The most recommended starfish book

Who picked these books? Meet our 5 experts.

5 authors created a book list connected to starfish, and here are their favorite starfish books.
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Book cover of Starfish

Amorina Kingdon Author Of Sing Like Fish: How Sound Rules Life Under Water

From my list on water is a gateway to a strange new world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been obsessed with the idea of other worlds I can’t sense but can somehow contrive to glimpse, whether with a magic amulet or some fabulous technology. As a kid growing up in the woods and devouring fantasy novels and biology texts alike, I couldn’t decide between science or writing as a way of exploring the unknown, and ultimately, I ended up doing both: becoming a writer specializing in marine and coastal environments, one of the many places in our world where the deeper we look at the senses of the creatures living there, the more we realize just how limited our own perceptions are. 

Amorina's book list on water is a gateway to a strange new world

Amorina Kingdon Why did Amorina love this book?

This book is claustrophobic, unflinching, and horrifying, so I can’t watch videos from seafloor subs, drones, or observatories. I’m used to sci-fi that takes place in the cold black isolation of a spaceship, but here we have the cold black isolation of the seabed, which triggers all the thalassophobia. Add the meticulous routines of a crew surviving in a place where humans shouldn’t be and, above all, the awful psychological pull of the void, and you get deliciously potent nightmare fuel.

But maybe more than that, I love that Watts is one of those authors, like Richard Morgan, who creates spec-fic characters with questionable morality, who can and do alarm the reader. Everyone I know who’s ever read this book has never forgotten it, shudders when I mention it and knows who Lenie Clark is. 

By Peter Watts,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Starfish as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

So when civilization needs someone to run generating stations three kilometres below the surface of the Pacific, it seeks out a special sort of person for its Rifters program. It recruits those whose histories have pre-adapted them to dangerous environments, people so used to broken bodies and chronic stress that life on the edge of an undersea volcano would actually be a step up. Nobody worries too much about job satisfaction; if you haven't spent a lifetime learning the futility of fighting back, you wouldn't be a rifter in the first place. It's a small price to keep the lights…


Book cover of Ocean Outbreak: Confronting the Rising Tide of Marine Disease

Peter F. Sale Author Of Coral Reefs: Majestic Realms Under the Sea

From my list on on being a coral reef scientist.

Why am I passionate about this?

Peter Sale has managed to spend an entire career exploring coral reefs, perhaps the most fascinating ecosystem on this planet.  From 1964 when he commenced a Ph.D. at the University of Hawaii, through faculty positions in Australia, the USA, and Canada, and with a final stint with the United Nations University, he has been able to explore the wonders of coral reef systems in many places around the world.  His life has been rewarding, because of the new science he did, the students and colleagues he worked with, and the sheer joy he experienced diving on reefs. His many technical writings include the 1991 book, The Ecology of Fishes on Coral Reefs, which became a classic among reef researchers, students, and some sport divers.

Peter's book list on on being a coral reef scientist

Peter F. Sale Why did Peter love this book?

Dr. C. Drew Harvell is an American marine biologist who has worked extensively on the diseases of corals and other marine organisms. She starts this book with an urgent e-mail in December 2013 – sea stars were dying in Monterey, California, and Drew dropped everything to race off to find out what she could.  That is not an exaggeration. In recent years, her life has been like that. While the book deals with serious diseases having huge consequences for various marine organisms, it also reveals the way in which marine biologists can be immersed in their work yet love every minute and find ways to marvel at the mystery that is life on this planet. 

An outstanding teacher as well as researcher, Drew’s ability to captivate, then skillfully mentor students, comes through loud and clear. She captivates us too, making the subject of marine diseases (of organisms most of us…

By Drew Harvell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ocean Outbreak as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Sustainability Science Award 2020, Ecological Society of America
Winner of the PROSE Award (Biological Sciences category) 2020, Association of American Publishers

There is a growing crisis in our oceans: mysterious outbreaks of infectious disease are on the rise. Marine epidemics can cause mass die-offs of wildlife from the bottom to the top of food chains, impacting the health of ocean ecosystems as well as lives on land. Portending global environmental disaster, ocean outbreaks are fueled by warming seas, sewage dumping, unregulated aquaculture, and drifting plastic.

Ocean Outbreak follows renowned scientist Drew Harvell and her colleagues into the…


Book cover of Always Remember

Jolene Gutiérrez Author Of Bionic Beasts: Saving Animal Lives with Artificial Flippers, Legs, and Beaks

From my list on picture books about death.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a teacher-librarian, I’m often asked for books on difficult topics, including death. When I was young, a close family member died and I struggled with grief. I didn’t know how to honor my loved one or how to begin healing from the loss. The books I’m sharing are books I wish I’d had as a child and books that I’m grateful to be able to hand to children and families when needed. If you’re an emotional person like I am, you may want tissues nearby when you read them. I hope they’re as helpful and therapeutic for you as they have been for me!

Jolene's book list on picture books about death

Jolene Gutiérrez Why did Jolene love this book?

