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Maritime Mondays

Important Announcement!
Thank you for joining our family-favorite story time this past year! 

While we begin to prepare for 2022 and continue to develop fun ways to connect with families, in person and virtually, Maritime Mondays will be taking a short creative vacation. We want to make sure we are providing the most meaningful and engaging experiences, and the best way for us to do that is to take some creative time to build upon this fantastic program.

When we made the shift to offering Maritime Mondays virtually during the global pandemic, we never imagined how much we were going to enjoy engaging with young mariners from around the world! Sharing inspiring stories with you has been the highlight of our week for the past year and our team is looking forward to doing it again soon!

If you have not done so yet, make sure to submit your young mariners artwork here by Monday, November  1. We can’t wait to feature their artistic creations in our Toys Ahoy! Gallery, starting December 1.

We are grateful for each of you who have joined us every Monday, and we look forward to seeing you at the Museum or virtually very soon. 

Keep an eye out for updates from us!

Calling all young aspiring artists!
Let your little Mariners’ imagination take flight! Show us how stories from our Maritime Mondays program influence you by submitting your child’s artwork for an amazing opportunity to be on display in our Toys Ahoy! gallery.

Complete the official entry form and mail us your Mariners’ masterpiece by the November 1, 2021 deadline. Click here for details


While Maritime Mondays is on a creative vacation,
check out these books that celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Across the Bay

Written and illustrated by Carlos Aponte

Carlitos lives in a happy home with his mother, his abuela, and Coco the cat. Life in his hometown is cozy as can be, but the call of the capital city pulls Carlitos across the bay in search of his father. Jolly piragüeros, mischievous cats, and costumed musicians color this tale of love, family, and the true meaning of home.

I Want to Ride the Tap Tap

Written by Danielle Joseph and illustrated by Olivier Ganthier

Manman and Papa have a surprise for Claude ― a ride on the tap tap! Journey with them as they encounter fascinating people along the way, from a lady selling mangoes to a steel drummer and an artist, and discover the warm and lively portrayal of everyday life in Haiti.



Written by New York Times bestseller and Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Díaz and illustrated by Leo Espinosa
So when Lola’s teacher asks the students to draw a picture of where their families immigrated from, all the kids are excited. Except Lola. She can’t remember The Island, where she left when she was just a baby. But with the help of her family and friends, and their memories — joyous, fantastical, heartbreaking, and frightening — Lola’s imagination takes her on an extraordinary journey back to The Island.

Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music

Written by Margarita Engle and illustrated by Rafael López

Long ago on an island filled with music, girls could not be drummers and no one questioned that rule. In a city of drum beats, a girl dreamed of pounding tall congas and tapping small bongós. But she had to keep quiet; she had to practice in secret. Inspired by the childhood of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, a Chinese-African-Cuban girl who broke Cuba’s traditional taboo against female drummers, learn about this inspiring true story for dreamers everywhere

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Be sure to use this feature when shopping for books by the authors of our Maritime Mondays.

Special thanks to our community partner:

Newport News Arts Commission logo

January 4, 2021

Jungle Drums
Written by Graeme Base

Tired of being teased, Ngiri, the smallest warthog in Africa, uses a set of magic drums to make wishes. Find out what happens when his wish is granted in a most unexpected way, and creates a huge surprise for all the animals in the jungle.

January 11, 2021

The Legend of the Golden Snail
Written by Graeme Base

Inspired by a storybook tale of a magical Golden Snail banished to the Ends of the Earth by a Grand Enchanter, Wilbur sets out on a daring voyage to find the legendary snail and claim it as his own. Set sail for an adventure unlike any other!

January 18, 2021

The Water Hole
Written by Graeme Base

From the plains of Africa and the jungles of the Amazon to the woodlands of North America and the deserts of outback Australia, the animals come together to drink from the water hole. But their water supply is diminishing. Gather together to try and solve the mystery: will the animals come back or is their water source gone forever?

January 25, 2021

The Jewel Fish of Karnak
Written by Graeme Base

Far away in Ancient Egypt, Jackal and Ibis are facing punishment but then granted a second chance at redemption. Come learn what happens when these two friends ignore the Cat Pharaoh’s words and disaster follows in a cautionary tale set amongst the wonders of an ancient world.

February 1, 2021

Anna Carries Water
Written by Olive Senior and illustrated by Laura James

Anna fetches water from the spring every day, but she can’t carry it on her head like her older siblings can. Set in Jamaica, this charming and poetic family story by Commonwealth Prize-winning author Olive Senior shows young readers the power of determination, as Anna achieves her goal and overcomes her fear.

