SDG14: Life Below Water

Can you imagine a world without oceans to swim in and explore? Oceans are home to seahorses, dolphins, whales, corals, and many other living creatures. Oceans are our planet’s life support as they provide water, food and help regulate the weather. Oceans also provide jobs for more than 3 billion people who depend on marine biodiversity for their livelihood. If we do not stop polluting our oceans, there will be severe problems that affect every person and living creature on the planet.

Pollution poses the greatest threat to our planet and the lives of future generations! Do you ever ask yourself where all the plastic bottles and bags go after you use them? Every year an estimated 5 to 12 million metric tons of plastic enter the ocean. Carbon emissions produced by human activities, like driving cars, are causing the oceans to warm and increase the acid level in the water. This is extremely bad for animals and organisms that live in the sea, as the acid can break the organisms’ shells and damage coral reefs.

All of us need to help to protect our seas. You can suggest to your parents not to use plastic bottles at home, but use a filter instead, if your tap water allows. Next time you go to the beach, bring a reusable bag to collect garbage, so it does not enter the water.

Our new reading list for SDG14: Life Below Water explains the importance of the ocean and the resources it provides to all of us, teaching you what you can do to keep our seas clean. The books will take you on underwater journeys and introduce you to many unique sea creatures while helping to understand what problems affect ocean’s health.

On the importance of reading

Reading list

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The Big Book of the Blue

The Big Book of the Blue explores the underwater world through several themes such as looking at animals in danger, learning how to spot creatures at the beach, and discovering how to do our part to save sea life. Filled with fascinating facts, this book’svivid illustrations bring to life some of the most interesting underwater animals.

Author and Illustrator: Yuval Zommer | ISBN: 9780500651193 | Publisher: Thames & Hudson

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Heads and Tails: Underwater

This book encourages children’s imagination and curiosity, as the illustrations let them guess what creatures live in the world’s waters. It’s a great conversation starter about how pollution endangers these animals and what each child can do to help protect life under water and keep our oceans, lakes, and rivers clean.

Author and Illustrator: John Canty | ISBN: 9781536214604 | Publisher: Candlewick

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Water: A Deep Dive of Discovery

This comprehensive yet accessible exploration of water will help young readers understand many aspects of one of our planet’s most precious resources – and how they can protect it. A friendly water droplet character guides children through topics ranging from melting and freezing to the ways in which water literally shapes the Earth.

Author: Christy Mihaly | Illustrator: Mariona Cabassa | ISBN: 9781646862801 | Publisher: Barefoot Books

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Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist

A story about Eugenie Clark who fell in love with sharks from the first moment she saw them at the aquarium and couldn’t imagine anything more exciting than studying these graceful creatures. Through her accomplishments, she taught the world that sharks were to be admired rather than feared and that women can do anything they set their minds to.

Author: Jess Keating | Illustrator: Marta Álvarez Miguéns | ISBN: 9781492642046 | Publisher: Sourcebooks Explore

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If You Want to Visit a Sea Garden

Sea gardens have been created by First Peoples on the Northwest Coast of North America for more than three thousand years. These gardens consist of stone reefs that are constructed at the lowest tide line, encouraging the growth of clams and other marine life on the gently sloped beach. This story follows a young child and an older family member who set out to visit a sea garden early one morning, as the lowest tides often occur at dawn.

Author: Kay Weisman | Illustrator: Roy Henry Vickers | ISBN: 9781554989706 | Publisher: Groundwood Books

Reading is a great way to better understand what people from across the globe struggle with in their everyday lives, and it helps us reflect on our own situation. But reading is just the first step: now it’s time to share your book club experiences and how you plan to take action. Each month, we will feature a couple of book clubs on our blog, so get ready to share your story through social media, by using #SDGBookClub and tagging @UNPublications.

Resources

We know it can be difficult to stay at home to protect ourselves and our loved ones from COVID-19. This is why we created a new guide on how to organize your own SDG Book Club online to connect with your friends and family while sharing the joy of reading. We look forward to hearing about your experience on social media using #SDGBookClub.

How to organize your own SDG Book Club ONLINE

Help us spread the word by downloading our promotional materials. You will find a horizontal banner, bookmark, placard and easy-to-print sign-up sheet for your friends, family and community to join the SDG Book Club!

