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Washed Ashore: Making Art from Ocean Plastic

Book Review

Do you remember searching for Waldo in the backseat on roadtrips? Or maybe, an I Spy book and a popsicle under the shade of a tree in the backyard? Seek and find books and the dog days of summer seem to go hand in hand and Washed Ashore: Making Art from Ocean Plastic is worth seeking out if you’re going to spend any time at the beach.

Photo Credit: Kelly Crull

What do I love about Washed Ashore? So much. It’s a celebration of artistic expression, a kid-centered discussion about a serious environmental issue and it’s engaging to readers with an invitation to learn, take action, create, and play.

Kelly Crull, the author and photographer of Washed Ashore, shares the work of Angela Haseltine Pozzi, an artist who creates enormous marine sculptures out of the plastic she collects from beaches near her home in Bandon, Oregon. What started as an individual practice, became a local movement and Pozzi founded the organization Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea back in 2010 to support the work. 12 years later, the exhibits are reaching audiences from around the world.

Photo Credit: Kelly Crull

In his text, Crull balances interesting marine animal facts with play and a call to action in Washed Ashore, leaving the reader feeling empowered instead of hopeless and (hopefully) bubbling with ideas. The seek and find element makes it likely the reader will return to its pages again and again, perfect for quiet times and emerging readers. At the end, the back matter is eye-opening even to adults who may themselves at one time have been enlisted as school-aged environmentalists and since regressed in the name of practicality.

For incorporating Ocean Literacy principles in the classroom or at home, this book hits at least 3 of the principles:

1. Principle 1B, The ocean is a single, huge, interconnected body of water that circulates through all the ocean basins and continents.

2. Principle 5, The ocean supports a great diversity of life and ecosystems. Principle 6D, Humans affect the ocean in a variety of ways.

3. Principle 6G, everyone is responsible for caring for the ocean.


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