Mindy Hardwick's Blog

Author Mindy Hardwick Muses about Writing

A Reading List for a Marine Biology Character

on January 7, 2019

I’ve been working on a new middle grade novel where my main character wants to be a marine biologist. I spent last spring and summer volunteering as a volunteer environmental interpreter in the Haystack Rock Awareness Program in Cannon Beach and the idea sprung from my volunteer work.

You can learn a little bit about Haystack Rock and the sea animals who call it home here.

As a part of building my story, I usually have to immerse myself in the world of my character. In this case, I’ve had to do a lot of reading about sea life in order to really feel like I know my eleven-year old main character.

The following are some of the books I’ve been reading:

Rachel Carsen’s trilogy about the sea including: The Edge of the Sea, The Sea Around Us and The Sea Wind.

I love her question: One Way To Open Your Eyes Is To Ask Yourself, What if I Had Never Seen This Before? What if I Knew I Would Never See It Again?

Jonathan White, The Tides: The Science and Spirit of the Ocean. I heard him speak this past summer as a talk sponsored by the Haystack Rock Awareness Program and was fascinated by his understanding of the sea both as a surfer and sailor.

The Soul of an Octopus: The Surprising Exploration into the World of Consciousness by Sy Montgomery. This is an interesting book about octopus. One of the things I didn’t know was the Seattle Aquarium is one of the best known for their octopus exhibits and because when the octopus die, they can be released back into the waters of Puget Sound easily because of their location. If you didn’t know, Octopus have a very short life span!

The Wave by Susan Casey. This is a fascinating book about rogue waves in our oceans and how mariners and surfers navigate them and seek them out. If you surf, or know of a surfer, this is a great one to hand them as it profiles some of the world’s best known rogue wave surfers.

Between Pacific Tides by Ed Rickets and Jack Calvin is the go-to book for information on the intertidal zone in the Pacific Ocean.

The BeachComber’s Guide To Seashore Life by J. Duane Sept. This is one that is out of print and snagging a reasonably priced used copy on Amazon takes a little bit of persistence, but it’s highly worth it–especially for children who are interested in sea life as it provides a resource guide for all creatures in the Pacific NW waters!

Citizen Scientist: Searching for Heroes and Hope in an Age of Extinction by Mary Ellen Hannibal. This is a great book about citizen science where average citizens including educators, children, teens and retired folks get involved in collecting data. Find out more here.

There are a few more in my to-read pile, but this has given me enough material to feel as if I know my character and can tell her story!



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