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Frequently Asked Questions

The SDG Book Club aims to use books as a tool to encourage children ages 6-12 to interact with the principles of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through a curated reading list ofbooks from around the world related to each of the 17 SDGs in all six official UN languages—Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish.

A selection committee works together to make the final selection for each of the 17 SDGs, in all six official UN languages —Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish. The selection committee consists of members from the United Nations, International Publishers Association (IPA), the International Federation of Librarian Associations (IFLA), European and International Booksellers Federation (EIBA), International Authors Forum (IAF), and International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY).

Fiction, non-fiction, and other genres that our panel thinks will help educate children about SDGs will be considered.

The reading list is meant for children ages 6-12. However, we encourage parents, educators, and everyone who is interested to read the selected books and help children understand the importance of the SDGs.

The reading list will be published during the first week of every month for 17 months, starting with Goal 1: No Poverty in April 2019 and culminating with Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals in September 2020 for the 5th anniversary of the SDGs.

Yes. Sign up on our homepage to get a monthly email on news and updates. Your privacy is important to us so we would never share your information with third parties or spam your inbox.

No. We do not intend to sell or promote the sale of the books featured in the reading list. If you chose to, you can buy the books online, wherever books are sold, or get a copy at your local bookstore or library.

You can post your thoughts and images on social media using the hashtag #SDGBookClub. Please tag/follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Yes, there are book club meetings taking place all over the world. Check back for a link to the list! (Coming soon)

People can host book club meetings around the world and share their photos via #SDGBookClub. If you would like to organize a public book club meeting, we recommend contacting your local book store, library or school and set it up with them. Please share the planned event on social media using #SDGBookClub and we will add it to the list of events.

You can post feedback on our Facebook page or write an email to: publications@un.org.

We sincerely appreciate your interest. However, we are not currently accepting recommendations.

There are actions that you can take beyond just reading the books.

A/ Help your kids to create a poster with a photo or drawing and interesting facts about their favourite character(s) of the book.

B/ Design a reading scavenger hunt for kids using drawings and pictures instead of questions and help them search for things mentioned in the book.

C/ Help your kids write a letter to the local government representative and tell them what you learned in the book and ask them what action(s) they are taking toward a specific Goal.

D/ Organize a parent-child facilitated book discussion for younger kids. Invite your child’s friends and their parents to discuss a book from the reading list at your local library or children’s book store.

E/ Spread the word on social media, using the hashtag #SDGBookClub. We’d love to feature your pictures/videos on our social media.

You can find plenty of Student Resources here. You will find other books aimed at children, as well as the SDG board game. The game aims to help teach children around the world about the Sustainable Development Goals in a child-friendly and straightforward way.

Read to a Child campaign: A global campaign on reading to children to encourage literacy and global citizenship, incorporating the priorities youth and quality education. It is planned to take place in September 2020. More information to come. Please sign up to stay informed.

Organizers

The International Publishers Association (IPA) is a federation of publishing associations from around the world. The main mandate of the IPA is to promote and defend copyright, support the freedom to publish, promote literacy and reading. IPA is an accredited NGO in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the UN. IPA supports the SDGs and works particularly closely with WIPO and UNESCO.

The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) is the leading international body representing the interests of library and information services and their users. It is the global voice of the library and information profession. Founded in 1927 in Edinburgh, Scotland at an international conference, we celebrated our 90th birthday in 2017. We now have more than 1,300 Members in nearly 150 countries around the world. IFLA was registered in the Netherlands in 1971.

The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) is a non-profit organization that represents an international network of people from all over the  world who are committed to bringing books and children together. Today IBBY comprises 79 National Sections worldwide.

The European & International Booksellers Federation (EIBF) represents national booksellers associations in the European Union and beyond. EIBF Members in turn have in membership booksellers of all kinds: brick and mortar bookshops, online bookshops, independents, chains.

The Bologna Children’s Book Fair (BCBF) is the most important international trade fair of the children’s publishing industry. With over 50 years of experience, BCBF has succeeded in bringing together a unique and diverse global audience: the result is the world’s premium copyright business hub when it comes to publishing with an extra core that extends to all multi-media content for children.

SDG Book Club Chapters Around the World

Our SDG Book Club is expanding and we are excited to see SDG reading lists for children from around the world. In addition to the SDG Book Club in the UN’s six official languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish) there are now chapters in other languages. Visit the SDG Book Club Chapters listed below.

Africa
Brazil
Indonesia
Norway
Portugal