Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle

by Claire A. Nivola

Other authorsClaire A. Nivola (Illustrator)
Hardcover, 2012



Local notes

921 EAR



Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (2012), 32 pages


A picture book biography tells the story of Sylvia Earle's growing passion for the wonders of the sea and how her ocean exploration and advocacy have made her known around the world.


Original language


Physical description

32 p.; 8.79 inches


0374380686 / 9780374380687





User reviews

LibraryThing member achatela
Growing up Sylvia earle was always interested in bugs and water life. Sylvia spent countless hours sitting by her pond watching and writing about their every move. When she was twelve her family moved to Florida. Sylvia was very afraid to leave her home because she didn't know what to expect. She fell in love with Florida immediately. That summer she got her first pair of swim goggles, from then on she was able to see everything. She became a marine biologist and spent many hours on the ocean floor. This story shows that even at a young age you can find something that can be a career.… (more)
LibraryThing member mfink1
Sylvia Earle first fell in love with the ocean when she was a young girl. It first began in a small pond that she loved to observe at her home, but her love grew when she and her family moved to their new home that had the Gulf of Mexico as her backyard. Her love of water grew and now, as an adult, she is an oceanographer. She has designed submarines, walked the deep depths of the waters, and has even swam with whales! This picture book is a great biography that is easy for kids to read.… (more)
LibraryThing member carolcavedon
It is a very nice biography of Sylvia Earle that can be explored during third grade where students read biographies. It is also a nice book because it emphasizes the ocean and its creatures and how important it is to be "connected" with the ocean. The picture are awesome and can be represented in the class with watercolor and/or printing.… (more)
LibraryThing member JenJ.
I had never heard of Sylvia Earle before I picked up this book. Nivola tells of Earle's life and her calling to explore the oceans of the world. This would be a great title to give to kids who are fascinated by Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey.

The illustrations look like watercolors to me, but there's no illustration note to confirm. They are filled with tiny details to sift through and the varying layouts work well to pace the story.

Includes an Author's Note that is basically a call for oceanic conservation and a Selected Bibliography. There are obviously direct quotes in the text and I wish they had been cited as well. Also Nivola includes a pictorial glossary of the fish from throughout the book that could inspire some seek and find fun.
… (more)
LibraryThing member bookwren
I ordered this for my elementary school library and I'm so happy I did. From the preface emphasizing the oceans' immensity on our earth to the author's note and selected bibliography, we are treated to beautiful prose and illustrations of Sylvia Earle's life and passion for the seas. "Sylvia Earle who has spent more than seven thousand hours underwater, calls the ocean "the blue heart of the planet." Born away from the sea, young Sylvia quickly exhibited a love for nature, exploring the creeks and woods of her home and recording her observations; she was already a scientist. But it was when her family moved to coastal Florida that her true passion emerged. Mask and snorkel revealed to her a new world teaming with life and woefully under-investigated. Sylvia studied oceanography, learned to scuba dive and designed submersibles to fuel her passion for learning about and protecting the earth's oceans. She shared her explorations through children's books and magazine articles, recounting her adventures in humble, enthusiastic language. Diving with humpback whales: "From the start," Sylvia said, ""I found myself being observed by them." "Whales are like swallows ... like otters ... They move in any direction. They are sleek and elegant and gorgeous, among the most exquisite creatures on the planet." Diving deeper and deeper, she finds the ocean "brimming with extraordinary forms of life." Claire Nivola has penned an admirable tribute to a remarkable woman. I can't wait to share this book with my students.… (more)
LibraryThing member Ms.Penniman
Retelling: This book celebrates the life of Sylvia Earle. The author emphasizes Sylvia's "investigations," the careful observations she made of the natural world in her notebooks throughout her life, and shares some direct quotes from her. During her life, Syvlia set diving records, was the chief scientist on the NOAA, served as an explorer in residence at the National Geographic Society, consulted as an expert on oil spills, and spoke widely on the ocean habitat. The author's note at the end of this book, reveals the AUTHOR'S passion about saving the natural habitat hat Sylvia explored, and continuing her legacy.

Thoughts and Feelings: Ever since my ocean animal project in third grade I wanted to study the sea. When my family vacationed in Maine, I would spend hours staring at the fish in the Lake. I had never heard of Sylvia Earle before I found this book. I particularly impressed when I found out that she was born in 1936. There are many female scientists now, but back then... well, I guess that's why she was 1 woman in the company of 70 men on her expedition. It's interesting that the author doesn't tell you the year of Sylvia's birth until the Author's Note at the end. I felt like I had to read it twice to put things in better context.

I was surprised that of, Sylvias many accomplishments, the author focused on her writing. Not all scientists are great descriptive writers. That set her apart for me.
… (more)
LibraryThing member athomp2
I thought this book was great how it introduced Sylvia and told of the transition that led her to Florida where she fell in love with the water. The illustrations were great in the way that helped tell the story and capture the imagination. I think this would be a very good book for young readers, especially those interested in oceanography type things.… (more)
LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
Beautifully told and beautifully illustrated, this picture-book biography of Sylvia Earle, the oceanographer, environmentalist and author - her books range from adult titles on marine ecology (The World Is Blue: How Our Fate and the Ocean's Are One) to children's picture-books with a similar theme (Dive: My Adventures In the Deep Frontier - who has done so much as an advocate for the seas, is as engaging as it is informative. A biologist and botanist before she knew what the words meant, Sylvia grew up on a farm in New Jersey, where she spent her time observing the flora and fauna of the nearby pond, stream and fields. When her family moved to Florida, to a little house right on the Gulf of Mexico, she "lost her heart to the ocean," becoming fascinated by the teeming life in the world under the water. It was a passion she would follow in school and after, becoming a world renowned scientist and aquanaut, and a fierce proponent of protecting the life in the ocean.

