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Children's Nonfiction Marine Life

The Great Bear Sea

Exploring the Marine Life of a Pacific Paradise

photographs by Ian McAllister

by (author) Nicholas Read

Orca Book Publishers
Initial publish date
Sep 2013
Marine Life, Environmental Conservation & Protection, Curiosities & Wonders
Recommended Age
9 to 12
Recommended Grade
4 to 7
Recommended Reading age
9 to 12
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2013
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2013
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


This amazing part of the northeast Pacific Ocean is home to some of the planet's mightiest and most beloved residents: whales, sea lions, dolphins, orcas, sea otters and wild salmon.

Following up the success of their first two books about the Great Bear Rainforest, The Salmon Bears and The Sea Wolves, Ian McAllister and Nicholas Read take readers on an expedition into the wondrous and mysterious underwater world of the Great Bear Sea. Filled with spectacular images of this largely unknown part of the world, the book also explores the uncertain future of the Great Bear Sea in this age of climate change, overfishing, pipelines and oil tankers. Can a rainforest full of rare spirit bears, fishing wolves and great grizzlies survive without a Great Bear Sea to feed and nourish it?

About the authors


Ian McAllister is a co-founder of the wildlife conservation organization Pacific Wild. He is an award-winning photographer and author of The Great Bear Rainforest, and his images have appeared in publications around the world. He has been honoured by the Globe & Mail as one of 133 highly accomplished Canadians, and he and his wife, Karen McAllister, were named by Time magazine one of the ""Leaders of the 21st Century"" for their efforts to protect British Columbia's endangered rainforest. He is a member of the International League of Conservation Photographers and has won the North America Nature Photography Association's Vision Award and the Rainforest Action Network's Rainforest Hero award. He lives with his family on an island in the heart of The Great Bear Rainforest.


Ian McAllister's profile page

Nicholas Read is a journalism instructor at Langara College in Vancouver, British Columbia. He collaborated with Ian McAllister on several books, including Wolf Island, A Bear's Life, The Seal Garden and The Great Bear Sea and wrote City Critters, about urban wildlife. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Nicholas Read's profile page


  • Short-listed, The Nature Generation Green Earth Book Award
  • Short-listed, BC and Yukon Book Prizes - Christie Harris Illustrated Children's Literature Prize
  • Short-listed, Young Readers' Choice Book Awards of British Columbia (YRCABC) Red Cedar Book Awards
  • Long-listed, Vancouver Children’s Literature Roundtable Information Book Award
  • Commended, CCBC Best Books
  • Commended, Resource Links, The Year's Best Books
  • Commended, VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates) Magazine - Perfect Tens

Editorial Reviews

"The ecological emphasis is timely and worthwhile."

School Library Journal

"As much an invitation to readers to visit this unspoiled area as a description of its wonders, this is a commendable complement to The Sea Wolves and The Salmon Bears."

Kirkus Reviews

"As in the two previous books, the setting is so beautifully presented and described. Because it feels like a conversation, readers will be totally engaged in all that the authors have to share; and share they do. Informative sidebars, dubbed Maritime Morsels, well-written captions for gorgeous, telling photographs kept me reading chapter after chapter...We know that our kids need to spend more time outside, learning to love nature and its many pleasures. It keeps them healthier and more connected to the importance of the greater world itself. It establishes a concern for the natural world, and its inhabitants. If we are going to change what is happening, we need to be informed and sympathetic to some of the concerns expressed so eloquently in this wonderful series of books. They show us that there is hope; it's up to everyone to help preserve our future."

Sal's Fiction Addiction

"Shots of breaching whales, dolphins and orcas are spectacular, but it’s the images of a bear eating herring eggs on a rocky shoreline, wolves fishing for salmon and the surprising red, purples and oranges of the intertidal zone that make this book special."

Finding Solutions newsletter

★ “Solid non-fiction: organized, clear, and reliable. What sets The Great Bear Sea apart from other books of its ilk, however, is the bumptious energy of its writing. Its spirit is that of two little boys, roaring around the seashore and calling to each other to see the latest cool thing. A chatty, avuncular style and gift for accessible metaphors...sometimes explode into sheer joy...The enthusiasm is contagious. Also distinctive is the book’s design. Unobtrusive text layout and a restrained use of sidebars make room for stunning photographs...This is a book to read all the way through, to appreciate the big, amazing picture and serious message."

Quill & Quire, starred review

"Well written and organized, divided into short by rich chapters describing an aspect of the ecology through various themes pertaining to marine, aquatic, and terrestrial life…Captivating imagery supplied by Ian McAllister's world-famous photography and straightforward explanations that reach a broad audience…Excellent educational material for school children…Books like The Salmon Bear and The Great Bear Sea play a crucial role in educating us all—youth and adult—about the importance of stewardship and empathy."

BC Studies

"A beautiful book, complete with gorgeous photos, a bibliography, website information and an excellent index...I highly recommend it for addition to middle school and high school libraries."

Southwestern Ohio Young Adult Materials Review Group

"A colourful mix of informational text and contextual photography...Loaded with sidebars and fun facts...The book advocates thoughtfully for conservation and environmental protection...An important book [that] should be widely read...Makes an articulate plea on behalf of the creatures—including humans—who live in this exquisite, ecologically sensitive region."

Resource Links

"There’s an incredibly strong sense of place in the images and sensory detail in this presentation. As in the earlier books, the style of writing makes this book a most engaging read. It’s highly appealing conversational tone is both entertaining and informative...The book does a superb job of underlining the interconnectedness of life in the entire Great Bear Rainforest ecosystem—including the sea—and leaves readers with a certainty that this unique and spectacular place deserves our interest, our respect and our efforts to keep it intact. Highly Recommended."

CM Magazine

"Generous quantities of excellent nature photos include engaging close-ups of otter and seal faces, dramatic shots of humpback whales and other finny mammals breaching, and particularly dazzling close-ups of sea stars and other residents of intertidal zones. Along with plenty of eye candy, though, the whole notion that a rainforest ecosystem doesn’t stop at the shoreline makes this particularly valuable for students of ecology and environmental conservation. A handsome, well-designed introduction."


Other titles by Ian McAllister

Other titles by Nicholas Read

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