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A Journey Under the Sea

As we neared the end of our units on both nonfiction reading and informational writing, I came across A Journey Under the Sea at my local bookstore. While at first browse I was captivated by the beautiful photographs, it was the vivid storytelling that convinced me this was a book I had to share with my students.

The book’s title is accurate. Created by Craig Foster and Ross Frylinck, the same people responsible for the hit Netflix documentary My Octopus Teacher, readers are introduced to a wide range of sea creatures as the narrator takes them on an ocean tour. “Dive deep into the clear, cold water and you will find yourself in a forest of liquid light,” one of the first pages reads. “You can relax and explore- the sea holds you safe in a salty embrace.” Instantly, readers were hooked. The oohs and aahs continued with every page, as we seemingly swam through the depths of the ocean with our tour guide.

As readers, students shared that they loved the chronological structure of the text as we progressed through our journey. They also noticed that sometimes the narrator would ask questions to hook us in, and then immediately answer them with a surprising fact. Of course, they were drawn to the pictures of creatures both popular and unusual.

After reading, however, we swapped lenses- what does the writer do that I can try as a writer of nonfiction myself? I tasked students with thinking of a place they know as well as these authors know the Great African Seaforest. Then, I sent them off to write their very own tour of that special place. The topics ranged from whole houses to bedrooms, libraries to hideouts. Students were able to take copies of pages from the book to specifically try to emulate the the author’s craft moves.

What I loved most about this activity was seeing the range of student voices. While some wanted to emulate the mystical tone of the book, others kept true to their own authentic voice as they worked to include specific details of what their visitor might see. Check out a couple examples below!

Go visit one of the most popular things to have in your house.
Your fridge.
Cold. Fresh. Still.
Every time I get hungry I hear my fridge call to me”Come closer. Eat up all my food. Please.”


When you come in you’re like, where am I? And I’m like you’re in my house. First you will see my TV. There is my dad watching something and my brother annoying him to turn off what he is watching and turn on something for him on Netflix or Disney Plus. Suddenly, my mom appears…


Where might your writers journey through?

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