February 8, 2021

The Little Hippo
Written by Géraldine Elschner and illustrated by Anja Klauss

In this delightful children’s story, a young boy befriends a little hippo and together they live out their days along the banks of the Nile. After many years, when the boy’s life comes to an end, the hippo finds himself in a strange world populated with deserts, cities, forests, and finally a museum where he is reunited with his friends. Come discover how and why the hippopotamus was such an important figure in that ancient world.

February 15, 2021

If Dominican were a Color
Written by Sili Recio and illustrated by Brianna McCarthy

The colors of Hispaniola burst into life celebrating the joy of being Dominican. This exuberantly colorful, softly rhyming picture book beautifully illustrates a mami’s words to her daughter on what Blackness looks like across her home country.

February 22, 2021

Anansi and the Magic Stick
Written by Eric A. Kimmel and illustrated by Janet Stevens

When Anansi finds out that Hyena has a magic stick that could fix his messy problem, he begins to conspire a way to steal it. But will the magic be more than Anansi bargained for? Based on tales originating in West Africa and familiar in Caribbean culture, this funny story is part of a five-book Anansi the Trickster series filled with slapstick humor and mischief.

March 1, 2020

Shark Lady
Written by Linda Skeers and illustrated by Marta Álvarez Miguéns

Eugenie Clark fell in love with sharks from the first moment she saw them at the aquarium. But Eugenie quickly discovered that many people believed sharks to be ugly and scary ― and those people also didn’t think women should be scientists. Come hear an inspiring story of a woman who dared to dive, defy, discover, and embolden others ― a wonderful start to celebrating Women’s History Month!

March 8, 2021

Ocean Speaks: How Marie Tharp Revealed the Ocean’s Biggest Secret
Written by Jess Keating and illustrated by Katie Hickey

From a young age, Marie Tharp loved watching the world. She loved solving problems. She loved pushing the limits of what girls and women were expected to do and be. She faced many barriers in her career, and the science field was no exception. When Marie landed a job at a laboratory in New York, she learned that women were not allowed on research ships – women were considered bad luck on boats. So Marie stayed back in the office and dove deep into the data her colleagues recorded, mapping point after point, and slowly revealing a deep rift valley in the ocean floor. Come hear this inspiring picture biography of Marie Tharp, who became the first person to map the Earth’s underwater mountain ridge.

March 15, 2021

Dinosaur Lady: The Daring Discoveries of Mary Anning, the First Paleontologist
Written by Linda Skeers and illustrated by Marta Álvarez Miguéns

Mary Anning loved scouring the beach near her home in England for shells and fossils. She fearlessly climbed over crumbling cliffs and rocky peaks, searching for new specimens. One day, something caught Mary’s eye.Bones. Dinosaur Bones.Learn how Mary rocked the world of science and helped create a brand new field of study – paleontology. While she wasn’t given the credit she deserved, Mary helped reshape scientific beliefs about the natural world. This beautifully illustrated picture book biography of Mary Anning is sure to enlighten children about the discovery of the dinosaurs and the importance of female scientists!

March 22, 2021

Of Numbers and Stars
Written by D. Anne Love and illustrated by Pam Paparone

Hypatia grew up on the northern tip of Egypt in the city of Alexandria in the fourth century A.D. As the daughter of mathematician Theon, Hypatia was unlike most girls of her time as she learned to read and write. As she grew older, she became a respected scholar in mathematics and philosophy in which scholars from all over the world journeyed to Alexandria to seek her teachings.

March 29, 2021

Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13
Written by Helaine Becker and illustrated by Dow Phumiruk

As a child, Katherine Johnson loved to count. Boundless, curious, and excited by calculations, young Katherine longed to know as much as she could about math, about the universe. Come discover the bold story of a groundbreaking African American mathematician at NASA who not only calculated the course of moon landings but, in turn, saved lives and made enormous contributions to history.

April 5, 2021

Digging for Words: José Alberto Gutiérrez and the Library He Built
Written by Angela Burke Kunkel and illustrated by Paola Escobar

In the city of Bogata, in the barrio of La Nueva Gloria, there live two Joses. One is a boy who dreams of Saturdays – that’s the day he gets to visit Paradise, the library. The second Jose is a garbage collector. Get immersed in this marvelous and inspiring picture book filled with a celebration of perseverance, community, and the power of books – and based on the life of José Alberto Gutiérrez, a garbage collector.

April 12, 2021

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
Written by William Joyce and illustrated by John Bluhm

Everything in Morris Lessmore’s life, including his own story, is scattered to the winds. But the power of story will save the day. Discover the book that inspired the Academy Award–winning short film, from New York Times bestselling author and beloved visionary William Joyce. It’s a modern masterpiece to celebrate!

April 19, 2021

Little Libraries, Big Heroes
Written by Miranda Paul and illustrated by John Parra

From founder Todd Bol’s first installation to the creation of more than 75,000 mini-libraries around the world, here’s an uplifting story of how the Little Free Library organization brings communities together through books. Learn how Todd Bol became a literary superhero, and with the help of thousands of volunteers – many of whom are kids – millions of books have been enjoyed around the world.

