Monster in the Water

Fighting Back Against Harmful Algal Blooms

By Dylan D'Agate (Author), Maria DeCerce (Illustrator)


Format Hardcover



Monster in the Water

Fighting Back Against Harmful Algal Blooms

by Dylan D'Agate, Maria DeCerce
Written by a kid for kids, Monster in the Water teaches children about environmental pollutants, and how to fight them, while they read an engaging and empowering story.

The children of Seaville get a nasty surprise when they go to the beach and find it closed. Is there a monster lurking in the water? The kids enlist the help of environmental scientist Professor Bloomington to learn the causes of the harmful algae growing in their beloved ocean and what they can do to defeat this destructive monster!
"A spirited account of a growing problem—and one we can solve if we put our minds to it!" —Bill McKibben, environmentalist, author, journalist, and co-founder of
Monster in the Water is a fun and engaging introduction to harmful algal blooms. It provides children with useful information about algal blooms and their potential links to nutrient enrichment and eutrophication and offers a few simple actions that they can take in their local community to help prevent blooms. This book would be a great gift for any young scientist and can help parents and teachers inspire or encourage an interest in the biological sciences."
—Dr. Donald Anderson, Senior Scientist and Director, U.S. National Office for Harmful Algal Blooms, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
"With the environmental challenges we face today, to have this book written by a young man with an environmental ethic at such an early age is inspiring! It gives us hope! This book not only states in a clear way the challenge of algal blooms but shares positive solutions. Whether you are a parent or teacher, you'll find this to be an easy to read, beautifully illustrated book that will help your children understand the impact our actions have on our beautiful world." 
—Greg Traymar, International Director, Sharing Nature Worldwide

"What a fantastic educational tool Monster in the Water is, made all the more impressive given the age of Dylan D'Agate of sixteen. I would have never in a hundred years guessed this book was written by a teenager as it does an exceptional job of providing comprehensive eco-fiction in a manner that is easy for even the youngest readers to understand. This is a book my kindergartener has requested twice in the past six days as part of our bedtime routine and the fact that she can pronounce and define ‘eutrophication’ at the age of five speaks volumes about the accessibility and ease with which a seemingly complex scientific phenomenon can be absorbed when presented by a gifted storyteller. She also liked the diverse cast of characters illustrated in full color by Maria DeCerce, bringing the narrative to life with children who look like her. As a parent, the best part of this story is the message of hope. Our environment is in a state of decay and to a child, a reversal of any degree may feel impossible, but to see a community of children band together to make significant change is exactly the inspiration the next generation needs to get done what, until now, my own generation have been unable to accomplish. Very, very highly recommended." —Jamie Michele for Readers’ Favorite

“I read the book, Monster in the Water, by young author Dylan D'Agate. I have to say I was so very surprised and enjoyed reading this book very much. The storytelling, the topic, the writing, and the art are fabulous! I think children will take a double-take look at the ocean or other water systems before they get in AND know what the algal blooms are about. The book also teaches the children how to help reduce this problem. Thank You Dylan for teaching children to be environmental stewards for our world!” —Sylvia Medina, President, Green Kids Club


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Monster in the Water: Fighting Back Against Harmful Algal Blooms is recommended for young readers ages 6-10 and tells of the children of Seaville, who discover their beloved beach has been closed. What kind of monster lurks in the water that would prompt such a closure? The kids ask environmental scientist Professor Bloomington for help, and receive a lesson about harmful algal blooms and their threat to sea life and other creatures. As the professor discusses the science involved, kids receive a lesson in which new words are highlighted and defined. The ensuing discussion of water pollution leads them to ask how they can help fight against it. As the kids receive further guidance on how to be proactive, they employ the community in taking steps to reduce the bloom. Maria DeCerce's colorful, engaging, large-sized drawings attract reader interest, as does the specter of a monster; but the science that follows is real and offers an easy way for kids to understand not only environmental issues, but what they can do to participate in their resolution. The combination of mystery, colorful drawings, and an attention to scientific detail creates a picture book story that is lively, engaging, and educational - just the ticket for usually-reluctant readers who need more than an outline of facts to become involved in environmental issues! —Midwest Book Review -

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Having grown up on Long Island surrounded by water, 16-year-old Dylan D’Agate understands the extensive impact harmful algal blooms can have on a community. He decided to write Monster in the Water: Fighting Back Against Harmful Algal Blooms, in hopes of raising awareness and encouraging young people to take action in their local communities and beyond. Dylan lives in Melville, NY, with his parents and younger brother and is a junior at Half Hollow Hills High School East. In addition to his passion for science and the environment, Dylan is a foodie and tennis fanatic. He recently started an environmental blog for the Sierra Club called Earth Blogger (

Maria DeCerce is a freelance illustrator who, coming from a family of scientists, has a deep curiosity and love for science and nature. She has fond memories of beach days in her home states of FL and NJ, which she drew inspiration from to illustrate the beaches in this book. When not working in her studio (or at the beach), she is most certainly wandering the dusty trails of Southern California astride her trusty red pony, Ketchup, with her dog Lana tagging along. See more of her work at

Pub Date: 10/26/2021

ISBN: 9781684620371

Price: $14.95 / $22.50 CAN

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 24 pages, all in color

Trim: 10 x 10 x 0 Inches

Territories: World

Category: Juvenile / Picture Books

Age Range: 6 to 10

Publisher: Sixth&Spring