Some picture books about death spend the majority of their pages leading up to the death of a character, but in this colorfully illustrated and powerfully written story, Old Turtle dies on the first page. The remainder of the book is spent reflecting on all the ways Old Turtle impacted the ocean creatures around him: he helped a whale find her pod, he saved a starfish, and he rescued a manatee tangled in fishing net. 

Throughout the story, the reader is reminded that turtle “made his world a better place” and that each of these animals impacted by turtle will always remember him. This story helps readers understand the importance of their actions and the connections we all have.

By Cece Meng, Jago (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Always Remember as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

After Old Turtle swims his last swim and breathes his last breath, and the waves gently take him away, his friends lovingly remember how he impacted each and every one of them. As the sea animals think back on how much better Old Turtle made their lives and their world, they realise that he is not truly gone, because his memory and legacy will last forever. Jago's gorgeous illustrations accompany Cece Meng's serene text in a book that will help children understand and cope with the death of a loved one.


Book cover of The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations

Larry Osborne Author Of Sticky Teams: Keeping Your Leadership Team and Staff on the Same Page

From my list on for leaders seeking to build effective teams.

Why am I passionate about this?

Dr. Larry Osborne is a leadership mentor and practitioner with a rare mix of both theological and leadership expertise. He's been a mentor and major influencer for many of the largest and fastest-growing churches in the US while providing leadership to North Coast Church as it grew from 125 to over 13,000 in weekend attendance.

Larry's book list on for leaders seeking to build effective teams

Larry Osborne Why did Larry love this book?

The value of this book is not in advocating for leaderless organizations. It's in understanding the inherent power of decentralized leadership to foster greater innovation, powerfully respond to crisis, and continually morph in the face of rapidly changing culture and environments.

By Ori Brafman, Rod A. Beckstrom,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Starfish and the Spider as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

If you cut off a spider's head, it dies; if you cut off a starfish's leg it grows a new one, and that leg can grow into an entirely new starfish. Traditional top-down organizations are like spiders, but now starfish organizations are changing the face of business and the world.

What's the hidden power behind the success of Wikipedia, craigslist, and Skype? What do eBay and General Electric have in common with the abolitionist and women's rights movements? What fundamental choice put General Motors and Toyota on vastly different paths?

Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom have discovered some unexpected answers,…


Book cover of The Starfish Sisters

Lori Handeland Author Of Suddenly that Summer

From Lori's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Nana Reader

Lori's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Lori Handeland Why did Lori love this book?

I have been a Barbara O’Neal fan through her Barbara Samuel and Ruth Wind years. Barbara can turn a phrase like no one else. She creates exquisite pictures with words, which you see through her character’s eyes. Her female characters speak to me. They are me.

I both savor her books and speed through them because I can’t stop reading. This book, in particular, drew me with the beautifully drawn relationship between on-again, off-again lifelong friends, as well as the one between a grandmother and granddaughter.

I have to admit I love books about actors/actresses (also writers, rock stars, and road trips).  

By Barbara O'Neal,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Starfish Sisters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the USA Today bestselling author of When We Believed in Mermaids comes an emotional novel about two women facing the betrayals, heartbreaks, and refuge of true friendship.

Phoebe and Suze used to be closer than sisters. Growing up in a quiet and wildly beautiful coastal town in Oregon, they shared everything. Until the secrets they couldn't share threatened their bond and complicated their lives.

Now, decades later, Suze, a famous actress desperate for safe haven following a brutal attack, is back in town. Phoebe, a successful illustrator and fabric designer, has discovered keeping a secret means she can't let…


Book cover of Oddjobs

Kim M. Watt Author Of Gobbelino London & a Scourge of Pleasantries

From my list on UK urban fantasy that aren’t set in London.

Why am I passionate about this?

Although I’m from New Zealand, Europe has been home for a lot of my adult life, and that has included a lot of time in North Yorkshire. It always seems to me that there’s potential for magic around every corner, in the deep sinkholes and high fells of the Dales, or the cobbled charm of the York Shambles and the loom of the Abbey over Whitby harbour. So I do feel that the fact so many stories are set in London is a waste of so many delightfully different settings, and I make a point of hunting out as many alternatives as I can. I hope you enjoy this selection!

Kim's book list on UK urban fantasy that aren’t set in London

Kim M. Watt Why did Kim love this book?

Heide Goody and Iain Grant do a great line in funny, inventive stories, both non-fantastical and urban fantasy, but Oddjobs is a favourite for me. Lovecraftian monsters are due to break through into our world at any moment, and Morag works in a top-secret government department in Birmingham that’s tasked with making sure the apocalypse goes as smoothly as possible. Which sounds a lot darker and less entertaining than the story actually is. It’s full of delightfully sharp humour, and a fantastic blend of office drudgery and otherworldly terrors.

By Heide Goody, Iain Grant,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Oddjobs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It’s the end of the world as we know it, but someone still needs to do the paperwork.Incomprehensible horrors from beyond are going to devour our world but that’s no excuse to get all emotional about it. Morag Murray works for the secret government organisation responsible for making sure the apocalypse goes as smoothly and as quietly as possible. In her first week on the job, Morag has to hunt down a man-eating starfish, solve a supernatural murder and, if she’s got time, prevent her own inevitable death.The first book in a new comedy series by the creators of ‘Clovenhoof’,…