Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Children's Nonfiction Environmental Conservation & Protection

Rising Seas

Flooding, Climate Change and Our New World

by (author) Keltie Thomas

illustrated by Belle Wuthrich & Kath Boake W.

Firefly Books
Initial publish date
Aug 2023
Environmental Conservation & Protection, Water (Oceans, Lakes, etc.)
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2018
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2018
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2023
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2023
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 9 to 13
  • Grade: 4 to 8


"This is an important book but we don't have time for its young readers to replace those in power. So read this book and then give grown-ups hell and demand something be done. It's your future that's at stake." -- David Suzuki

"This is an eye-opening glimpse at the worldwide impact of rising temperatures." --School Library Journal

"Flooding and climate change have become increasingly important topics that need to be addressed, and our youngest readers -- and a large hope for the future of this planet -- will learn important information about our world and its climate in this informative text." --Booklist

The Earth's oceans are on the rise. Since 1880, global sea levels have risen steadily each year to a global average of about 8-9 inches (20-23 cm), and they're still rising. By 2100, the sea could climb as much as 6.6 feet (2 m) higher than it is today.

Rising Seas gives youth an eye-popping view of what the Earth might look like under the rising sea levels of climate change. Photographs juxtapose the present-day with that area's projected future. The shocking images will help readers understand the urgency for action. This updated and expanded edition features three new locations -- London, UK, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and Manila, Philippines -- as well as brand new sections about climate anxiety (and what you can do about it) and how the world worked together to close the ozone hole, giving young readers a reason to hope for a better future.

The 8 extra pages and thorough revision make this an important warning for the future.

About the authors

KELTIE THOMAS is a passionate sports fan and award-winning children’s science writer and editor. She is a former editor of OWL Magazine, and is the author of popular sports books such as How Baseball Works; Blades, Boards & Scooters; and Inside Hockey! She lives in Toronto.

Keltie Thomas' profile page

Belle Wuthrich is an illustrator and designer specializing in books for young readers. Based in Vancouver, Belle has contributed to more than a dozen books for kids, a number of which have won awards or been republished internationally, including the Montaigne Medal Award–winning Eyes and Spies: How You’re Tracked and Why You Should Know and the Silver Birch Award nominee Eat Up: An Infographic Exploration of Food.

Belle Wuthrich's profile page

Kath Boake W is an illustrator and fine artist whose work appeared in Owl Magazine for 20 years Her digital adaptations of our changing world appear in Rising Seas

Kath Boake W.'s profile page

Editorial Reviews

[Review of previous edition:] A brief explanation of why seas levels are rising, how fast they are rising, and a map depicting 'watery hotspots' is followed by an explanation of sea level rise around the world. Photo illustrations present what each place might look like as the sea rises and what it looks like now. This is an eye-opening glimpse at the worldwide impact of rising temperatures.

School Library Journal

[Review of previous edition:] This book gives youth a view of what the earth might look like under the rising and falling water levels of climate change. Shocking images will help readers understand the urgency for action and better understand today's environmental issues.

The Canadian Children's Book Centre's Best Books for Kids and Teens 2018

The updated edition will ensure this valuable book stays visible longer as a timely resource for more young readers. Highly Recommended.

Canadian Review of Materials

[Review of previous edition:] An eye-popping kids' book showing us what the world might look like when climate change puts some of our most famous landmarks underwater.

The Revelator

Now in a fully updated and significantly expanded second edition, "Rising Seas: Flooding, Climate Change and Our New World" is a vitally important and unreservedly recommended addition to family, elementary school, middle school, and community library (especially coastal city libraries) Science and Climate Change collections for young readers.

Midwest Book Review

[Review of previous edition:] The first few pages of this book describe the impact that water has on shaping our planet (rivers, streams, glaciers, oceans, etc.). It also explains the reasons for the gradual rise in ocean levels and identifies some of the coastal communities that are most at risk for flooding. The author then highlights 15 geographic locations (Miami Beach, Nova Scotia, Mumbai, etc.) and illustrates how the populations there will be impacted by the continued rising of sea water levels. The book concludes with examples of actions that students and their families can take to reduce carbon emissions. Illustrated with photographs and cartoon style drawings, this book presents information in a clear and concise manner. It uses a wide variety of text features including colour coding and speech bubbles.

