The 6 Best Books About Seals (Including a Dopamine-Boosting Option!)

Key Points:

  • The best overall book about seals is Seals and Sea Lions of the World.
  • Explore factual books that take you into the world of seals, including their evolution, characteristics, and projected futures. You can also check out some fun fiction books, photography books, and coloring books!
  • Choosing the right books about seals depends on what you’re looking for. Consider if you’re focused on research or just want to add more of this wonderful animal to your life!

Seals are curious animals, with scientists still unsure of their exact origins. They started out as land-dwelling carnivores and over time evolved into the semi-aquatic mammals we know and love today. They’re remarkable, able to regulate their body temperatures even in icy waters. Although they evolved from living on land, they can spend months at a time out at sea, sleeping underwater. On the smaller end, they grow to weigh around 100 pounds, but the largest recorded seal ever grew to weigh over 8,000 pounds!

There is plenty to learn when it comes to seals. We compiled the six best books about seals in the list below. The first is a deep look into seals and sea lions. The author explores their evolution, lifestyles, and how they’re expected to continue evolving. We couldn’t shy away from the opportunity to incorporate a photography book with a double purpose: to offer educational photographs and give you a nice dopamine boost! We include a book based on a true story, empowering fiction books, and a wonderful coloring book for adults with tons of gorgeous seal illustrations!

  1. Seals and Sea Lions of the World
  2. Seals and Sea Lions of the World

    • Broadly covers animals of the Pinnipedia order, including seals, sea lions, and walruses.
    • Each animal is described and illustrated.
    • Provides analysis into these animals’ relationship with humans.

    Check Amazon

  3. Roly-Poly Round Seals!
  4. Roly-Poly Round Seals!

    • 96 pages.
    • Covers three particularly round seals from Japan.
    • Arare-chan, Yuki-chan, and Moya-kun — the features seals — all live in Kairukan, an aquarium in Osaka, Japan, where the author, Chiho Kuwodo, photographed them.
    • The best of a huge collection of photos.

    Check Amazon

Best Overall: Seals and Sea Lions of the World


Seals and Sea Lions of the World
Seals and Sea Lions of the World

  • Broadly covers animals of the Pinnipedia order, including seals, sea lions, and walruses.
  • Each animal is described and illustrated.
  • Provides analysis into these animals’ relationship with humans.

Check Amazon

The best overall book about seals is Seals and Sea Lions of the World. This book is available in both hardcover and paperback formats. It covers everything you’d want to know about the seals. The author, Nigel Bonner, invites you to explore their evolution. He expands on how although seals are mammals, they very much live an aquatic lifestyle. In fact, their limbs are now completely adapted solely for swimming instead of traversing land. This book also covers information on sea lions and walruses. Essentially, the various families of the order Pinnipedia.

You get to explore not just their evolution but also their life cycles, zoology, classification, and distribution. You gain a solid understanding of their current status and Bonner also invites you to consider their future. Bonner goes even further to examine the relationship that seals have with humans. He doesn’t shy away from controversy and delves deeper to understand the conflicts that exist when it comes to seals, fishing, culling, and the fur trade. He touches on these topics in a very professional way. He does not have an emotional approach; rather, he relays his first-hand knowledge and experience.

Customers rate this book five out of five stars. They appreciate that Bonner is forthright in his writing. They like the way he approaches even the most controversial topics with an even-keeled and well-rounded perspective. This book is a gem for anyone who has a fascination with seals or is just interested in these unique aquatic mammals. One customer says he appreciates that this book isn’t just text. Bonner incorporates color photographs throughout the book along with maps and detailed diagrams to visually complement the subject matter he presents.

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Best Dopamine-Boosting: Roly-Poly Round Seals!

Best Dopamine-Boosting

Roly-Poly Round Seals!
Roly-Poly Round Seals!

  • 96 pages.
  • Covers three particularly round seals from Japan.
  • Arare-chan, Yuki-chan, and Moya-kun — the features seals — all live in Kairukan, an aquarium in Osaka, Japan, where the author, Chiho Kuwodo, photographed them.
  • The best of a huge collection of photos.

