Have fun exploring!

Links with an apple have an activity or lesson plan for educators.

Here you'll find:

  • Some Favorite Video and Audio Clips

  • Seals and Other Marine Mammals

  • Puffins and Other Ocean Birds

  • The Ocean and Life in the Sea

  • Tides and Currents

  • Ocean Health

  • "The Great Selkie of Sule Skerry"

  • Myth and Folklore

Some Favorite Video and Audio Clips

A seal researcher at work in Puget Sound. This is what Aran's world looks like.


A kelp forest. This awesome video from NOAA's Ocean Today even has a seal.

Listen to a puffin grunt!

My favorite recording of "The Great Silkie of Sule Skerry," the song Nellie sings.

Explore marine life in these great videos from NOAA's Ocean Today--with transcripts, too!


Seals and Other Marine Mammals

Lunchbox Lessons: Seal Anatomy and Lunchbox Lessons: Seals 101. Fun, short informational videos. Ocean Today, NOAA.

Marine Mammal Education Web. Education links on marine mammals and related science and careers. Marine Mammal Laboratory, NOAA.

About Harbor Seals, Seal Sitters. On the Seal Sitters website you'll find information on marine mammals, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, resources, books for kids, dangerous waters, and much more.

Learn About Marine Mammals and Pacific Harbor Seal. The Marine Mammal Center.

Harbour Seal (Phoca Vitulina). Seal Conservation Society.


Harbor Seal Monitoring in Puget Sound, NOAA Fisheries. See a seal researcher at work; watch seals move on land and in a kelp forest. This is what Aran's world looks like.

Wave Hunting: Orcas Prey on Seal. Orcas hunting a seal by creating waves. Lindblad Expeditions--National Geographic.

Killer whales hunting seals on ice--behind the scenes in Antarctica--BBC Earth."

"Recovering the Southern Resident Killer Whale with Research and Conservation." NOAA Fisheries.

Puffins and Other Ocean Birds

Tufted Puffin. Listen to a puffin grunting, watch a short video, and see

wonderful photos. All About Birds, The Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Atlantic Puffin. I saw Atlantic puffins in the Skellig Islands; they inspired the puffin in the book. All About Birds, The Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Aran sees many birds besides puffins. Here's a checklist of birds of the San Juan Islands. Look them up at and! "Birds, San Juan Island National Historic Park." Pamphlet, U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service.

The Ocean and Life in the Sea

Ocean Today from NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) is a fantastic resource. Here are a few places to get started:

National Ocean Service Education, NOAA. Educational Content and Modules for Educators.

The Bridge: An Ocean of teacher approved marine education resources. National Marine Educators Association. Click on lesson plans, and then by grade. 

Education. Monterey Bay Aquarium. A wealth of games and activities. Here are a few:

  • Kelp Forest Free App for grades 3-5. "Our free e-book teaches kids about the kelp forest habitat, the organisms that live there and kelp in our world. Interactive games help kids learn about food webs and the components and interactions of ecosystems...connects well with the Common Core State Standards on reading informational text and supports Next Generation Science Standards Disciplinary Core Life Science Idea 2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy and Dynamics."

Tides and Currents

From the National Ocean Service:

Tides. Teacher Planet. Resources, lesson plans, and activities.

Seal Sitters:


The Ocean Conservancy. 


Ocean Trash Plaguing Our Sea. Ocean Portal, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

SciLinks. Here you'll find links to lots more information, vetted websites, and lesson plans. Just a few of the links for "Ocean," grades 5-8:

Ocean Health

"The Great Silkie of Sule Skerry"

This is the ballad that Nellie sings. I took lines from a few versions and made some tweaks of my own.

This is my favorite version on video. It's long but absolutely beautiful.

Port / The Great Silkie of Sule Skerry/ De Domhnaigh 21.30 / 16/4.

Here are the lyrics from Child Ballad 113, on Internet Sacred Text Archive.

Scroll down this page to see some different versions of the lyrics. Mainly Norfolk: English and Scottish Folk and Other Good Music.

Myth and Folklore

Myth and folklore are rich with tales of the moon, the sea, and beings who can shift shape between animal and human. I hope to add more soon on tales from around the world. If you have great links, please send them to me!

The sea in Orkney folklore. Orkney lore of selkies, vanishing islands, mermaids, monsters, and more. Orkneyjar: The Heritage of the Orkney Islands. 

Variations on the Selkie Tale: "The Mermaid Wife and other migratory legends of Christiansen type 4080." D.L. Ashliman's folk texts, a library of folktales, folklore, fairy tales and mythology.

Celtic Folktales. World of Tales: Stories for Children from Around the World. 

Celtic Folklore. Internet Sacred Texts Archive. "Some of these books and texts are translations of Celtic legends and sagas; others are retellings of the material, folklore, or literary works based on Celtic themes." Many of these are from the 19th and early 20th century.

Irish Literature, Mythology, Folklore and Drama. Links to many online sources.

While Aran's story came home with me from Ireland, the book takes place in the Pacific Northwest, a world rich in story. Here's just a taste from Native Languages of the Americas:

© 2015 by Emily Whitman.