Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Brilliant Deep: Rebuilding the World's Coral Reefs

The Brilliant Deep: Rebuilding the World's Coral Reefs

Kate Messner
Illustrator:  Matthew Forsythe 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Chronicle Books, 2018   ISBN: 978-1452133508

Ken Nedimyer’s father was one of the people who participated in America’s “race to the moon.”  His father’s team sent numerous space vessels into the skies, both manned and unmanned. Rather surprisingly, unlike so many other children at that time, Ken’s eyes did not look longingly to the heavens. Instead, he looked under water; he spent hours snorkeling around the coral reefs near his Florida home. He learned to scuba dive, and kept a large collection of seawater aquariums in his bedroom.

One summer Ken noticed that something was happening to the reefs. The corals were losing their color, the sea urchins were dying, and there were fewer fish. It seemed as if the whole reef was fading away and nothing could be done to save it.

As an adult Ken had a live rock business. He sold the live rocks that he farmed to people who wanted to use them in their aquariums. One day Ken noticed that some of his live rocks had been colonized by staghorn corals. Ken could have sold the staghorns, but instead he decided to use them “to grow more and more corals.” Maybe, just perhaps, these corals could be used to bring the dead and dying reefs back to life.

It is amazing to see how much good one person can do if they put their mind to it. Ken Nedimyer was, and is, just such a person. His love for coral reefs prompted him to use a happy accident for a good cause, and the world’s coral reefs are benefiting because of his dedication and hard work.

This excellent and very beautiful picture book tells Ken’s story in an engaging and meaningful way. Young readers will see how a simple idea can be turned into a cause that brings about big change.