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The Blue Marble Series

The Blue Marble Series takes young readers on an ocean exploration adventure through a fictional lens based on real-world issues.

Beneath the Surface is the first book of three in the Blue Marble Series, introducing 11 year old Xing Xing, who inherits a special power that allows her to travel miles below sea level, near the coast of Nan’ao Island, in southern China. After traveling many miles from home, Xing Xing is welcomed to Fertile Valley, a utopian marine refuge full of endangered plants and animals, where she is treated like family and begins to learn mastery of her newfound abilities. However, it doesn’t take long for Xing Xing to experience one of the many threats facing the refugees in Fertile Valley. While it is a vastly different world, it is also one that Xing Xing is deeply connected to, just as much as she is to her life on land. Motivated to help protect her new found family of friends beneath the sea, Xing Xing returns to her village to take her first steps of action. From her immediate welcome into the mysterious inner depths of Earth until the day she must finally return to the surface, Xing Xing’s adventure reveals the inseparable connection and relationship between land and sea that had been lost for nearly a millennium.


“We only protect what we love, we only love what we understand,

and we only understand what we are taught.”

― Jacques-Yves Cousteau

 Beneath the Surface is the first book in a series of three (so far), starting in Nan'Ao County, a fishing village district just a bit north of Hong Kong, on the eastern coast of Guangdong Province. The first edition was independently published in March 2022 (ebook, Lexile 1000, 118 pages/audiobook, 150 minutes). In addition to the short novel, I have also developed learning extension materials focused on enriching ocean literacy in the bioregion where Beneath the Surface takes place that align with NGSS Ocean Literacy Framework for Middle Grades (6 – 8).

These "Deep Dive" activity packs give readers more insight into the true stories that inspired the novels. The "Deep Dive" activity pack for Beneath the Surface offers a number of activities and exercises to help improve ocean literacy and fluency.

The Beneath the Surface "Deep Dive" Activity Pack can be used for learning more about ocean life in or after school. It contains over 60 exercises and lesson ideas designed in accordance with NGSS7 standards that enhance and strengthen ocean literacy skills:

Unit 1 - Plight of the Chinese White (Pink) Dolphins

MS-LS4 Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity

To achieve a full understanding of the evidence of common ancestry and diversity learners need to learn about the origins of life. An understanding of diversity and adaptations would be incomplete without learning about the diversity and unique adaptations of ocean life.


Unit 2 – Overfishing

MS-LS2 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics

To understand how changes in biodiversity can influence resources and ecosystem services learners must know how humans and the ocean are inextricably interconnected. Learners will begin to understand how the ocean made life on Earth possible.


Unit 3 - Ghostnets

MS-ESS3 Earth and Human Activity

This unit focuses on how human activities have altered the biosphere, damaging natural habitats and causing extinctions. These ideas are strongly connected to the following concepts: humans affect the ocean in a variety of ways, including impacting biological diversity and causing extinctions; most people live near coasts.

The (Beneath the Surface) Deep Dive Unit 1


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