A KID’S GUIDE TO THE OCEAN
"Can you imagine a world without fish? It's not as crazy as it sounds. But if we keep doing things the way we've been doing things, fish could become extinct within fifty years. So let's change the way we do things!"
World Without Fish is the uniquely illustrated narrative nonfiction account—for kids—of what is happening to the world’s oceans and what they can do about it. Written by Mark Kurlansky, author of Cod, Salt, The Big Oyster, and many other books, World Without Fish has been praised as “urgent” (Publishers Weekly) and “a wonderfully fast-paced and engaging primer on the key questions surrounding fish and the sea” (Paul Greenberg, author of Four Fish). It has also been included in the New York State Expeditionary Learning English Language Arts Curriculum.
Written by a master storyteller, World Without Fish connects all the dots—biology, economics, evolution, politics, climate, history, culture, food, and nutrition—in a way that kids can really understand. It describes how the fish we most commonly eat, including tuna, salmon, cod, swordfish—even anchovies— could disappear within fifty years, and the domino effect it would have: the oceans teeming with jellyfish and turning pinkish orange from algal blooms, the seabirds disappearing, then reptiles, then mammals. It describes the back-and-forth dynamic of fishermen, who are the original environmentalists, and scientists, who not that long ago considered fish an endless resource. It explains why fish farming is not the answer—and why sustainable fishing is, and how to help return the oceans to their natural ecological balance.
Interwoven with the book is a twelve-page graphic novel. Each beautifully illustrated chapter opener links to the next to form a larger fictional story that perfectly complements the text.
Kurlansky (The Cod's Tale) offers an urgent account of the problems that threaten the world's oceans and could result in the commercial extinction of key species of fish in the next 50 years. It's an alarming statement, underscored by the book's design: on most pages, key sentences (and sometimes not-so-key ones) appear in an enormous, all-caps font, the typographical equivalent of a fire alarm ("THIS IS CALLED A SUSTAINABLE FISHERY. THIS IS THE REAL ANSWER TO OVERFISHING"). Kurlansky opens by outlining the problem overfishing is resulting in "a massive shifting in the natural order of the planet" before discussing the cultural, political, and industrial factors that have led to current conditions. Sidebars profile various fish as well as key historical moments, and the narrative is further broken up by comic book panels that tell the earnest story of Kram, a fictional scientist, and his daughter, Ailat, who witness the very destruction Kurlansky describes, as species vanish and the oceans turn slimy and orange with the resurgence of algae and krill. It's a dire vision, and Kurlansky's few suggestions (support sustainable fishing, become an activist) may not be much comfort. Ages 10 up.