Did you know that every year on June 8 we celebrate World Oceans Day? The passion to save the Earth’s waters starts with a fondness for the sea and all the wonderful creatures that call it home. With the help of mom Alexine Parreño, who runs the online bookstore Pumplepie Books & Happiness, here is a list of children’s books to explore the oceans together and help cultivate environmental responsibility in your little one:
1. Message in the Sand Written by Charmaine Aserappa; Illustrated by Roel Obemio; Published by CANVAS Php500
“Miguel lived near the beach and loved the sea,” reads the first line of this storybook. One day, the boy notices the fish dying from waste dumped by a mining company. The story then follows the boy as he spells out S.O.S. (Save Our Seas) on the sand every day, with everything from seaweed to shells, only to have his words washed away by the waves. Get this book to see how his perseverance pays off.
The e-book version is free for everyone to read but each purchase of a printed copy goes to CANVAS’ (The Center for Art, New Ventures & Sustainable Development) mission to give 1 million books to 1 million Filipino kids.
2. A First Look at Philippine Fishes Written by Maria Elena Paterno; Illustrated by Crispin Dayao, Jr.; Published by Tahanan Books P150
Dive deep into the colorful world under the sea and meet the friendly inhabitants of the Philippine waters. Part of Tahanan's First Look at...series, this one also profiles ten types of creatures found in our country. See if you can spot them on your next visit to the aquarium!
3. Diwa the Dugong Written and illustrated by Rachel L. Shaw; Translated by Reynante Ramilo; Published by The Bookmark, Inc. P135
Do sea cows go moo? The dugong, or sea cow, is a marine mammal (yup, just like dolphins and whales) that are found in the Philippines. They're classified as “vulnerable to extinction” due to unsustainable fishing practices. This is the story of Diwa the Dugong and how the destruction of her habitat forces her to brave the oceans on her own.
6. Hipon and Biya Written by Carla Pacis; Illustrated by Joanne de Leon; Published by Adarna House P99
Sa puting buhanginan ng isang tangrib ng korales, nakatira ang isang hipon at isang biya. Kahit na magkaiba sila, namumuhay silang masayang magkasama.
Your kiddo will make quick friends with dynamic duo Hipon and Biya. This fun read, though not particularly about ocean conservation, will make your little one fall in love with the sea nonetheless. It imparts lessons on friendship too.
4. Gardener of the Sea: A Story About Nida Calumpong Written by Didith T. Rodrigo; Illustrated by Corrine Golez; Published by Bookmark, Inc. P120
Is your little one already an aspiring biologist? Introduce her to Hilconida ‘Nida’ P. Calumong, a professor of Biology in Silliman University through this book (which is part of the Women of Science series by Bookmark). She researches about giant clams, algae, seagrass, mangroves, and sea hares and is a globally-recognized scientist.
5. The Legend of Juan Pawikan and the 7,107 Islands Written by Celine Beatrice Fabie; Illustrated by Benjor Catindig; Published by Mona Lisa Publication P250
Juan the Pawikan is a marine turtle who wants to explore far away from the shore where he was born. It's what marine turtles do — they leave their birth island to travel and return only when it's time for them to lay eggs. Juan's story aims to create awareness about marine turtles who don't get to live their lives because they are caught for money, or their habitat becomes polluted.
7. Si Dong, Ang Matakaw na Dugong By Jomike Tejido; Published by Anvil Publishing P175
Mom Alexine's daughter Adriana thinks Dong the Dugong is funny and, hopefully, so will your kiddo too. Dong loves to eat sweets and junk food which usually makes him slugging during playtime — not good. That is, until a lobster shows him what he really should be eating. This one's another book that's not particularly Earth conservation but is a lot of fun.