The best sea monster books

2 authors have picked their favorite books about sea monsters and why they recommend each book.

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Book cover of Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent

Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent

By Bill Peet,

Why this book?

I love stories about sea monsters and this was one of my favourites as a kid. It’s hard being Cyrus. Humans are afraid of sea monsters like him, and Shark thinks he’s too cowardly to sink ships. But the kindly sea serpent resists peer pressure and saves the day when he comes to the rescue of a ship in need. A sweet and surprising story about kindness and being true to yourself from a real legend of children’s literature, Bill Peet.
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Book cover of The Sea Serpent and Me

The Sea Serpent and Me

By Dashka Slater, Catia Chien (illustrator),

Why this book?

When a tiny sea serpent suddenly drops out of the faucet and into a girl’s bath, an immediate and playful friendship begins. As the sea serpent grows bigger, he tells the tale of how he was carried by a tornado over jungles and silvery cities until he landed in a lake and was whooshed up by a pipe. He sings fanciful songs about the deep blue sea and fish-shaped like guitars. Eventually, he grows so big that the little girl knows it’s time he returns to the sea. So, she helps the sea serpent, now big as a whale, overcome…

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Book cover of Crowfall


By Vashti Hardy,

Why this book?

All of Vashti Hardy’s books are brilliant, but I recommend Crowfall because Hardy creates an incredibly immersive world – the island of Ironhold – and characters including a mechanical sea monster, a pet robot, and a very brave boy named Orin. When Orin discovers his island is under threat, and ends up being put to sea in a rickety boat, how can he save his family and home? An unforgettable adventure.

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Book cover of The Rainbow Fish

The Rainbow Fish

By Marcus Pfister,

Why this book?

I remember this story from when I was little. I would stroke the shiny scales with my fingers and admire the octopus in his cave. Little me couldn’t believe the fish would give away his scales! Didn’t he want to keep them all? The message about the happiness that comes with generosity was certainly one I needed to hear...repeatedly.

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Book cover of Flotsam


By David Wiesner,

Why this book?

Impeccable artwork, precision storytelling, and singularly unique invention are all packed into this amazing book experience. The basic concept is brilliant and mind-bending, and actually maybe even a little bit mind-melting. On top of that is an additional treat of wonderful and whimsical glimpses into a magical undersea world, obviously painted with true passion for the subject matter.

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Book cover of Pearl


By Molly Idle,

Why this book?

This book has this soft slow kind of magic that would be wonderful for winding down right before bedtime. The images flow through the book and guide you down into the colorful glowing depths where a family of mermaids guard the secrets of the sea. The message is lovely as well. Little Pearl the mermaid discovers that even the smallest of responsibilities, when nurtured properly, can grow to be hugely impactful.

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Book cover of Oona


By Kelly DiPucchio, Raissa Figueroa (illustrator),

Why this book?

It’s impossible not to fall head over heels in love with the little mermaid explorer Oona and her sea otter friend Otto. The adorable duo was created by illustrator Raissa Figueroa who has this amazing ability to make all her characters completely irresistible and her environments rich with atmospheric colors and magical details. I can’t wait to see what adventures Oona and Otto go on next!

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Book cover of Voyage to Magical North

Voyage to Magical North

By Claire Fayers,

Why this book?

This book had everything I could ever desire in an escape—monsters, magic, and mayhem. Brine Seaborne, a very precocious girl, gets wrapped up in the adventures of pirates as they head out on a quest to find the Magical North. Intertwined with the creative, beguiling magic are conversations that resonated deeply for me, ones about what makes a person a monster and who gets to hold positions of power (I actually stopped and jotted down a couple quotes while reading! Those notes are still in my phone today!). Voyage to the Magical North sits on my “favorites” shelf because of…

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