Reef Kids: “The Girl Who Built an Ocean…” by Jess Keating

by | Feb 3, 2023 | Kids | 0 comments

“The Girl Who Built an Ocean: An Artist, an Argonaut, and the True Story of the World’s First Aquarium” by Jess Keating. Jeanne Villepreux-Power began her life as a dressmaker, sewing fancy gowns for Parisian aristocracy – but when she married and moved to the seaside, she discovered a new passion for studying the ocean’s mysteries! She loved collecting shells and examining specimens, and she was particularly fascinated by the argonaut or paper nautilus. But argonauts were so shy that she struggled to study them. If only she could keep them where they were easy to see… and just like that, an idea was born. Jeanne built a glass box so she could take a piece of the ocean home and invented the world’s first aquarium. In this lively new picture book, Keating, the bestselling author of “Shark Lady,” vividly captures the curiosity and perseverance of this pioneering woman whose invention has inspired countless people around the world. Highly recommended for ages 5 to 9.

“The Girl Who Built an Ocean” is available at

For older kids, her story is also told in the captivating new book “The Lady and the Octopus” for ages 10 and up at

Jess Keating is also the author of two more picture books about scientists who loved the ocean, “Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist” ( and “Ocean Speaks: How Marie Tharp Revealed the Ocean’s Biggest Secret” (

  • xeniaforever

    As senior editor here at reefs, I get to work with scientists from all over the world, and have made some wonderful friends in the industry! I also write for the site, and am the office manager at FRESH New London and the mother of two brilliant, talented young women.


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