April 26, 2021

Thomas Jefferson Builds a Library
Written by Barb Rosenstock and illustrated by John O’Brien

As soon as Thomas Jefferson learned to read, he found his passion: books, books, and more books! His massive collection eventually helped rebuild the Library of Congress – now the largest library in the world! Come hear how Barb Rosenstock’s rhythmic words and John O’Brien’s whimsical illustrations capture Jefferson’s passion for the written word as well as little-known details about book collecting.

May 3, 2021

The Umbrella
Written and illustrated by Jan Brett

When Carlos drops his umbrella to climb a tree for a better view of the animals, they all cram into the banana-leaf umbrella as it floats by. From the little tree frog to the baby tapir to the big jaguar and more, things get so crowded in the umbrella that there isn’t even enough room for a little hummingbird! Come walk through the Costa Rican cloud forest and get ready to be mesmerized by the wonderfully lush setting in this cheerful jungle tale!

May 10, 2021

The First Dog
Written and illustrated by Jan Brett

Kip the Cave Boy offers to share all his woolly rhino ribs if Paleowolf will use his keen nose, fine ears, and sharp eyes to keep Kip from being eaten up. When Paleowolf agrees with a bark and a wag of his tail, Kip names his new friend Dog. A popular tale of adventure in prehistoric times, portraying the bond between man and animal that must, long, long ago, have resulted in the first domesticated dog.

May 17, 2021

Written and illustrated by Jan Brett

Mossy, an amazing turtle with a gorgeous garden growing on her shell, loses her freedom when Dr. Carolina, a biologist, takes her to live in her Edwardian museum. Visitors flock to see Mossy, who is sad living in a viewing pavilion. Come get a fascinating look at nature in the wild and on display in a natural history museum, and find out who will help Mossy return home to Lilypad Pond!

May 24, 2021

The Tale of the Tiger Slippers
Written and illustrated by Jan Brett

Set in India, this gorgeous reimagining of the classic Middle Eastern folk tale “Abu Kassem’s Slippers” features a poor tiger cub who is a very hard worker. His mother weaves him slippers to protect his feet from stones and thorns, and they allow him to prosper. Discover this powerful Middle Eastern folk tale that celebrates hard work and encourages appreciation of your roots and successes.

Monday, May 31, 2021

Comet’s Nine Lives
Written and illustrated by Jan Brett

It all begins when Comet walks away from the lighthouse close to his birthplace on Nantucket Island. He visits a garden, a bookstore, a boat, and a party, and at each place he gets into trouble and loses one of his lives. Comet starts to worry. He longs for a home, a place where he’ll be safe. Will he find one before he uses up all nine lives?


June 7, 2021

Mornings With Monet
Written by Barb Rosenstock and illustrated by Mary GrandPré

Claude Monet is one of the world’s most beloved artists, who also became famous during his own lifetime. He chose a life of art, but not just any art: a new way of seeing that came to be called impressionism. Introduce your little Mariners to a colorful world of creativity and new ways of seeing the world with this moving tribute of the influential painter!

June 14, 2021

Parker Looks Up: An Extraordinary Moment
Written by Parker Curry and Jessica Curry and illustrated by Brittany Jackson

A visit to Washington, DC’s National Portrait Gallery forever alters Parker Curry’s young life when she views First Lady Michelle Obama’s portrait. Learn about the story of a young girl and her family, whose trip to a museum becomes an extraordinary moment that resonates with power, inspiration, and indelible impact.

June 21, 2021

Sleepover at the Museum
Written by Karen LeFrak and illustrated by David Bucs

Mason couldn’t wait to celebrate his birthday with a sleepover at the museum of natural history — his favorite place to visit. Armed with headlamps for the dark hallways, a map, and a list of clues, Mason and his two best friends take off on a scavenger hunt through each hall of the museum. Come hear the perfect story for museum lovers and adventure seekers alike!

June 28, 2021

The Boy and the Boy King
Written by George H. Lewis and A.D. Lubow and illustrated by George H. Lewis

Come along with Arthur and his imaginary friend, Bun-Bun, as they travel through the Temple of Dendur at the Metropolitan Museum to another time and place and befriend the lonely boy king, Tutankhamun.

July 5, 2021

Written by Calef Brown

Welcome to Pirateria, the most glorious pirate emporium on the seven seas! When pirates need superior wares for life at sea, they head on down to Pirateria where they can find treasure chests, peg legs, planks, eye patches, head rags, vests, pantaloons, and more — all at unbeatable prices. Creativity and laughter run amok in this energetic, rhyming story full of beards and barnacles and plenty of pirate fun!

