Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Life in the Ocean: The Story of Sylvia Earle

Nivola, Claire A. (Author/Illustrator)
Macmillan 2012. 32 pages
First published: 2012
ISBN: 9780374380687 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Dewey: 551.46
Book type: Non-Fiction
Book genre: Biography

Text Elements:

character, figurative language, setting

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Keen readers are introduced to the importance of ocean health in this biography of oceanographer Sylvia Earle. Through a variety of childhood anecdotes, Sylvia is shown to be adventurous, observant and inventive.

Her many career accomplishments are covered through exquisite thumbnail images and caption-like text. Sylvia has amazing experiences: spending two weeks underwater among coral reefs; walking on the ocean floor at depths deeper than anyone has ever walked. “There weren’t stars visible . . . but there were bioluminescent creatures flashing their blue fire.” Quotes from Sylvia Earle herself add richness to the story. On swimming with 40-foot long, 80 000-pound humpback whales, she says, “From the start, I found myself being observed by them.”

Beautifully composed, detailed illustrations have a warm, painterly touch. Readers enter underwater worlds with Sylvia, or pore over panoramas depicting the interwoven relationships of all living things. In the final spread, tiny people stand on a dwarfed ledge of land, while the majesty of the ocean world dominates the image—a powerful and unfamiliar perspective for land-dwellers. The lengthy author’s note features a gorgeous illustrated border of sea species and their identifications. This book is an enriching read for anyone.

  •  

    Do you have a passion like Earle’s? What are you doing to follow your dreams? What jobs are associated with your passion?

  •  

    Create a class Character Vocabulary anchor chart. Add words that describe Earle (determined, curious, bold, etc.). Discuss the evidence that supports these descriptions of her.

  •  

    Try one of Earle’s investigations: select a natural spot (e.g. pond, ant hill, rotting log, spider web) and observe keenly for five (or more) minutes, recording everything you notice. Share your observations with the class.

  •  Write a diary entry from the time when Earle “lived underwater for two weeks in 1970”. Include the thrills as well as the challenges of your day.
  •  

    Describe what you notice about the illustrations. How is the vastness of the ocean portrayed?

  •  Make a list of the creatures in the underwater world. Add adjectives, adverbs and verbs that describe them.
  •  

    With a partner, scan the book and note facts about Sylvia Earle that make her a world-renowned oceanographer. Share with the class.

  •  

    Research one of the environmental problems mentioned in the Author’s Note at the end of the book. Make a poster to illustrate and describe what we can do to protect the oceans.

  • To construct his/her identity
  • To use creativity
  • To use information
  • Environmental Awareness and Consumer Rights and Responsibilities
  • Personal and Career Planning
  • Science and Technology