On the Reef: a book that'll make your kid care about protecting wildlife

How far would your kid go to save an animal? Judith and Shandley McMurray's new book, On the Reef, sets a great example.

Photo: Firefly Books Photo courtesy of Firefly Books

Sometimes all it takes for a kid to want to learn more about the environment is a simple story. On the Reef, a new book written by Judith and Shandley McMurray and illustrated by Robert Bateman and The Tobin Island Artists, sets out to teach kids about endangered parts of the marine ecosystem from the perspective of two young kids.

When 10-year-old Pierce and 12-year-old Marley find out their family has won a vacation to the Bahamas, the last thing they expect is to learn an important life lesson there.

When the family arrives in Nassau the kids are immediately impressed by the clear, blue water, palm trees and exotic birds that surround them. The following morning, Dwight, a local, takes them snorkelling.

Photo courtesy of Firefly Books Photo courtesy of Firefly Books

Pierce and Marley see teeny-tiny fish swimming through the coral, but they're careful not to touch the coral themselves or else they'll kill it. Pierce learned all about coral at school last month, how it's alive, how it serves as a living plant hotel for sea creatures and how they're dying all over the world due to human pollution. Eventually, Pierce and Marley come across a leatherback turtle whose head is trapped in a plastic bag. They quickly seek the help of Dwight's cousin, Owen, who frees the turtle from its constraint and notifies the Marine Animal Rescue Centre.

Photo courtesy of Firefly Books Photo courtesy of Firefly Books


If it wasn't for Pierce and Marley noticing something was wrong with the turtle (whom they lovingly name Teagan), it would have been too late to save it.

Protecting wildlife—especially endangered species—needs to play an important role in the lives of future generations. Parents can use picture books like On the Reef as a means of explaining complicated environmental issues to kids. Because if the next generation doesn't care about our planet before it's too late, who will?

On the Reef is available for purchase on

Read more: Kids and activism: How far should you let them go? Totally amazing: This book describes Asperger’s like having superpowers Life Without Nico: a book for when your kid’s bestie moves away

This article was originally published on Sep 21, 2016

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