The third of Claire A. Nivola's picture-book biography projects that I have read, following upon Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai, which she both wrote and illustrated, and Emma's Poem: The Voice of the Statue of Liberty, which she illustrated for another author, Life in the Ocean is a title that I greatly enjoyed reading. The author's descriptive prose gives readers a good feeling for Sylvia, especially in her early years, when she was "too curious to be afraid," and creates in them great sympathy for her passionate attachment to the seas. As with her other books, Nivola's artwork is just lovely, with beautiful use of color - I loved the varying shades of blue she used in the ocean landscapes, depending upon how deep the waters were, and what time of day it was - and charmingly stylized human figures. I think I will have to track down more of her work - perhaps [book:Orani: My Father's Village|9919963]? In any case, this is one I would highly recommend, to all young ocean lovers, and to children who enjoy reading stories about pioneering explorers and scientists.
… (more)
LibraryThing member melodyreads
Sylvia Earle began exploring nature as a child, and never stopped. This is a summary of her life as marine biologist, explorer, and more. Good, good story.
LibraryThing member matthewbloome
I had never heard of Sylvia Earle before this book. I'm really impressed with this biography, as I was with her book about Wangari Maathai. Claire Nivola is quickly becoming one of my favorite children's biographers. She really presents amazing books. I eagerly await the next one.
LibraryThing member ktran4
I liked this book for several reasons. I enjoyed the imagery and descriptions. The author uses many adjectives and verbs that help the reader paint a picture while they read. For example,”Floating on the surface of the grassy water,...” The words “floating” and “grassy” support the imagery of the sentence. I like how the author also writes about how Sylvia Earle’s interest for the ocean gradually formed as she grew up. The author also included Earle’s accomplishments and discoveries. For example, “ leading a team of divers stationed for two weeks in a deep sea laboratory off the U.S Virgin Islands,” The accomplishments show the reader Earle’s importance to the story. I also liked that the author relates the animal’s lives to human lives or talks to the audience. For example, “each fish often returning time and again to its same resting place -- just as we do!” I think speaking directly to the audience makes the reader feel like apart of the story. I also enjoyed the detailed watercolor illustrations that relate to the text on each page. The big idea of this story is to take care of the ocean because it contributes to life in our world.… (more)
LibraryThing member polochick
This is a great story to show a job that many kids don't know about. This could be used with some science curriculum about the ocean.
LibraryThing member rdg301library
Reading Level: Primary or Secondary
Genre: Biography

Summary: This is a biography about oceanographer Sylvia Earle. It informs us of all she has accomplished while being an oceanographer.
LibraryThing member josephumana
The book is aimed more for older children who have an interest in the ocean, as it describes the author early life and how much she appreciates the ocean for being there as she is drawn to it. The reason I think it was intended for older children as the artwork seems really realistic to reali life images, I think this was done to accurately describe and reveal the ocean for what it is. Overall a good book for those into the water world.… (more)
LibraryThing member SadieCooney
Life in the Ocean is about an oceanographer Sylvia. This story is non-fiction and lets us become a part of Sylvia’s life. She lived in the country and then moved to Florida. She became very interested in the water and Sylvia received many gifts related to the water for her birthday. She was never afraid to stand out and be the only female on an exploration team. Also, Sylvia spent two weeks underwater. Her story is simply amazing and I feel children would enjoy it. This book includes some great illustrations. Life in the Ocean would be an excellent book to expose to children when doing Biography Day. It can be included in a science lesson about the ocean too!… (more)
LibraryThing member HannahRevard
In my opinion, the author used entirely too many quotes from Sylvia Earle in telling her story, then repeating them. Why not just have Sylvia Earle write the book? The illustrations were boring, they could've shown much more detail of the diverse ocean life.
LibraryThing member bridgetmcnamara
The book, "Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle" is a biography about Sylvia Earle, but it is written like a story. The story begins with Sylvia as a child and continues by telling the story of her life. The book also gives information in it about animals of the sea; for example, the humpback whale is mentioned on one of the pages. The author uses this time to tell the reader that the humpback whale is forty feet long and weighs 80,000 pounds. Also, the illustrator shows this greatness of the whale in the illustration by drawing both the whale and Sylvia, but Sylvia is drawn much, much smaller than the whale. I also found the illustrations to be very beautiful, with many different colors to represent the beauty of the ocean. The message that I got from the book is that no matter how small or big your dream or passion is, you cannot be afraid to follow it.… (more)
LibraryThing member kacieholt
This is a biography about the oceanographer, Sylvia Earle. In the book, we learn about Earle’s early years on a farm outside of New Jersey, and then her life once she moved to Florida. She was brave and curious from a very young age, taking her first dive in a river at the age of 16 and swimming 30 feet to the bottom, to living underwater for two weeks in a deep-sea substation in the early seventies.… (more)
LibraryThing member mroque
Summary: This book is about the life of Sylvia Earl who is an Oceanographer. She grew up on the Gulf of Mexico and that was where her love for the ocean began. She has had many opportunities including designing submarines and swimming with dolphins and whales. Her passion for what she does speaks throughout the pages as she talks about the"blue heart of the planet".
Genre: Picture Book
Review: I love oceanography and when I saw this book at Powell's during the library explore assignment, I had to pick it up and read it. I loved the illustrations and how it felt like I was deep down in the ocean. I love the idea of using this book to teach about the ocean because it is a very interesting and often forgotten place. This was definitely one of my favorite books that I read during the term.
… (more)




(59 ratings; 4.1)
Page: 0.2652 seconds