The Last Unexplored Place on Earth: Investigating the Ocean Floor with Alvin the Submersible

by Aly Brown (Author)

Reading Level: 4th − 5th Grade

Dive into the world of Alvin the Submersible, as award winning journalist Aly Brown shares the stories of what lies beneath the waves, including lost hydrogen bombs, underwater volcanoes, storied shipwrecks, and hundreds of new species.

Humans have explored the far reaches of the globe, from the top of Mount Everest to Badwater Basin--a stretch of land 282 feet below sea level. But for most of our time on this planet, the ocean has been a huge mystery. It's only in the last 50 years that scientists have really started studying the ocean floor, with the help of one amazing creation: Alvin the submersible. A deep-sea vessel that can sink miles below the surface with three people inside, Alvin and its crew have uncovered a treasure trove of information in the last fifty years.

From tracking down lost hydrogen bombs to exploring underwater volcanoes to capturing footage of storied shipwrecks, there's so much waiting to be discovered beneath the waves! Join award winning journalist Aly Brown as she dives into the wonders of Alvin's world and see for yourself what lies in the last unexplored place on earth!

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Copious references round out this engaging STEAM offering.

Kirkus Reviews

"Pretty neat!" as the author puts it. Readers will agree. 

School Library Journal

Starred Review

Gr 4-7--People have explored every continent in our world, and yet the ocean is still mostly untouched. That's where the submarine Alvin comes in. The vessel has helped discover amazing things in the ocean, such as the Titanic's wreckage, volcanic ridges, wrecks at the bottom of the Black Sea, seemingly impossible life at the bottom of the ocean, and more! All of this is possible in a tiny sub that only fits three people and can go up to 21,000-ft below the surface of the ocean. This fascinating book gives the history of the Alvin sub and how its invention and upgrades have now made it possible to explore up to 99 percent of the ocean. It has been around for 50 years and is still making amazing discoveries. This book is not just about the sub, but about the scientists who have been lucky enough to ride in it and the discoveries they've made. The book includes an expansive bibliography featuring recorded archives and interviews, books and articles, press releases, government documents, and more. Within each chapter there are reference excerpts with interesting side notes, fact bubbles, and lots of photographs from Alvin's journeys. Some of the reference bubbles are a little hard to read as the words seem to run into each other. VERDICT A comprehensive and engaging addition to nonfiction sections, where subjects like exploration, engineering, and oceans are popular.--Kristin J. Anderson

Copyright 2023 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Brown retraces Alvin's storied career with frequent references to oral histories and interviews with many pilots and passengers... she offers vivid impressions of the exhilarating rewards: the excitement of plunging into the deep's unexplored reaches, where any moment could bring some fresh new biological or geophysical discovery... "Pretty neat!" as the author puts it. Readers will agree. —Kirkus, starred review

This upbeat account ... weaves in science and technology supported by judiciously placed sidebars, archival photographs, and simple experiments... Copious references round out this engaging STEAM offering. —Booklist

Aly Brown
Aly Brown is a novelist, a newspaper copy editor/assistant managing editor, and an award-winning journalist. By day, she chases stories, edits page proofs, and gets mad at production for turning off the coffee maker prematurely ("Who made that choice for everyone?"). By night, she escapes into her imagination to create her own stories and worlds. Given her split writing life, she is admittedly torn on her feelings toward the Oxford comma.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Feiwel & Friends
Publication date
October 17, 2023
BISAC categories
JNF037070 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Science & Nature | Earth Sciences - Water (Oceans, Lakes, Etc.)
JNF057020 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Transportation | Boats, Ships & Underwater Craft
Library of Congress categories
Instructional and educational works
Ocean bottom
Alvin (Submarine)

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