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Children's Nonfiction Environmental Conservation & Protection

Plasticus Maritimus

An Invasive Species

by (author) Ana Pego & Isabel Minhós Martins

illustrated by Bernado P. Carvalho

translated by Jane Springer

Greystone Books Ltd
Initial publish date
Sep 2020
Environmental Conservation & Protection, Water (Oceans, Lakes, etc.), Environmental Science & Ecosystems
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2020
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 10 to 16
  • Grade: 7 to 12


“Clever…beguiling….Readers age 11 and older are likely to finish this book feeling both persuaded and uplifted. Beauty has a way of doing that.”
Wall Street Journal

For young readers comes an imaginative guide to ocean plastics, filled with tips and tricks for identifying—and combating—pollution in our oceans. 

Inspired by biologist AnaPêgo’s life’s work, and filled with engaging science and colorful photographs, this foundational look at plastic pollution in the ocean explains why it is such an urgent contemporary issue. 

When she was young, Ana Pêgo didn’t play in a backyard, but on a beach. She walked along the shore, looked at tide pools, and collected fossils. As she grew older, Pêgo noticed a new species at the seaside: plastic. She decided to collect it, study it, and give it a Latin name—Plasticus maritimus—to warn people of its dangers to our planet.

Pêgo tells us how plastics end up in our rivers, lakes, and oceans, shares plastic’s chemical composition and physical properties, and offers a field guide to help readers identify and understand this new invasive species in all its forms, from the obvious (fishing nets and water bottles) to the unfamiliar (tiny, clear particles called microplastics). Finally, she offers a critical look at our current “solutions” to plastic contamination and in her most important proposal—REVOLUTIONIZE—calls for deep changes in our habits, motivating young and old alike to make a difference, together. An artificial and almost indestructible species, Plasticus maritimus deserves to have its days numbered! Together, we can send it packing.

“A cleverly conceived and comprehensive introduction to a serious issue.”— Kirkus Reviews 

Honorable Mention—Bologna Ragazzi Award. 

Published in Partnership with the David Suzuki Institute.

About the authors

Ana Pego's profile page

Isabel Minhós Martins' profile page

Bernado P. Carvalho's profile page

Jane Springer is the author of Genocide, part of the Groundwork Guides series for which she is also the series editor. She is a consultant in international development and has lived and worked in Mozambique and India. She is the author of Listen to Us: The World's Working Children and translator of the Portuguese-language books Nest Egg and Tales from the Amazon. Jane Springer lives in Toronto.

Jane Springer's profile page


  • Joint winner, Outstanding Science Trade Books

Editorial Reviews

A 2021 Outstanding Science Trade Books

A Junior Library Guild selection

“Clever…beguiling….Readers age 11 and older are likely to finish this book feeling both persuaded and uplifted. Beauty has a way of doing that.”
Wall Street Journal

“A marine biologist warns of the impact of “invasive” plastics on the ocean environment … presenting a solid introduction to the science and a clear call to action.”
—Horn Book Magazine

“A cleverly conceived and comprehensive introduction to a serious issue.”
Kirkus Reviews

“This imaginative guide to ocean plastics pollution … helps readers identify and understand this new invasive species….[an] important book.”

“While the subject is serious, Plasticus Maritimus is an upbeat read sure to inspire positive action in children and adults alike.”
Hakai Magazine

“[A] helpful and imaginative guide.”
Pam NorfolkThe Lancashire Evening Post

“A lively, informative, but also rather scary book that you can absolutely share with your 12-year-old, as well as with a like-minded friend or parent.”
Meridian Star

“With beautiful illustrations, easy to understand explanations and a lot to say on the subject, this comprehensive guide to the most invasive man-made species will leave the readers horrified. I grew increasingly sick, and by the end of it, I was committed to hunt down, reduce, erase, and hopefully eradicate the problem once and for all.”

Plasticus Maritimus belongs in every middle school! It’s a book that carries its message within the pages literally and figuratively, as well as beyond. The cardboard binding is both beautiful and necessary. As Plasticus Maritimus shows us, the future of book production, like so many other industries, has to be earth-friendly.”
MaryAnn Cappiello, Ed.D., Lesley University

Plasticus Maritimus is truly a pivotal book of our time. Ana’s journey to specializing on this topic mirrors many and especially youth we meet all over the world. I can’t imagine a better 'field guide' will ever be made that explains the problem, offers alternatives and provides a clear call to action. Bravo Ana!”
Adrian Midwood, Executive Director, Plastic Oceans Canada

I loved this book for so many reasons! There are bright, colourful pictures that draw the reader in. The book is easy to understand and fun to read, but still gives very important information about this new invasive species “Plasticus martimus.” I think this book should be in every class for all kids of all ages.”
Mason Vander Ploeg of Mason’s Ocean, Junior Plastics Oceans Ambassador and London Drugs recycling ambassador

“How many books about plastic pollution are so well-written, interesting and filled with the most unique colored pencil illustrations and photographs that you have a problem putting it down and returning to that riveting novel you are reading? This is that book….To whom would you recommend this book? Everyone.”
Youth Services Book Review

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