The Global Ocean is the latest title in the Citizen Kid series, a companion to One Well: The Story of Water on Earth. In 32 pages, award-winning children’s book author Rochelle Strauss skilfully employs effective analogies, relatable comparisons, and scientific terminology to offer readers stark insights into marine biodiversity and the many destructive impacts of human activity on the world’s interlinked oceans. Bite-sized snippets arranged in small rectangular bubbles provide information on topics that range from seagrass meadows to climate refugees, while large-format “Ripple of Change!” sidebars offer stirring examples of environmental actions that spark hope. The celebration of countries such as Bangladesh, the Dominican Republic, and Morocco for their active roles in marine conservation adds a global perspective.
The section entitled “Waves of Change” shifts focus from dire impacts to positive changes, including initiatives to clean up shorelines and protect marine regions. Young international climate activists changing government policies are another highlight. After the long list of serious problems, it’s heartening to know these issues are solvable. But Strauss makes it clear that the onus is on humans to “make the commitment to protect and restore marine habitats.” The chapter “Finding Your Wave” continues in this vein, supplying a list of initiatives individuals can undertake: learn more, shop wisely, avoid single-use plastics, take public transportation, and speak out.
The book’s landscape format suits the wide underwater vistas, coral reef habitats, and expansive shorelines portrayed in the illustrations. Vancouver Métis artist Natasha Donovan pairs bold black outlines with a range of brightly coloured palettes, textures, and shading. Donovan’s playful, flowing images include scientifically accurate visual details of varied habitats.
For adults in search of more support, the notes section offers ways to improve ocean literacy, integrate ocean studies into all disciplines, and celebrate the ocean at home. The Global Ocean is an engaging primer that encourages curiosity and promotes the importance of ocean stewardship. It will motivate children to protect Earth’s “beating heart” – the powerhouse for “everything on the planet.”