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Sailing Books for Children

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I am the hopelessly smitten grandfather of five, ages 2 to 9, three of whom have been sailing with me. I'm frequently on the look out for children's books that promote the love of sailing. I'd love to hear your suggestions.

Thanks.

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Posted (edited)

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Edited by Ishmael
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Little Rat Sets Sail, and a second for Swallows and Amazons.

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I am on board for Arthur Ransome for children who are readers. How about younger ones?

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17 minutes ago, Trevor B said:

Little Rat Sets Sail, and a second for Swallows and Amazons.

Little Rat looks like a winner. I've ordered a copy. Thanks.

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+1 for Scuppers the Sailor Dog!  My grandson loved this one when he was three or so (we read it to him), and now whenever we find or build a driftwood shack on the beach we all call it the "Sailor Dog house".  

Another read-aloud one is "The Maggie B".  Our daughter liked it so much when she was little that decades later we named our little psuedo-tug "Maggie E".

"Where the Wild Things Are" has a little bit of sailing in it.

None of these are about sailing, exactly, but have boats as an element.

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Little Rat is great. There's also one for horseback riding. 

There are a couple of books about a dog named Salty, and his owner who is building a wooden boat. 

Sarah's Boat is another, but maybe for older kids. 

One Morning in Maine is a good one with boats in it, but not sailing. 

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Also for Scuppers the Sailor Dog and One Morning in Maine. Another very good one is Amos and Boris.

Slightly nautical and perennially good are The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Grey Bridge (a personal favorite), The Little Island, and Circus Ship.

And The Wind in the Willows, though not sailing per se, is a wonderful book for older kids.  “There is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing around in boats. Simply messing.”  

Those are words I live by.

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When I was nine, I think I was plowing through Walt Morley books.  Not sailing, maybe, but there were boats in many of them.  Maybe too dated these days? They were new back then.  

There was another book - maybe more for early teens - about a British boy who had to take over the family fishing smack.  Made a big impression, but I’ve never been able to google it up.  Sound familiar to anybody?  IIRC, skills learned sailing the smack later made him a big hero, in The War, as per most boys books in those days.  

Another neat source of inspiration for maybe 10 y/o and up is/was the Sea Scout Manual.  I had my great-uncles 1930’s edition.  At first, there are the diagrams of ship’s rigging and knots to tie.  Later, the text becomes more interesting.  No idea what the current edition looks like.  Actually I still have quite a few of my uncles books - man, those 1930’s kids books would all be considered shockingly racist today.   But interesting to see what was cool to kids back then.  

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The Encyclopedia for kids is the Ocean Almanac.

everything they need to know  

IMG_8290.JPG

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As a Brit I am supposed to love Ransome

I  could never get on with him

all that "let us pretend" an old woman is  a  witch bollix or an old man is a pirate tosh

I tried his adult literature too

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racundra's_First_Cruise

in Racundra he devoted a lot of  the book bad  mouthing the working class

I fear that his prose has not survived well

 

D

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4 hours ago, toddster said:

There was another book - maybe more for early teens - about a British boy who had to take over the family fishing smack.  Made a big impression, but I’ve never been able to google it up.  Sound familiar to anybody?

I have a book called Sea Fever by K. M. Peyton that matches that description.

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Amos and Boris.  its about a mouse that dreams of sailing the world, builds a little boat called the rodent and sets off. He falls over board and is rescued by a whale named boris who was off to get laid somewhere and he calls off is booty call to return amos to his homeland.  Its a beautiful story. I read it to my son about 400 times when he was age 2 -6

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Scuppers, the Sailor Dog is also available as an audiobook

 

 

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A description of Lying Awake I found online sounds promising:

Lying Awake is a beautifully written, quality children's picture book with delightful watercolor illustrations, for ages six to adult. It features the special combination of a read-aloud bedtime story, activities, and several pages of educational information about life on a boat, and little-known facts about the marine life in the story. Waiting for sleep in her cozy bunk, eight-year-old Lanie listens to the sounds both inside the boat and outside in the marina, and relives her adventures with Grandfather out on the tide flats. Readers are treated to the sensory experience of what you see, smell, and hear on a boat in a marina, and to the rhythm and peacefulness of a boat rocking back and forth at the dock. The activities in Lying Awake include a recipe, and three secret signal flag messages for the reader to decode. These messages provide a few details not found elsewhere in the book.

https://books.google.ca/books/about/Lying_Awake.html?id=xYjCsaDzJhkC&redir_esc=y

And a few short reviews on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Lying-Awake-Helen-Furbush/product-reviews/0974178705/ref=dpx_acr_txt?showViewpoints=1

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Not a book, but Moana seems to be working very well for my daughter. She brings her Heart of Tafiti necklace onto the boat 

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Thanks QBF. I just watched Scuppers, it's appropriate for my mentality too. 

 

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Night Race to Kawau, by Tessa Duder https://www.amazon.com/Night-Race-Kawau-Puffin-Books/dp/0140317589

More for the 9yo but it’ll whet their appetite for yachts, racing and night passages - and build some some strong sailing sense into them. The hero is a young girl who your G-kid(s) will identify with who has to cope with the aftermath when the kite goes wrong in the dark. Great adventure story, empowered kids who take on responsibility, and excellent sailing detail as well.

Nothing would betray it’s 35years old and it courses the NZ Americas Cup waters.

 

 

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My kids love the pics in Seahorse Magazine, but I read it mainly for the articles ;)

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The Tommy the Tugboat series by DoraThatcher.