Canadian Teacher Magazine

[Review of previous edition:] Fifteen "hotspots" demonstrate the potential effects of rising sea levels around the world. While the author of this timely warning makes clear that human-caused climate changes are responsible for rising sea levels, the focus is on specific places grappling with it. Thomas describes the current status of each (location, population, area size, feet above sea level, and something special about the place), the number of people likely to be affected by sea-level rise by 2100, and the area's game plan: protection, adaptation, and or population relocation. The areas described lie on low-lying islands, coasts, and deltas around the world from Greenland to Antarctica. In two opening chapters, Thomas introduces the issue with a short explanation, charts, photographs, and graphic images as well as a map. Each example is presented in two to four pages with lively design, accessible text, and obviously doctored photographs showing drowning buildings and statues. There are three examples from the U.S. -- and two from eastern Canada. Other hot spots include Bangladesh, Mumbai, and the Nile delta. A final section offers 10 solid suggestions for middle-grade readers, from the obvious "speak up!" and "reduce, reuse, recycle" to the less-often-mentioned "eat less meat" and "be a backyard scientist." A slightly different take on a global challenge.


[Review of previous edition:] This book gives youth a view of what the Earth might look like under the rising and falling water levels of climate change. Shocking images will help readers understand the urgency for action and better understand today's environmental issues.

Canadian Children's Book News

[Review of previous edition:] Through vibrant color photographs, maps, and illustrations, readers will see the beauty of each threatened country and what it has to lose... Thomas incorporates easy-to-understand context regarding sea level rise and how everyone can do their part to help reverse this threatening trend. Those who want to learn more, check out the list of books, websites, and even a movie in the back of the book. This is one title that should be found in every library.

Linda's Little Lit Reviews

[Review of previous edition:] Climate change is a reality that we all face and it's important that kids know what it's all about... This book provides a stunning view of Earth's rising oceans... The use of photographS, that juxtapose current images with the projected future view of the same area provides a shocking message. Readers will come away with a better understanding of the urgency of the issue and the need for action.

City Parent

[Review of previous edition:] The term climate change often brings to mind unpredictable storms and unseasonable temperatures. But in Rising Seas: Flooding, Climate Change and Our New World, it's clear that we're in for more than stormy weather as sea levels around the globe continue to rise, changing the face of the Earth and our daily lives. Accomplished author and former OWL magazine editor Keltie Thomas (Do Fish Fart?; How Hockey Works) tackles both the geographic and social implications of climate change with charm and expertise. She explains that more than 100 million people live within treacherous coastal regions, vulnerable to high tides and storm surges, and adds that as humans create more and more CO2, heating up the Earth, the oceans will expand and the glaciers will melt. Thomas makes her point by playfully measuring sea-level rise against an adult woman's knees and the Statue of Liberty. At first glance, the book's subject feels a bit doom and gloom. But we learn that major seaside cities have designed ways to cope, by implementing a "SLR (sea level rise) Game Plan," and deciding whether to protect current resources, adapt to a changing environment, or relocate altogether... The design, by Belle Wuthrich and Kath Boake W., blends a mix of upbeat illustrations (including an irresistible surfing bunny) with somewhat alarming photoshopped images of waterlogged cityscapes, reminiscent of CGI-heavy disaster movies. Rising Seas looks into the future with stark frankness and challenges us to take action through mindful energy reduction, activism, and citizen science, ever hopeful that we can help to keep the tide at bay.

Quill and Quire

[Review of previous edition:] Flooding and climate change have become increasingly important topics that need to be addressed, and our youngest readers--and a large hope for the future of this planet--will learn important information about our world and its climate in this informative text. After introducing the role water plays on earth and the causes of rising sea levels, Thomas takes readers to areas of the planet, such as Miami Beach, Greenland, and the Nile Delta, that will be devastatingly affected by rising sea levels. Facts about the current population of each area highlighted are included and are accompanied by predictions on what will happen to these places in the near future. Illustrations of how these areas might look underwater stress the importance of taking action now, while the cheery design and bright palette help lighten up the heavy proceedings. In a "What Can You Do?" section, readers are given ways to help prevent further climate change, and a glossary explains key terms. An engaging, lively addition to nonfiction collection on a timely, increasingly urgent topic.


[previous edition:] 2019 Silver Birch Non-Fiction Award Honour Book

Ontario Library Association Forest of Reading

[Review of previous edition:] Thomas has managed to make climate change come to life with stunning visuals, while at the same time remaining optimistic about the future... This book focuses readers on specific areas of the world most likely to suffer from rising sea levels in the near future, while showing the potential devastation to both human and wildlife and giving examples on how we can work together to change the future for these regions. I particularly appreciated the focus on positive changes we can all make, as discussing climate change can often be overwhelmingly negative for students. Geography, history, and science teachers of late elementary and early middle schoolers can utilize this resource in a variety of ways with students.

Green Teacher Magazine

[Review of previous edition:] Beautifully illustrated... Informs readers about the danger posed by rising sea levels. Vancouver artists Belle Wuthrich and Kath Boake W. provide devastating visuals that compare current landscapes with imagined renderings of the aquatic devastation heading our way if we don't make significant strides against climate change.

