One thing we’re passionate about at Emler Swim School is sharing our love of water with the children. When the pandemic hit, we had to think of new ways to stay engaged with the little fishes. Our creative team decided to do storytime on Facebook Live and share our favorite children’s books that involve pools, oceans, lakes, and more. Whether you’re looking for a gift for your little one or a safe video to keep them entertained, here are 17 great books involving water categorized by age. From baby board books teaching counting to imaginative books that teach about wildlife or cover overcoming fear of learning how to swim, there’s something here for your kiddo.
Baby to 3 years old
10 Little Rubber Ducks by Eric Carle | Virtual Story Time on Facebook
“Ducks overboard!” shouts the captain, as a giant wave washes a box of 10 little rubber ducks off his cargo ship and into the sea. The ducks are swept away in various directions. One drifts west, where a friendly dolphin jumps over it. A whale sings to another. But as the sun sets, the 10th little rubber duck is left all alone, bobbing helplessly on the big wide sea. Small readers and listeners will empathize with the little duck’s plight—and will rejoice at the heartwarming surprise ending. This book teaches directional words and simple math concepts, as well as biology and geography.
If I Were A Whale by Shelley Gill | Virtual Story Time
This rhyming book teaches toddlers about whales found in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Arctic Oceans in a fun and imaginative way.
Who Can Swim? by Sebastien Braun | Virtual Story Time
Babies will be eager to lift the flaps in this bold, simple board book to see if they guess correctly about who can swim. Dive with a dolphin, wallow with a whale, and paddle with a polar bear. Who else might be in the water?
Underwater Doggies 1, 2, 3 by Seth Casteel | Virtual Story Time
Using simple text and his hilarious, trademark portraits of dogs diving underwater, pet photographer Seth Casteel encourages young readers to count from one to ten.
2-5 years old
Maisey Learns To Swim by Lucy Cousins | Virtual Story Time
Maisy and her friends are going swimming for the first time. Eddie is a natural, but Maisy and Tallulah get into the pool slowly. Soon they are kicking and floating and even blowing bubbles with the rest. Whether water-shy or raring to go, young readers will relate to Maisy as she learns to make a splash.
Froggy Learns To Swim by Jonathan London | Virtual Story Time
Frogs are supposed to be great swimmers. “Not me!” says Froggy, who’s afraid of the water. But with a little encouragement, some practice, and the help of a silly song or two, Froggy becomes an expert frog-kicker!
The Sand Castle That Lola Built by Megan Maynor | Virtual Story Time
This is a retelling of the classic The House That Jack Built where Lola’s day at the beach leads to new friends and a giant sandcastle.
4-8 years old
No Swimming For Nelly by Valeri Gorbachev | Virtual Story Time (2nd book)
Nelly looks fabulous in her new swimsuit, so she wears it all the time–while riding her bike, playing basketball, eating at a fancy restaurant, and even while sleeping. But Nelly refuses to wear it for swimming. Grandma, a swimming champion, has other ideas. Nelly finally learns to float, blow bubbles, kick by dipping in one toe at a time.
The Magic School Bus Ups And Downs: A Book About Floating And Sinking by Joanna Cole | Virtual Story Time
Is there a monster living in Walkerville Lake? To find out, Ms. Frizzle transforms the Magic School Bus into the Magic Bus-Boat to take the class to the bottom of the lake.
Shark vs. Train by Chris Barton | Virtual Story Time (2nd book)
This is a hilarious and wacky picture book where Shark and Train compete in one competition after another. Who wins in a burping contest? What about bowling? There’s more, including Ping Pong, piano playing and pie eating. Who do you think will win–Shark or Train?
A Whale of a Tale!: All About Porpoises, Dolphins, and Whales by Bonnie Worth | Virtual Story Time (2nd book)
This Cat in the Hat Learning Library book features the Cat and Co. taking to the high seas in search of whales, dolphins, and porpoises—those aquatic mammals known as cetaceans. While learning how cetaceans stay warm without hair, have teeth or baleen, swim in troops, spyhop, spin, breach, and see via echolocation, kids are introduced to almost 20 different species.
Not Norman: A Goldfish Story by Kelly Bennett | Virtual Story Time (2nd book)
Norman the goldfish isn’t what this little boy had in mind. He wanted a different kind of pet. Definitely not Norman. When he tries to trade Norman for a “good pet,” things don’t go as he planned. Could it be that Norman is a better pet than he thought? With wry humor, this is a tale about finding the good in something you didn’t know you wanted.
Puppy Pool Party by Seth Casteel | Virtual Story Time (2nd book)
If your child loves silly underwater photos of dogs, they’ll love this book. Join dozens of pups as they paddle, dive, and cannonball the day away. This book is packed with never-before-seen photos of partying pooches, as well as old favorites, that prove just how much fun a day at the pool can be!
How To Catch A Mermaid by Adam Wallace | Virtual Story Time (2nd book)
Many claim to have caught a mermaid, but can you? This funny mermaid picture book is brimming with fun STEAM-based traps and offers an irresistible under-the-sea adventure that parents, educators, and children will love. This under-the-sea adventure is filled with plenty of laughs to go around.
Biscuit’s First Beach Day by Alyssa Satin Capucilli | Virtual Story Time
Biscuit is going on his first trip to the beach! He is excited about making sand castles, collecting seashells, and playing in the ocean. Join Biscuit for some fun in the sun
The Little Mermaid by Michael Teitelbaum | Virtual Story Time
Curious mermaid Ariel likes to explore sunken ships, swim up to the surface, and learn all she can about the world above the sea. What happens when this Disney Princess falls in love with a human? This Little Golden Book retells the Disney story of The Little Mermaid for children ages 3 to 7.
Fish is Fish by Leo Lionni | Virtual Story Time (2nd book)
This charming tale of sticking together and imagination shows how powerful friendship can be.
Two best friends, a minnow and a tadpole, are practically inseparable until the tadpole grows legs and decides to explore the world beyond the pond. When the tadpole, now a frog, returns to tell his friend of the extraordinary things he’s seen, the minnow turned fish tries to follow in his footsteps. Fish quickly finds that land is not what he expected. Friendship saves the day in this imaginative tale of a fish out of water.
There are more books and virtual storytimes on the Emler Swim School Facebook page. Once you get there and like the page, search for “story time” to hear more great books read by our staff. We hope you enjoy!
Curious about which swim lesson is the best for your child? Emler Swim School offers live virtual information sessions twice daily so you can get your questions answered in real-time by a real human. More information is available at https://emlerswimschool.com/more/