In keeping with the theme of yesterday’s book review – ocean explorations – today Debbie Glade reviewed Far from Shore: Chronicles of an Open Voyage ($17.99, Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, Ages 9-12).

This is a really cool book, told from the point of view of the author/illustrator/ornithologist, Sophie Webb. It is essentially an illustrated scientific journal, documenting a research expedition on a ship through the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean. Each of the journal entries in the book include a date, location, latitude and longitude and are fully illustrated. Even the interior of the ship is depicted.

I love that the journal entries include detailed descriptions, not only of what the scientists saw on their journey, but also scientific explanations about how data is collected and recorded and how ocean ecosystems work. Naturally, since this is a book about oceans, birds and fish are the highlighted animals, and the illustrations of many species are incredible. While reading the book, young readers can really get an idea of what life as a scientist might be like. This is so important, because the world certainly needs more scientists, and a book such as Far from Shore may just inspire young students to choose future careers in science.

I can only imagine that the process of writing and illustrating journal books for children is really fascinating. Author Sophie Webb has written two other journal books, My Season with Penguins: An Antarctic Journey and Looking for Seabirds: Journal from an Alaskan Voyage. Both of these books have won a number of impressive awards, and I’m not surprised. I highly recommend Far from Shore as a gift for any young, aspiring scientist you may know.

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