Check Amazon

This next book immediately puts a smile on your face. It presents the roundest seals you’ve ever seen. The book features three specific seals. Their names are Arare-Chan, Yuki-Chan, and Moya-Kun. They all live in an aquarium located in Osaka, Japan. Their home has many visitors, including photographers. Chiho Kuwada is the photographer who captured these gorgeous images of these chubby, round seals. When you look at their faces, it looks like they are smiling in contentment. Throughout the book, you explore photographs of these three seals being as adorable as they can be. You see them swimming about, enjoying their environment. You also see how they ask for food with their little eyes, and how they sleep, which is just as adorable as any other thing they do.

Customers rate this book five out of five stars. They appreciate that the seal photography is very clearly captured with a skillful eye. One customer says that he has limited access to seals so being able to explore the pages in this book brings him a lot of enjoyment. He offers a reminder that this is mostly a picture book so you’re not getting a ton of informative text. He thinks it’s great for adults and children interested in marine mammals. Another customer says that she struggles with depression and this book is her go-to when she needs a little bit of cheering up. Another customer says that she loves it; she just wishes that it came with the stickers that accompany the Japanese version.

Best for Kids: Make Your Bed with Skipper the Seal

Best for Kids

Make Your Bed with Skipper the Seal

This book is amazing for children because it helps them develop a sense of responsibility. In this story, a seal becomes a navy SEAL. The author is Admiral William H. McRaven. He presents Skipper the seal who starts training with the Navy SEALs. He meets new friends who are incredibly hard-working, and they learn so much together. It’s not just about passing a swimming test or learning how to dive off a ship. To make it as a SEAL, you also have to know how to navigate failure, remain resilient when times get tough, and take risks. This isn’t just SEAL training, it’s training for life. The book is incredibly encouraging for young children. It’s suitable for kids between four and seven years old.

Customers rate this book 4.8 out of five stars. They say that even though the reading level is limited, it’s a delightful read for anyone. One customer goes on to say that it’s artistically appealing and she appreciates how the author put it all together. She purchased it for her six and seven-year-old nephews and they immediately fell in love with it. She enjoys it as well and has already read it on multiple occasions. She highly recommends it. Another customer says that this book beautifully highlights the core values of the Navy. He’s a 73-year-old who really appreciates both the presentation and the message of this book.

Best True Story: A Seal Called Andre

A Seal Called Andre

This book is based on a true story. It follows an unusual and special friendship between a seal named Andre and Harry Goodridge. Andre is a harbor seal who found both Penobscot Bay and Goodridge’s home equally comfortable. The story is set in Rockport, Maine. Goodridge does a fantastic job telling his story about this wonderful relationship. Andre would swim south when wintertime came around and once spring rolled around, so did Andre. This book is available in paperback, hardcover, and Kindle formats.

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Customers rate this book 4.6 out of five stars. They find it interesting and captivating. One customer says that the movie version is great, but this book really covers so many more details. It explains how harbor seals respond to training and really elucidates the wonderful personalities of these marine mammals. She learned that they’re very individualistic and that their personalities really shine when you’re paying attention. Another customer shares that this was a fantastic book to give her kids just before they left for vacation in Maine. She says both children and adults can enjoy the story.

Best for Coloring: Seal Coloring Book

Best for Coloring

Seal Coloring Book: Unique Animal Coloring Book Easy, Fun, Beautiful Coloring Pages for Adults and Grown-up

This next book is a little different because you’re not going to be reading, but rather coloring. It contains 8.5” x 11” pages, all of them single-sided. The aim of this book is to provide you with a relaxing experience as you color in various illustrations of seals. If this is an animal you love, this coloring book is perfect. You get a chance to bring each page to life in your own unique way. It’s appropriate for people of all ages and skill levels.

It includes some coloring tips and even color test pages. You get two copies of every image so if you happen to make a mistake, don’t worry because you get another try. Each of the illustrations is printed on black-backed pages to reduce any bleed through. This is especially important if you have a preference for more pigmented mediums like markers.

