Cover image for The brilliant deep : rebuilding the world's coral reefs : the story of Ken Nedimyer and the Coral Restoration Foundation
The brilliant deep : rebuilding the world's coral reefs : the story of Ken Nedimyer and the Coral Restoration Foundation

Ken Nedimyer
The brilliant deep : rebuilding the world's coral reefs : the story of Ken Nedimyer and the Coral Restoration Foundation
Personal Author:
Publisher Info:
San Francisco, California : Chronicle Books LLC, 2018.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
Looks at the life of the coral restoration pioneer Ken Nedimyer, from his early fascination with the ocean to his ongoing efforts to save and rebuild the world's coral reefs.


Call Number
Material Type
E MESSNER New or Popular Picture Book
J 577.78 MESS New or Popluar Book Juv Nonfiction

On Order



A picture book biography of Ken Nedimyer, who started the Coral Restoration Foundation - an international group dedicated to resuscitating the world's coral reefs. Kate Messner and Matthew Forsythe brilliantly chronicle the groundbreaking efforts of one coral restoration pioneer, from his first optimistic experiment of transplanting coral - with the help of his daughter-to his founding of the Coral Restoration Foundation, and the foundation's continued efforts around the world to rebuild coral reefs.

Author Notes

Kate Messner is the award-winning author of Over and Under the Snow , Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt , Tree of Wonder , How to Read a Story , and Over and Under the Pond , as well as more than a dozen other books for young readers. Kate lives in New York with her family. When she's not writing, she loves spending time outside-cross country skiing, hiking, swimming, and digging in her gardens. Learn more at her website .

Matthew Forsythe is an award-winning artist and illustrator. He has worked with The New York Times , The Wall Street Journal , Cartoon Network, DreamWorks, and Nickelodeon, and he was the lead designer on the television show Adventure Time for more than 80 episodes. He lives in Montreal.

Reviews 3

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-5-A child's fascination with swimming in the ocean leads to important work in his adulthood. This picture book biography touches on useful lessons beyond the fall and rise of the world's coral reefs. Messner begins and ends the story with a potent line: "It starts with one." Following a short introduction to coral reefs, Messner quickly turns to Ken Nedimyer's Floridian childhood and his love of aquatic life. ("At one point he had thirty aquariums in his bedroom, all bursting with life"). Nedimyer continued to pursue his love of the ocean, first in live rock farming, which then led to his successful efforts in growing corals and replenishing reefs. There's a lot to this story, and at the same time it's a quick brush of science, conservation, and a life well lived. The early years of Nedimyer's life are simply told, but readers may be a bit lost from the start if they aren't already familiar with coral and algae. The concluding glossary is pretty technical. Teachers and librarians would do well to pair this with any of the fine children's books on coral reefs listed in the bibliography. Forsythe's broad pastel sketches sweep viewers along nicely through ocean life and human work. Explanations of coral reef decline and ways children can help urge monetary contributions to the work of restoring the reefs conclude this riveting title. VERDICT A book that can be used in so many ways-a study in biography, science, conservation, and volunteerism. A must for nonfiction collections.-Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Messner draws a poetic analogy between people and corals in this story of Ken Nedimyer, founder of the Coral Restoration Foundation: "Some drift in the currents until they come to rest, not too deep, on the ocean floor. If one is lucky, it lands in a place where it can grow." Messner describes Nedimyer's upbringing in Florida, where he is entranced by the ocean-a passion that continues into his adulthood as he works to cultivate marine life on rocks for use in aquariums. This endeavor sparks an idea to plant healthy colonies in dying coral reefs. Readers are likely to be intrigued by the hands-on process of regrowing the reefs: "With a careful dab of epoxy-just the size of a Hershey's Kiss-volunteers attach the coral colonies. Piece by piece, arm by arm. Hoping they will grow on their own." Forsythe's grainy scenes of Nedimyer diving are infused with a golden glow that emanates from the healthy coral colonies-a hint at the wonder that ocean life inspires in the subject. Messner delivers a quiet homage to Nedimyer and the power of innovation. Ages 5-8. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

Growing up, Ken Nedimyer enjoyed watching Jacques Cousteau on TV, snorkeling in the Florida Keys, and maintaining the many aquariums in his bedroom. One hot summer when he was older, he noticed that the coral reefs he loved were dying. Years later, operating a live rock farm (growing invertebrates such as algae and sponges for aquariums), Ken and his daughter tried a new idea: gluing small coral colonies to limestone surfaces that had once supported a healthy reef. The transported coral grew, reproduced, and flourished, offering hope for reef restoration around the world. Messner brings a good story to light and chooses intriguing facts and ideas to include. She points out that although Ken's father was a NASA engineer and the boy watched space-bound rockets taking off near their home, it was the ocean that captivated him and led to his life's work. Ken's gradual growth from boy to man is evident mainly in Forsythe's strong, expressive, luminous illustrations, which include many underwater scenes showing divers in action. An engaging and informative picture book.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2018 Booklist