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An Ocean of Stories - An Anthology of Children’s Ocean Stories Launched Ahead of World Oceans Day

6th June 2021
Explorers Education officer Carmel Madigan
Explorers Education officer Carmel Madigan

The Marine Institute’s Explorers Education Programme has launched a new book, An Ocean of Stories - An Anthology of Children’s Ocean Stories, leading up to World Oceans Day this Tuesday 8 June.

The book, published by Explorers Education officer Carmel Madigan of the Loophead Summer Hedge School, includes over 50 stories, artworks and poems by children from counties Clare and Limerick who were inspired by ocean experiences — and highlights the major role the ocean has in our everyday lives.

Patricia Orme, joint acting CEO of the Marine Institute, congratulated Madigan and the Explorers team on the launch of the book.

“Carmel always puts the children first and this book has helped children find a positive place in a time that has been challenging for many in primary schools over the past year,” she said.

‘Each of the children's stories are engaging, capture the imagination and highlight the importance of our interconnection with the sea’

“While we celebrate World Oceans Day – The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods, this book reminds us of our childhood experiences and our love for and relationship with the sea.

“Reading the stories of children jumping off piers and their stories of the adventures of rock-pooling reminds us of how fortunate we are to live on an island surrounded by the ocean, where we can enjoy amazing beaches and coastline.

“Each of the children's stories are engaging, capture the imagination and highlight the importance of our interconnection with the sea. I am sure many will treasure this wonderful book in years to come.”

Madigan ran the Explorers project with 14 classes over the last school term, to engage teachers and children in the idea of documenting their experiences and memories of the seashore and the ocean.

‘The stories are the children’s own, their lived experiences intertwined with creative thinking’

With the production of an Explorers Personal Story Writing Guidebook and a series of short videos, as well as video chat sessions, the children were guided through the process of capturing their own stories about the ocean, through a series of creative writing exercises.

“I am delighted that I was able to bring something to the classroom that was fresh and new to the children with this project,” Madigan said. “Working with the teachers, and the Explorers team, we created a positive experience for the children promoting a sense of wellness and well-being.

“The stories are the children’s own, their lived experiences intertwined with creative thinking. Some are pure fact and some are pure fiction – all were a joy to read! The children should be very proud of their contributions. They are truly beautiful, engaging and thoughtful, making for wonderful insightful reading, whatever your age.”

Over 300 stories were produced by the children, highlighting the importance of including marine themes on the curriculum.

 Some of the children whose work is featured in An Ocean of StoriesSome of the children whose work is featured in An Ocean of Stories

“The stories and poems produced by the children conjure up many memories of sand in the sandwiches, being tumbled by waves, to having a big ice cream on the way home!” said Cushla Dromgool-Regan of the Camden Education Trust and Explorers strategic education manager.

“I am sure that for many who read this book, they will also turn the pages smiling with similar recollections of their own seashore and ocean experiences.

"Carmel has delivered a number of valuable projects with children over the years and her experience as an artist, author and ocean enthusiast is reflected in her work for the Explorers Education Programme. I sincerely hope that this book inspires those that read it.

“As one of the stories written about a sailor's adventure traveling across the seas says: the ocean may separate us physically around the world, but it provides us the opportunity to bring humanity together! Well done to all!”

Published in Book Review
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