Quill and Quire

[Review of previous edition:] The causes and effects of the rise of global sea levels are concisely presented in this accessible book for students in grades 3-9. It has an excellent use of globally-diverse examples -- including some indigenous content -- and neutral language. Complex terms are noted in the glossary, which includes colorful infographics of the carbon and water cycles.

Green Teacher Magazine

[Review of previous edition:] With climate change frequently front and centre in the media, Rising Seas is well-timed to focus on one disastrous effect--rising sea levels and the resulting destruction... The lengthy introductory detail is well worth a careful read. It reveals the role water plays on our planet, how much of the world's population has chosen to live on coastal sites, how rising temperatures lead to rising oceans, and how nations are currently considering the threat in terms of protection, adaptation and or relocation. Once readers have digested this well-researched information, they will be better equipped to understand specific (and potential) consequences in store for each of the accounts that follow... The statistics are a strong feature here. They allow a quick comparison for the reader between different venues: e.g. sea levels at New York (parts only 1.5 m above sea level), Nova Scotia (coast is at sea level), the Netherlands (lowest point 7 m below sea level)... To enhance the seriousness of the threat of rising seas, the illustrators have opened some accounts with striking "photo illustrations" showing the sea water swallowing up iconic structures, such as the high rises along Miami Beach, New York's Statue of Liberty, and Mumbai's historic Gateway to India monument. In particular, the cover illustration of Liberty up to her waist in water will attract attention and is a strong motivator for the curious reader to open the book. Photographs and drawings are nicely combined for an overall highly visual presentation. Rising Seas could be the basis for classroom studies of climate change as we face the real threat of rising seas. Highly Recommended.

Canadian Review of Materials

[Review of previous edition:] Climate change book recommendation... This book gives children visuals and information of how rising sea levels could affect cities and communities across the globe.

CBC News

[Review of previous edition:] This primer on climate change is loaded with information about why our oceans are rising, what it has to do with soaring global temperatures, and the ways in which certain places--from Miami to Kiribati to Antarctica--are literally drowning. Pumping out straightforward facts, this book doesn't offer any cheerful prognoses. Most tweens, however, already know that swift, strong climate action is required of them--and this book's back matter suggests 10 ways to make a difference.

Sierra Club

[Review of previous edition:] Climate change is an important topic for today's students. This book tackles it from a less common angle: the rising sea levels in places around the world. Read all the examples or just a few. You'll help students learn the link between human behavior and climate change.

We Are Teachers

[Review of previous edition:] Keltie Thomas' introductory chapters clearly explain the science of rising seas. The straight-forward text is supplemented by relevant colourful maps, graphs, charts, and photographs... A good information book with an interesting approach to explaining why rising seas are a very real issue. The book is recommended for both school and public libraries. Students could be quite engaged in creating their own Sea Level Rise (SLR) Game Plans.

Resource Links

[Review of previous edition:] Discussions of climate change are often nonspecific and abstract. This accessible call to action focuses on particular regions of the world that have been or may be impacted by rising sea levels. Thomas begins with a straightforward explanation of why sea levels are rising, describing the impact of carbon emissions in the atmosphere leading to warming water, which expands. Melting glaciers and ice sheets are also culprits in the rise of sea levels, she explains. Digitally rendered photo illustrations depict hypothetical flooding--the Statue of Liberty appears waist-deep in seawater; the Gateway to India monument is flooded from Mumbai Harbor; and a future Miami Beach is inundated. The eye-catching images may come across as dramatized worst-case-scenarios, yet the photographs of areas that are already facing damaging floods underscore the true potential for destruction. End pages offer 10 steps readers can take to help combat global warming, including reducing water usage, eating less meat, and recycling.

Publishers Weekly

[Review of previous edition:] This book gives you an eye-popping view of what Earth might look like as the seas begin to drown the world we know. Photos of present-day locations are shown beside images showing their projected future -- shocking stuff that reveals how urgently we need to act to stop climate change. A shocking and fact-packed look at Earth's rising oceans.

Lily Pond Books

[Review of previous edition:] After poring over this book's pages, I am much more informed... The design is appealing, the tone of the text conversational, and the statistics alarming. The visuals often astound. It leaves interested readers with much to consider.

Sal's Fiction Addiction

[Review of previous edition:] Impactful photo illustrations show cities submerged, the water level measured against iconic landmarks like New York's Statue of Liberty and the lighthouse at Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia. Clear graphics also help readers, ideally ages nine to 13, understand what's causing oceans to rise and how the water and carbon cycles work. If this sounds a little heavy for the holidays, don't despair: there's a list of 10 things kids can do to make a difference--the ideal summer vacation to-do list.

Hakai Magazine

Other titles by

Other titles by