Ocean’s 6: Six adventure stories to take you across the seas to faraway lands

Imagine you are sitting by the sea, your feet dangling in the water as you look into the distance. The longer you look, the more details you start to notice. Waves lap the shore, a seagull cries, a fish jumps out of the water. There are fishermen in a boat, and some ships on the horizon. You wonder how far that horizon really is, and as you look below the surface you see that there’s another world to explore under the water. How many famous adventurers and explorers have felt this urge to know what lay across the sea and beyond its surface?

June 8th is World Oceans Day, a worldwide awareness-raising and action project organized by The Ocean Project. You can learn more about the organizer and the event if you click on the links below:

We invite you on some literary ocean trips on this day, and encourage you to introduce the idea of protecting our oceans also in the English class. Why is it such an important issue? Pollution, and especially plastic pollution does not only pose a threat to human health, but also to marine life, and it also affects the environment far from the oceans. Plastic pollution may travel up the food chain and get into your food as well. You can learn more about this in the downloadable information pack which can be found on the World Oceans Day website.

An important and effective way to introduce the topic of oceans is through establishing a connection between our own lives and the aquatic world. We may not live by the ocean, and we may not be able to travel there often, but we still need to understand that we are connected to these bodies of water. Experiencing the world of oceans is one way of making connections with them and making them part of our own memories.

Six adventure stories

Stories for teens

In our childhood and teen years we often imagine going on long adventures across the sea. This is why stories like Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe and Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson hold a timeless appeal and lend themselves to great adaptations. Other stories about explorers and legendary figures have also become part of our experiences of the sea.

These stories have become the most vivid memories of the ocean adventures for many of us. As they are available in graded reader editions in our Helbling Young Readers and Helbling Readers Fiction series, you can introduce them in your English classes. They all come with Before Reading and After Reading activities and projects, fascinating artistic illustrations and discussion boxes to assist reading and give the reader the chance to reflect on what they are reading. On e-zone, our educational platform you will also find online activities to give further help with language practice built on the stories.

Stories for Young Readers

In the Helbling Young Readers series we recommend three stories which take you to the oceans. In the story Lola in the Land of Fire written by Rick Sampedro, we learn about the Selk’nam and Yamana tribes, Ferdinand Magellan and how the name of the Tierra del Fuego, ‘the land of Fire’ was born. In Peach Boy, the classic Japanese folk tale retold by Richard Northcott, we go across the sea with Peach Boy (Momotaro in Japanese) to fight the ogres. In Lost on the Coastwritten by Rick and Steve Sampedro, we learn about Rawiri, who helps a baby whale which has been stranded on the shore after an oil spill.

Here is some information about the six readers.

  • Robinson Crusoe, written by Daniel Defoe, illustrated by Arianna Vairo, adapted by Jennifer Gasicogne
    • Helbling Readers Level 2, CEF A1/A2

    Gulliver’s Travelswritten by Jonathan Swift, illustrated by Michele Rocchetti, adapted by Beverley Young

    • Helbling Readers Level 3, CEF A2
  • Treasure Islandwritten by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Giuseppe Palumbo, adapted by David A. Hill
    • Helbling Readers Level 3, CEF A2
  • Peach Boy, retold by Richard Northcott, illustrated by Elly Nagaoka
    • Helbling Young Readers Level c, Cambridge Young Learners English Starters
  • Lola in the Land of Firewritten by Rick Sampedro, illustrated by Catia Girolametti
    • Helbling Young Readers Level e, Cambridge Young Learners English Movers
  • Lost on the Coast, written by Rick and Steve Sampedro, illustrated by Cristiano Lissoni
    • Helbling Young Readers Level e, Cambridge Young Learners English Movers

Four reading projects

If you would like to explore the world of these strories and their authors, we can also offer you great resources built around them on this blog.

Do you know any other stories about the oceans which you loved as a child or teen? Are there any stories in your culture which talk about the seas? Share them with us in the comments below.

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