With a Little Kelp from Our Friends (Mathew Bate, illus by Liz Rowland, Thames & Hudson)
From the evolution of this fascinating stuff to its modern usage as food, fuel and building material, in With a Little Kelp from Our Friends Mathew Bate tells you everything you’ve ever wanted to know about seaweed. Liz Rowland’s soft, playful illustrations frame every page with textured greens and reds, from slimy to fleshy to fuzzy and every other seaweedy texture between. The book is also a gentle exploration of some of the science behind our changing climate, including the acidification of the ocean and the impact of excess carbon in Earth’s atmosphere. As well as explaining the detrimental impact of humans on underwater ecosystems, With a Little Kelp shows the ways in which seaweed can help heal the environment, making this book a great choice for kids who feel anxious about the climate crisis. There’s also an interactive element here: the end section of the book features activities using seaweed for readers to try out, including foraging tips, a recipe for seaweed soup and more. As well as this, there’s a glossary of the terms used throughout and a guide to the seaweeds portrayed in Rowland’s illustrations. The large format of With a Little Kelp makes this informative book a perfect read-aloud for children of all ages (and their adults).
Ellen Cregan is a bookseller and writer from Melbourne. Her writing has appeared in publications such as Kill Your Darlings, Swampland and Voiceworks.