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The Brilliant Deep

The Brilliant Deep Rebuilding the World's Coral Reefs

Published: 8 May 2018

Hardback, 48 pages

Recommended for age 5+ and 7+

By Kate Messner

Illustrated by Matthew Forsythe

Published by Chronicle Books

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All it takes is one: one coral gamete to start a colony, one person to make a difference, one idea to change the world.

Reviewed by Jon Biddle

The Brilliant Deep is highly recommended or fans of picturebook biographies. It’s a beautifully presented book, telling the story of Ken Nedimyer, a diver and fish collector who has spent over twenty years working tirelessly to restore endangered coral reefs off the coast of the USA. Alongside his daughter and a small team of volunteers, and using nothing more sophisticated than chipping hammers and glue, he has attached tens of thousands of coral colonies to bare rocks around the Florida Keys, resurrecting hundreds of dying reefs.

Not being previously aware of Ken’s efforts, I found this to be a truly inspirational story. The simple, colourful illustrations accompany the text perfectly, giving extra meaning to some of the more ambiguous phrases. In addition to the main story, the book also provides a brief explanation of why coral reefs across the world are being destroyed and how children can become involved in helping to save them. The message that resonates through the book is about the positive difference that just one dedicated and passionate person can have on the planet. The final few pages inject a real feeling of optimism for the future of the world’s coral reefs as long as action is taken immediately.

The Brilliant Deep would work well as an introduction to a class topic on conservation or the oceans, as well as providing numerous opportunities for discussions about responsibility, teamwork and the importance of leading by example. It is suitable for children across Key Stage Two. For comparison with another, you could look at Manfish : A Story of Jacques Cousteau.

Visit our bookshop for more books about animal habitats or oceans such as The Tale of the Whale  or Above and Below .

Jon Biddle has been in a teacher in Newham and Norfolk for the past twenty years. He is the coordinator of the national Patron of Reading initiative and contributes regularly to the Open University Reading for Pleasure website. Jon is the 2018 winner of the national 'Egmont Reading for Pleasure Experienced Teacher of the Year' award and is a member of the UKLA National Council.