Customers rate this book 4.7 out of five stars. One customer says that finding seal-themed books like these can be difficult and he was so happy to have found this one. He has a niece who is absolutely obsessed with seals. She also spends much of her time coloring. This book was the perfect gift for her. Another customer says she purchased this for her sister. Since the book includes two copies of the same image, her sister got to really incorporate her creativity, turning two exact copies into two beautiful works of art. She comments that it is a very good quality booklet and made a wonderful gift.

Best Inspirational: If Memory Surfs: A Book for Healing

Best Inspirational

If Memory Surfs: A Book for Healing

This book is about a seal whose name is Memory. In the story, something bad happens, she gets injured, and she comes to the understanding that life for her just won’t be the same. She ends up recovering at a rescue center where she meets some new friends. Those new friends are going through something similar, with injuries of their own. They get a chance to know one another better together during the time of healing. When eventually the time comes for Memory to start surfing the waves again, she has a trauma response.

She’s so fearful, she freezes up. But she knows that if she doesn’t take this next step and conquer her fear, she won’t ever be able to see her family again. In this book, you find out what decision Memory makes and how she comes to make it. It’s a fantastic story for kids and adults alike. It’s illustrated throughout and offers insight into how our natural world works, how grief works, and the importance of helping others.

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Customers rate this book 4.7 out of five stars. They appreciate that the story has wonderful messages throughout. Healing and overcoming difficult situations is always a challenge, no matter your age. With this story, you learn more about self-esteem and how to navigate difficult emotions. You learn how Memory overcomes even the most insurmountable of problems. Customers describe it as a charming story that’s quite short yet captivates your attention. Parents are reading this with their children and loving that they get an opportunity to explore these tough topics together.

Criteria: What to Look for in Books About Seals

There are a few factors for you to consider before purchasing a book about seals. First, decide if you want something educational about seals or if you’re more interested in a fun story with an empowering message. There are actual seals and there are seal characters in fictional narratives. For many people, having both in their library is ideal. However, if you are focused on research, you definitely need something fact-based.

It’s also important to consider the reading level of the book. If you’re buying something for the wonderful seal-loving kiddo in your life, make sure it’s appropriate for them. Luckily, many authors manage to put together beautiful works that are indiscriminate of age — you can usually enjoy these books along with your kids. Other books like photography books and coloring books are also awesome because you can share them with your whole family.

If you have a fascination with seals, almost any book will do. You might enjoy a book that is put together by a photographer and incorporates gorgeous photos of sweet, smiling seals. You may even just enjoy a coloring book that allows you to appreciate your favorite animal in a different way. You can spend time looking at seal illustrations while coloring them in and reducing your stress. You can also invite your children to fall in love with seals the way you have. There are lots of options for you to peruse and the ones in this list are a great place to start.

Up Next, Explore a Few More Good Reads…

The 6 Best Books About Seals (Including a Dopamine-Boosting Option!) FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Will seals let you pet them?

It may be tempting to approach a seal, but these animals are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act. It is actually illegal for you to touch a seal. You can’t feed them either. You have to keep a safe distance away from them and just enjoy their cuteness from afar.

Are sea lions and seals the same?

Some people might use these terms interchangeably, but sea lions and seals are not the same. They have different characteristics. For example, sea lions are brown, and they have very loud barks. They sort of waddle on land using their large flippers. Seals do not wobble on land, but rather they sort of wriggle on rocks using their bellies. While sea lions have earflaps, seals don’t.

Are seals friendly?

Usually, seals are not aggressive toward humans. They can be quite playful and curious. There are places like zoos and marine parks where you can watch how seals interact with humans. However, you can also safely watch seals in their natural habitats to see how they interact with one another.

What are three interesting facts about seals?

Seals have a preference for colder waters, they enjoy sunbathing, and grey seals can live long lives, some up to 25 years!

Are seals intelligent?

They sure are! They are very curious creatures that demonstrate their intelligence in a variety of ways. For instance, they are very coordinated. When in captivity, seals learn tricks rather quickly.