Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Children's Nonfiction Endangered

Sea Otters

A Survival Story

by (author) Isabelle Groc

foreword by Judi Dench & David Mills

Orca Book Publishers
Initial publish date
Apr 2020
Endangered, Environmental Science & Ecosystems, Environmental Conservation & Protection
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Apr 2020
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2020
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 9 to 12
  • Grade: 4 to 7
  • Reading age: 9 to 12


Sea otters once ruled the Pacific Ocean, but the fur trade of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries brought this predator to near extinction.

Today they’re slowly coming back from the brink, and scientists are learning more about their pivotal role as one of nature’s keystone species. This book looks at the history, biology, behavior and uncertain future of sea otters. Author and photojournalist Isabelle Groc takes us into the field: watching sea otter rafts off the British Columbia coast from a kayak, exploring what makes their fur coats so special, understanding how their voracious appetites are helping kelp forests thrive and, ultimately, learning how sea otters are leaving their mark (or paws) on every part of the ecosystem. They might be one of the most adorable creatures in the ocean, but kids will discover how their survival is key to a rich, complex and connected ecosystem.

About the authors

Isabelle Groc is a writer, wildlife photographer and filmmaker who specializes in wildlife conservation, endangered species and the relationships between people and wildlife in a rapidly changing world. With degrees in journalism from Columbia University and urban planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she brings a unique perspective to documenting the impacts of human activities on threatened species and habitats. Born in the South of France, with family roots in Spain, Isabelle now lives in Vancouver.


With the return of Sea Otters on the Pacific Coast, Isabelle has had the opportunity to witness an extraordinary ecological story unfold in her backyard of British Columbia for over ten years. She spent extended periods of time documenting sea otters and the coastal communities they influence.


Isabelle Groc's profile page

Judi Dench's profile page

David Mills is a retired Professor of Canadian history from the University of Alberta.

David Mills' profile page


  • Winner, American Society of Journalists and Author's Award
  • Commended, NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Books
  • Commended, CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens

Editorial Reviews

“This is a good news story, beautifully told by a passionate advocate for healthy seas full of life. Isabelle Groc reveals how sea otters—some of the cutest, furriest, smartest mammals around—are making a triumphant return to the Pacific coast of North America, kick-starting the recovery of this fabulously rich marine ecosystem.”

Ben Hoare, former Features Editor, <i>BBC Wildlife Magazine</i>

“Well-researched...A thorough introduction to an appealing keystone species.”

Kirkus Reviews

“A good book for students who are interested in animals, the environment, or who just love sea otters...It would be a worthwhile addition to collections serving upper elementary and middle school students.”

School Library Connection

“Isabelle Groc's Sea Otters: A Survival Story is a delight—and not just because sea otters are a delight. The book is accessible, well researched, informative and very attractive. All ages will enjoy this book.”

Robert Bateman, artist and naturalist

“This very relevant book on climate change and endangered species is a strong choice for all nonfiction collections.”

School Library Journal

"In this beautiful book, Isabelle tells us an important story, one that gives us hope...Young people will be encouraged to see that positive change can happen, and that we can all do something to help preserve our planet."

Dame Judi Dench

“This book is a masterpiece of children’s nonfiction about nature. With pages of stunning photographs and easy-to-read text about the history, science and ecological heroics of sea otters, this book is a must-have for every budding naturalist and every lover of sea otters.”

Kai Chan, Professor at the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, University of British Columbia

“The text is accessible with a fairly straightforward factual style that works well for the serious nature of the topic...Young readers interested in species at risk and wildlife conservation will enjoy the learning experience provided. Highly Recommended.”

CM: Canadian Review of Materials

“The sea otter’s story holds lessons for everyone. Isabelle Groc has provided a great service to nature and human society by teaching these lessons to the next generation in an accurate and compelling manner.”

James A. Estes, Professor Emeritus, University of California, Santa Cruz

“Groc's personal admiration for these intriguing mammals is evident in her descriptive writing, clear explanations, and well-documented and captioned color photographs. A compelling wake-up call for protecting the environment.”


Other titles by Isabelle Groc

Other titles by David Mills