I love finding nonfiction picture book biographies about people I’ve never heard of before and Secrets of the Sea: The Story of Jeanne Power, Revolutionary Marine Scientist by Evan Griffith and illustrated by Joanie Stone is a perfect example.
The story reveals the life of a remarkable woman.
Jeanne Power was born in France, but moved to Sicily with her husband in 1818 when she was 23. Formerly a busy seamstress, she was likely not used to staying at home. To pass the time, she began to study the animals and plants of her new surroundings. The ocean intrigued her the most, but how could she observe what was going on in the water? Build one of the first glass-sided aquariums of course!
During her studies, Jeanne Power concentrated on the paper nautilus, which is a type of octopus. At the time, no one was sure whether the nautilus borrowed the delicate shells they carried from other creatures or whether they grew them. Jeanne Power figured out the answer. It wasn’t always smooth sailing, but she was able to publish her findings.
Matching the compelling story, Joanie Stone’s beautiful digital illustrations, from the bubbling water of the end papers to last pages of the text, reflect the vibrant blue palette of the ocean Jeanne Power loved so much. Gorgeous!
The back matter is extensive, including notes about “Jeanne’s Life and Legacy,” “The Paper Nautilus,” information about “Marine Biology and Conservation,” a “Note on Historical Research,” and a “Bibliography.”
Secrets of the Sea would be a great choice for a science unit on oceans or for Women’s History Month. Explore a copy today!
Related Activity Suggestions
See more information about the paper nautilus in this video (preview for appropriateness before showing to children).
For budding marine scientists, Monterey Bay Aquarium has a wide selection of lessons for learning at home.
For more children’s books about female scientists, check our growing list at Science Books for Kids.
Reading age : 6 – 9 years
Publisher : Clarion Books (March 9, 2021)
ISBN-10 : 0358244323
ISBN-13 : 978-0358244325
Disclosure: The book was provided by our local library. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.
Looking for more children’s nonfiction books? Try the Nonfiction Monday blog.