Far from Shore: Chronicles of an Open Ocean Voyage

Webb, Sophie.  Far from Shore: Chronicles of an Open Ocean Voyage.  2011. 80pp. Lexile: 1030.

Sophie Webb combines the skill of an artist with the curiosity of a scientist in this journal about four months on a scientific ship in the Pacific Ocean.  Webb’s role in the trip was to count birds, although most of her fellow voyagers were focusing on dolphins.  On every page, Webb’s ink-and-watercolor illustrations, including diagrams and charts, convey a great deal of information about birds and sea animals, ocean ecology, and life on a scientific vessel.  One illustration labels equipment on the ship while maps lay out the voyage. The journal format, which records daily routines and scientific activities, will be accessible even for less advanced readers, who will also glean a lot from the visuals.  The book’s environmental message emerges naturally from journal entries on concerns about the future of the ocean and its inhabitants.

Reading Std #2: Determine central ideas or themes and analyze their development; summarize key supporting details and ideas.  Have students look carefully at the text, supplemented by the pictures, and analyze their development over this chronological account.  Besides the scientific ideas put forth, have the students consider the social aspects of a four-month voyage with 36 other people and very few times on shore.