#WomenReadWomen2019 Books Early Readers Features Genre Lifespan of a Reader Non-fiction Wednesday Nonfiction Picture Books Reading Themes

[Nonfiction Wednesday] It Starts With One in Kate Messner’s “The Brilliant Deep”

Read about the remarkable story of Ken Nedimyer and his quest to rebuild coral reefs.

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Fats here.

We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2019 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year, when we can.

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The Brilliant Deep

Rebuilding the World’s Coral Reefs

Written by Kate Messner
Illustrated by Matthew Forsythe
Published by Chronicle Books (2018)
ISBN-13: 9781452133508
Copy provided by Twinsburg Public Library.

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All it takes is one

One coral gamete to start a colony
One person to make a difference
One idea to change the world

The ongoing efforts to save and rebuild the world’s coral reefs—with hammer and glue, and grafts of newly grown coral—are the living legacy of Ken Nedimyer.


One night, after a full moon, the corals begin to spawn—releasing first one, then millions of tiny lives—until the waters swirl like a snow globe… If one is lucky, it lands in a place where it can grow. This one will begin a coral reef.


Ken Nedimyer has loved the ocean since he was a boy. He grew up watching the aquatic adventures of Jacques Cousteau. When Ken learned to scuba dive, he enjoyed swimming out on the reef. Later, he noticed that the corals were losing their colors and sea creatures were getting sparse.


Ken watched his favorite place in the world begin to fade away. The reefs were dying, and it seemed like there was nothing he could do to save them.


Many years later, Ken Nedimyer began operating a live rock farm in the Florida Keys. He studied coral colonies with his daughter and friends. Eventually, he formed a group called the Coral Restoration Foundation, which consists of volunteers on a mission to rebuild the reefs through farm-raised colonies.

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This picture book collaboration by Kate Messner and Matthew Forsythe is partly about Ken Nedimyer and partly about coral reefs. I discovered this book through a random search about non-fiction titles for young readers. The book provides a short explanation on what happened to the coral reefs, additional online resources, and a coral reef vocabulary. It’s fascinating to learn about corals and how they develop.

Similar titles to check out and read alongside The Brilliant Deep:

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Reviewed by Myra on March 13, 2019.

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Reviewed by me on February 18, 2015.

3 comments on “[Nonfiction Wednesday] It Starts With One in Kate Messner’s “The Brilliant Deep”

  1. lindabaie

    I still need to read this by Kate Messner & it looks like a good story and beautifully illustrated, too. I liked Shark Lady a lot! Thanks, Fats!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Michele Knott

    The illustrations of this book were absolutely stunning. It ended up being more fascinating than I had thought!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love Shark Lady and Life in the Ocean. The Brilliant Deep is new to me. Fortunately, my library has it. I put it on hold. I am excited to get it. Thanks for this beautiful suggestion.

    Liked by 1 person

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