Getting dated and damn near collector items now, but the little kids will love being read to, and the chapter stories are lovely with their innocent underdog-saving-the-day adventures, and well written for reading aloud.

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After thinking about my youth. My favorite of all time was Royce's Sailing Illustrated. I still remember every page.

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Here are a few books my kids who are not yet readers like to listen too. Not exclusively sail but nautical for certain.

Time of Wonder by Robert McCloskey

https://www.amazon.com/Wonder-Picture-Puffins-Robert-McCloskey/dp/0140502017

The Edmund Fitzgerald - Song of the Bell by Kathy-Jo Wargin

https://www.amazon.com/Edmund-Fitzgerald-Song-Bell/dp/1585361267

Scuffy the Tugboat  by Gertrude Compton

https://www.amazon.com/Scuffy-Tugboat-Adventures-Down-River/dp/0307020460

 

 

 

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9 hours ago, Pipe Dream said:

I have a book called Sea Fever by K. M. Peyton that matches that description.

That might be it, thanks.  It has been a very long time...

This other book by the same author rings a few bells too

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I'm compiling a list. Carry on!

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4 hours ago, cje said:

After thinking about my youth. My favorite of all time was Royce's Sailing Illustrated. I still remember every page.

I still have my old copy, ca. 1970, which has been soaked and dried more than once. Love his drawings.

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15 hours ago, dylan winter said:

As a Brit I am supposed to love Ransome

I  could never get on with him

all that "let us pretend" an old woman is  a  witch bollix or an old man is a pirate tosh

I tried his adult literature too

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racundra's_First_Cruise

in Racundra he devoted a lot of  the book bad  mouthing the working class

I fear that his prose has not survived well

 

D

Kids don't care!

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On 3/14/2018 at 7:05 PM, Ishmael said:

91cAlDY91rL.jpg

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/may/24/swallows-and-amazons-titty-renamed-tatty-in-bbc-film

“The British public have a huge warmth and affection for Titty, which I think has been underestimated. There is even a #TittyForever hashtag.

(Sorry. Puerile, I know. But this is SA, where titties seem to be equivalent to Bitcoin)

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My son enjoyed (IIRC) Hydrodynamics of Sailing by CA Marchaj.

Edit - I preferred The Boat That Wouldn't Float by Farley Mowat, but it's for an older reader!

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47 minutes ago, Recidivist said:

My son enjoyed (IIRC) Hydrodynamics of Sailing by CA Marchaj.

Edit - I preferred The Boat That Wouldn't Float by Farley Mowat, but it's for an older reader!

The Mowat book,  as are most of the Mowat books, are readable again and again and you find new stuff every time.

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Bowditch. 

Of if the rugrat whines about it being too difficult, then Chapmans.

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1 hour ago, Ajax said:

One book from my childhood-  The Coral Island:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Coral_Island

My copy, printed the year after I was born. The cover still looks pretty good, but the pages are a little loose.

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Sounds like a pretty succinct description of me at times.

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On 15.3.2018 at 12:05 AM, Ishmael said:

91cAlDY91rL.jpg

exactly what came to my mind as first thought

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I read this when I was 7. And my father had read them before me...

German, though.

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The marine-themed books that I remember from my childhood are 

THE SEAWEED HAT by Slobodkin, Louis which seems to be out of print, and Scuffy, the Tugboat which is still available.

22544790265.jpg

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One of my earliest memories is being read a book about a Russian Prince with two older brothers who got the short end of the stick when his Father started giving his sons power and gifts. The youngest son knew that he would suck hind tit all his life so when asked what he wanted from his Father said 'provide me with a ship and crew so I can explore the world'. Still sounded pretty entitled to me even at that young age. Anyway looking back I can see that story really set the stage for me and even the relation with my Dad and family. I just did a quick Google search and was surprised to find the old Russian fairy tale and this version of it by non other that Arthur Ransome!

 

http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/russian/oldpetersrussiantales/salt.htmlhttp://www.surlalunefairytales.com/russian/oldpetersrussiantales/salt.html

 

   This story made me want to change my first name to Ivan...

Image result for Ivan the Ninny

 

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Just remember what you are really trying to achieve when you tell children a bedtime story . . . . . . . . . . . .

 

 

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On 3/15/2018 at 11:47 PM, Recidivist said:

My son enjoyed (IIRC) Hydrodynamics of Sailing by CA Marchaj.

Edit - I preferred The Boat That Wouldn't Float by Farley Mowat, but it's for an older reader!

+  +  +1 and more.... the Boat That Wouldn't Float is really either not suitable for children, or not suitable for grown-ups, depending on your basic philosophy. But it's a great book IMHO

Also, for kids  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wreck_of_the_Zephyr

I wrote and illustrated a book for my nephew when he was 5... it may not be all that good but he loved it, for a while it was his favorite book.... I will have to dig it out from the archives though

FB- Doug

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For the 2 year old, also add The Little Sailboat (Captain Smalls Goes Sailing.) It's a short picture book about a guy who goes for a daysail with his dog, catches a fish, takes a nap, comes home. We got it from the library and my  2 1/2 yo son really liked it...  plus it belies a level of familiarity with sailing that many other books miss...  his boat is on a mooring they row out to, they duck the boom when gybing, tack upwind etc. all in a book for toddlers. 

Also 2nd on The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Grey Bridge. Not sail-specific but also very popular with the little one, and has stoked a curiousity about lighthouses that benefits those of us who like to be near water. 

Scuffy the tugboat I can not endorse. 

I'll look for Amos and Boris, though. 

 

Luke

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