Volvo Car UK Releases Children's Book to Inspire the Next Generation of Ocean Guardians

Date posted: 15 February 2019

Industry News


One in five children in the UK have never set foot on a British beach*. A fact that primary school teacher-cum-‘oceaneer’ Tom Franklin is on a mission to reverse

With many of us pledging to cut down on plastic use as part of our New Year’s resolutions, Tom has gone a step further and made it his lifetime’s mission to inspire children to do the same and look after our seas.

As a passionate surfer, over the years Tom has seen first-hand the damage that neglectful environmental practices, particularly plastics pollution can cause our seas and its ecosystems. But when he transferred to an inner-city school, he was shocked to discover that many of the children had never stepped foot on a beach so had no concept of what impact this has. So in 2017 he set up a not-for-profit social enterprise, 'City Kids Surfing', that funds trips for inner-city children down to Cornwall to experience the sea for the first time and teach them the value and importance of protecting our oceans.


But to help reach a far wider audience, he has now collaborated on a short children’s book, ‘The Day the Ocean Went Away’ in partnership with Volvo Car UK. The story, just launched on Amazon, is about a little boy called Jack, who loves the ocean and wakes up one morning to discover that it has completely disappeared. He journeys across the dry seabed to find out why, meeting all sorts of beleaguered ocean creatures along the way; from a plastic bag filled blue whale to a mermaid caught up in plastic fishing nets. Jack soon discovers why the ocean might want to disappear.

Tom explains, “How can a child love and protect something they have little or no connection to? I wanted to find a way to spread the message of the importance of looking after the world’s oceans farther. My hope is that this book sparks an appreciation of the fragility of the ocean and introduces children to the concept of sustainability in a fun way they can relate to.”


Tom has also written an accompanying lesson plan to support the messages in the book. And at the back of the book, children are encouraged to make a promise about what they’ll do to make a difference - called #Ipromise - and then, much like a New Year’s resolution, write down what their pledge is to help them stick to it.

The book comes off the success of ‘The Unseen Ocean’, shown below, a short film made by Volvo Car UK in partnership with Sky Atlantic which focuses on Tom’s story. Just like the film, the book teaches a valuable lesson about fragility. 

Volvo Cars has one of the most ambitious sustainability programmes in the automotive sector and ‘The Day the Ocean Went Away’ supports its global initiative to fight plastic pollution and improve sustainability practices, both in its cars and in the wider world. By 2025, Volvo aims for at least 25% of the plastics in its newly launched cars to be made from recycled materials, and to make its global manufacturing operations climate-neutral. Volvo also aims to eliminate single-use plastic from its offices and events by the end of 2019.

In September last year, Volvo also became the first and only car maker to endorse the G7 Ocean Plastics Charter, which commits governments to take concrete steps towards addressing the issue of ocean plastics pollution.

All proceeds from the book, which launches this week on Amazon, priced £7.99 will go towards 'City Kids Surfing' to fund future trips.


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