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The Boy who Sailed the World


Julia Green, illus. Alex Latimer
David Fickling Books
Age 5-7 years

A young boy, who loved the sea and stories about the sea, decides to build a boat and sail the world to have adventures of his own.

He negotiates busy shipping lanes and stormy seas. He sees magical sunsets and star filled skies, discovering wonderful creatures, and making new friends.

Beautifully written and illustrated, this is a joyous picturebook about the excitement of adventure, the wonders of the ocean and making dreams come true.


Share the story
Read aloud
This is a story to share again and again. After your first reading talk about the author’s question at the back of the book – sharing your own dreams of adventure. On a second reading take time to look more closely at the illustrations together and talk about what you can both see.

Tell the story
Encourage your child to tell you the storyfrom the illustrations.

Join in
Once they are familiar with the story, encourage your child to join in with some of the reading.

Talk about the book
Talk about any puzzling words and ideas eg ‘shipping lanes’ and ‘buffeting’

Talk about what a compass is for if you can get hold of one you could look at it together and try using it.  

Share the parts of the boy’s journey you and your child found most exciting/beautiful/scary

Talk about the writer’s question – what is your child’s dream? And what is your dream? Where would you both like to go?

Things to make and do

Make a paper boat
Make a paper boat and see how well it floats in a bowl of water, bath or paddling pool.
Make a paper boat ( How to Make a Paper Boat (Origami Instructions) – Bing video

Make a junk model boat.
Collect together some junk eg a plastic tub shaped containers, some small cardboard boxes and sticks and fabric and glue. Create a junk model boat together.

Paint a picture
Give your child some paints and large sheets of paper so that they can paint a picture of a wonderful sunset, starry night or a stormy sea. If you are able to get hold of wallpaper lining paper, they could create a long picture with a changing sea scene – daytime and nightime, calm and stormy. Don’t forget to include the boat.

Be a percussionist
Create the sounds of a storm using your voice or kitchen utensils as simple percussion instruments (eg a saucepan and a wooden spoon).

Write a postcard
Imagine you are the boy in the story – write a postcard home describing what you can see and what it is like.

Find out more

Read more sea adventures

The Snail and the Whale
The Jumblies
The Owl and the Pussycat

Find out more about ships and boats
Visit the local library and try to find out about some of the different kinds of ships on our oceans, eg cargo boats, cruise ships and ferries. If you live near the sea or a river you could visit to see what kinds of craft you can spot, perhaps taking binoculars with you if you have any.

Find out more about the author

Julia Green Julia Green – Children’s Author (

The Boy Who Sailed the World is Julia’s first picturebook. She has written 20 novels for older children and young adults. Titles include:
The Children of Swallow Fell
The House of Light
The Edge of the World

Find out more about the illustrator, Alex Latimer is a writer and illustrator

Books include:

Am I yours?
The Boy who Cried Ninja!
Also Pip and Egg with David Litchfield
And Woolf with Patrick Latimer