium of New Zealand until, one day, he made his escape to the sea! This silly picture book recounts the adventures of Inky as he follows his dream of freedom. It’s actually based on a true story—you can read the details in the final pages. There’s also a few pages dedicated to other odd octopuses and a bit of scientific information about these ocean creatures. Toddlers and elementary kids will love hearing about Inky’s courageous spirit!

Islandborn Junot Díaz

This is a story that hits on several important notes: culture, identity, imagination, and community. For a school assignment, Lola is asked to draw a picture of where her family first lived: The Island. Lola doesn’t remember anything about The Island because her family left when she was just a baby. So, she talks to her family and people in her community. As they tell her their memories, she begins to understand her history. This book is based on the true story of a dictatorship in the Dominican Republic, but the story is gentle enough for early elementary children.

Island: A Story of the Galápagos Jason Chin

Award-winning author and artist Jason Chin takes readers on an amazing tour of the Galápagos Islands in this book. The painted illustrations are breathtaking; you’ll feel like you’re actually on the island! The text weaves together non-fiction facts in a way that feels like a moving story of life. Use this book to introduce your elementary-aged children to Charles Darwin, evolution, and the changes that have occurred in the Galápagos over the past six million years.

In One Tidepool: Crabs, Snails, and Salty Tails Anthony Fredericks

A young girl peeks into the world of one tide pool. She sees a host of interesting creatures: sea anemones, sea stars, crabs, and more. Each page offers details about a creature in rhyming verse. Then, the text repeats and builds on the next page. The illustrations are colorful and offer a nice visual representation of the ecosystem. This one will hold the attention of preschoolers and young elementary kids.

You’re a Crab! A Moody Day Book Jenny Whitehead

Emotions are on full display in this book! You see the friendly dolphin, the funny clownfish, and the silly jellyfish. Then, there’s the crabby crab. He’s having a bad day, for sure! The book takes a sympathetic approach to emotions: it’s okay to have a bad day; tomorrow will be better. The colorful illustrations are a mix of paint, tissue paper, and digital drawings. Use this book to introduce toddlers to the concept of emotions and regulation.

The Fascinating Ocean Book for Kids Bethanie and Josh Hestermann

This book is packed full with 500 ocean facts! If it’s under the water, it’s in this book! The authors have picked genuinely interesting facts about ocean topography, wildlife, exploration, and much more. Eye-catching photographs and illustrations fill the pages. This one is entertaining for both kids and adults!

Magic Beach Alison Lester

Part reality, part magical adventure, this book is enchanting for young children. The kids in the book look into tide pools on one page and the next page has them riding on the tails of sea dragons! The illustrations have a gentle style that invites kids to study them and point out all of the details. This one is a classic book that parents may have read as a child and will enjoy reading to their own children now!

The Three Little Hermit Crabs Joseph Torcivia

Three little hermit crabs are getting too big for their home. They have to find new shells or risk getting eaten by Hook Billed Heron! Will the crabs be successful or will they forget their mother’s warning? The cute illustrations and quirky story highlight the importance of developing independence and responsibility. Read this one with preschoolers.

Abigail and the Tropical Island Adventure Tali Carmi

Abigail goes on exciting trips around the world using her magical bicycle. In this book, she travels from her rainy town to an exotic island! She meets friends, learns about coconuts and shells, and lends a helping hand at Lelei’s birthday party. This magical story is a perfect read-aloud for preschoolers.

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