Bay Books for Kids

Great gifts for the young readers in your life

Ask any book lover and they’ll tell you that books make the best holiday gifts. Here’s a list of Chesapeake Bay books for children and the adults who read to them. 

Hank and Pearl 

By Jodie Knox, Illustrated by Agus Prajogo

The author’s life on a houseboat with her companion Hank is the inspiration for the story of Hank and Pearl. Pearl the cat is looking for a friend and co-captain, but all of the waterfront friends she asks already have homes. When Pearl decides to visit a shelter, her luck, and that of Hank the dog changes. Hank learns the way of boating life, they both find a friend, and Hank the shelter dog has finally found his home sweet home. Washington, D.C. area residents and visitors will love the beautiful illustrations of the Southwest D.C. skyline, sunrise and sunset over the Potomac River, and the hustle and bustle of the Wharf. And for anyone who’s ever chosen a rescue as their four-legged companion, this story will have special significance.
Available at

Chessie The Sea Monster that Ate Annapolis!

By Jeffrey Holland, Illustrated by Marcy Dunn Ramsey

Instead of a serpentine sea monster hiding in the depths of the Chesapeake Bay, the Chessie of this story is another Bay area icon altogether. Instead, the “monster” turns out to be a giant, loveable Chesapeake Bay Retriever, “as big as Moby Dick’s daughter,” discovered and brought home from the Bay by waterman Captain Dan. But as adorable as she is, this big girl wreaks unintentional havoc wherever she goes. And just when she’s exiled to Eastport, Chessie saves the day for the oyster fleet. This rhyming Bay tale with a twist on a legend is a fun read for children and adults alike. Jeff Holland, CBM’s editor, was inspired by his own legendary retriever, Ruffian.
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Jordan the Jellyfish

By Cindy Freeland, Illustrated by Jon C. Munson II

In this story of a day gone wrong, Jordan the Jellyfish accidentally stings a girl swimming near Sandy Point then gets lost on her way home to Mayo Beach. Along the way, the curious and caring sea creature encounters adventure and danger, makes friends with Bay inhabitants above and below the water, is rescued by an osprey, saves Curtis the Blue Crab from a pot, and finally finds her way home. Jordan’s story educates parents and children about the Bay, its inhabitants, and how to care for the body of water Freeland describes as our national treasure.
Available at
$12 paperback / $18 hardback

Waterman’s Child

By Barbara Mitchell, Illustrated by Daniel San Souci

Marie is a third generation Tilghman Island woman who chose to “marry a waterman at St. John’s on the Bay.” Marie takes readers through the era of prosperity when the Bay was full of oysters and boats, to the scarcity of the Depression and wartime years, to the return to good days of life on Tilghman. Accompanied by nearly full-page illustrations, the story is a written and visual celebration of community, perseverance, and an enduring way of life. Although “Waterman’s Child” is considered a children’s book it would be a valued addition to the bookshelf of anyone who loves the history of this unique island in the Chesapeake.
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Awesome Chesapeake – A Kid’s Guide to the Bay

By David Owen Bell, Illustrated by Marcy Dunn Ramsey

This book is an easy-to-read but informative introduction to the Chesapeake Bay—its beginnings, the people who settled along its shores, the abundance of plant and animal life, and ways everyone can help protect the Bay watershed. For children fascinated by the area’s land and sea dwellers, each page is filled with illustrations—from the great blue heron and horseshoe crabs to muskrats, terrapins, and ducks. “Awesome Chesapeake,” geared to elementary and middle school students, is a perfect gift for budding Bay scientists.
Available at

Chesapeake ABC and 123

By Priscilla Cummings, Illustrated by David Aiken

“Chesapeake Bay ABC” and its companion 1-2-3 are Bay-inspired introductions to letters and numbers. Colorful illustrations fill each page, not only with letters and numbers but with the wildlife, water creatures, plant life, landmarks, and scenery iconic to life on the Chesapeake Bay. Little ones will love the rhythm and rhyme of the words read out loud. 
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Niambi Davis was raised on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and takes every opportunity to share her love of the Land of Pleasant Living through words and pictures.