July 12, 2021

How I Became A Pirate
Written by Melinda Long and illustrated by David Shannon

When a pirate ship sails by, young Jeremy learns how to say “scurvy dog,” sing sea chanteys, and throw food. He also learns that there are no books or good night kisses on board. Set sail for a swashbuckling adventure filled with fantastically silly illustrations that showcase the finer points of pirate life!

July 19, 2021

The Hairiest Pirate Who Ever Lived: Blackbeard and the Birthday Suit
Written by Matthew McElligott

After one particularly rowdy birthday party, Backbeard had to admit that it was time for a new suit. With the local clothing shop out of all the traditional pirate garb, even a pirate as ornery as Backbeard learned he can’t always get what he wants. His unusual new birthday suit will either make him the laughingstock of the whole ship, or the most stylish pirate to ever raise the Jolly Roger. Get ready for a tickling hairy adventure!

July 26, 2021

On a Pirate Ship
Written by Sarah Courtauld and illustrated by Benji Davies

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live on a pirate ship? Follow the adventures of a swashbuckling captain and his crew as they brave a storm and search for treasure.

August 2, 2021

The Lighthouse
Written by Tracy Blom and illustrated by Adam Walker-Parker

This beautifully illustrated storybook tells the tale of an old man who embarks on a journey at sea. While on his voyage, he encounters a mighty storm and becomes scared, lost, and tired. Through the darkness, a lighthouse calls to him and guides him to an extraordinary place where he is reminded of the beautiful things that make life worth living.


August 9, 2021

Hello Lighthouse
Written by Sophie Blackall, a two-time Caldecott Medal award winner

Watch the days and seasons pass as the wind blows, the fog rolls in, and icebergs drift by. Outside, there is water all around. Inside, the daily life of a lighthouse keeper and his family unfolds as the keeper boils water for tea, lights the lamp’s wick, and writes every detail in his logbook. Join us for a step back in time and through the door of this iconic lighthouse!

August 16, 2021

The Lighthouse Cat
Written by Sue Stainton and illustrated by Anne Mortimer

In an old lighthouse, where a twenty-four-candle lantern lights a sparkling blue-green sea, dwells a solitary keeper and his little companion — a cat called Mackerel. On one stormy night, the quick rush of a fierce wind darkens every candle. Soon an errant fishing boat, lost in the raging black sea, signals distress. What will guide the boat away from danger?

August 23, 2021

The Lighthouse Dog to the Rescue
Written by Angeli Perrow and illustrated by Emily Harris

Pauline, the lighthouse keeper’s daughter, is proud of her pet spaniel because he is helpful and clever and a friend to all. But even Pauline does not realize just how brave and loyal Spot is until the night a terrible blizzard hits and a boat is missing out in the storm. Come learn about this true story from Maine’s maritime history!

August 30, 2021

The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge
Written by Hildegarde H. Swift and illustrated by Lynd Ward

On the Manhattan bank of the Hudson River, a small lighthouse — made of steel and painted bright red — proudly protects boats with his faithful beam. One day a great expanse of gray steel, which also shines a bright light into the fog and darkness, is built over it. The little red lighthouse feels insignificant and useless in comparison but soon learns that small can be mighty!

September 6, 2021

Papa’s Mechanical Fish
Written by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Boris Kulikov

Clink! Clankety-bang! Thump-whirr! That’s the sound of Papa at work. Although he is an inventor, he has never made anything that works perfectly, and that’s because he hasn’t yet found a truly fantastic idea. Papa, based on the real-life inventor Lodner Phillips, soon finds inspiration for his creation – a submarine – and takes his family on an incredible underwater discovery!

September 13, 2021

Sport: Ship Dog of the Great Lakes
Written by Pamela Cameron and illustrated by Renée Graef

In 1914, crew members of the lighthouse tender Hyacinth rescued a stray puppy from the Milwaukee River and named him Sport – a charming Newfoundland-retriever mix. Based on historical documents and photographs, come share in Sport’s adventures while discovering the various ways lighthouse tender ships helped keep the lake safe for others.

Mail by the Pail
Written by Colin Bergel

Mary’s father works for a lake freighter on Lake Michigan, and will not be home for his birthday this year. Mary wants to send him a card, but it can’t be delivered by a mail carrier like other letters. Her father gets his mail by a pail. Come hear a delightful story that illustrates the mail delivery system for Great Lakes freighters.

The Legend of the Sleeping Bear
Written by Kathy-Jo Wargin and illustrated by Gijsbert Van Frankenhuyzen

It started with a mother’s love… Fleeing from a forest fire, a mother bear urges her two cubs into the watery shelter of a vast body of water – Lake Michigan. Hear the story of what happens once Mother Bear reaches the far shore and how it becomes the legend behind the natural wonder known as Sleeping Bear Dune. Published to wide acclaim, the book was named the Official Children’s Book of Michigan.