September 8 is International Literacy Day—and the first full week of school for Boston Public School students. To celebrate, we asked five people from around the Aquarium to share the books that inspired their love of the ocean and nature or taught them something about protecting our planet. Check out their recommendations below!

1. True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi

Recommended by Right Whale Research Assistant Kelsey 

“As a kid, I was obsessed with the ocean and all the creatures living below, and this book made me fall in love with boats, sailing, and the idea that just as much adventure can occur on the water as beneath it. I wanted to be Charlotte Doyle. I wanted to sail the high seas, have adventures, and get callouses on my hands from working too many lines. So I did.”

2. The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister

Recommended by Senior Aquarist Lindsay

“I have fond memories of reading it with my grandmother as a kid, and it’s a great story about generosity and friendship!”

3. Seaweed Chronicles: A World at the Water’s Edge by Susan Hand Shetterly

Recommended by Aquarist II Jordan

“Shetterly describes cold marine biota (plant and animal life) with whimsical enthusiasm—a tone that I thoroughly enjoy.”


Jordan with her favorite read, Seaweed Chronicles.

4. Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat

Recommended by Associate Scientist Emily 

“I was into lots of books about nature/animals. Mowat is a wonderful storyteller, and this book is both hilarious and poignant. When I was young, it helped inspire me to be a biologist by demonstrating two things: The importance of observing the natural world to better understand it, and the power scientists have to help change people’s minds about animals and nature.”

5. World Without Fish by Mark Kurlansky 

Recommended by Senior Aquarist Allison 

“This book does a great job at introducing the heavy and complex topics of overexploitation and conservation of aquatic habitats while still being accessible to young readers.”