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The book “The Littlest Sea Hugger” adapts a real-life situation into something kids can use as they think about climate change. Photo courtesy Sea Hugger

Growing up, Shell Cleave’s mother instilled in her a desire to keep her environment clean. The simple task of picking up litter, even though it wasn’t hers, resonated with her. That commitment is embodied by Cleave’s Coastside-based nonprofit, Sea Hugger. 

True to the mission of her nonprofit, Cleave recently set out to create an approachable and educational book for children in the face of a climate crisis. In October, Cleave self-published the “The Littlest Sea Hugger,” a tale based on her grandson, Gio.

The book was illustrated by local artist and friend Rose Zilber and creates an approachable educational model for children to learn and act to combat the climate issues they see. “The Littlest Sea Hugger” describes Gio’s journey throughout Half Moon Bay as he learns about climate change and the impact of plastic pollution. It’s based on a true story and references the beached plastic-plagued gray whale that washed ashore in Half Moon Bay in May 2015. 

The book is now available online at and at Coastside Books. Mavericks Surf Co. will host a pop-up shop with Sea Hugger to promote the book from 4 to 8 p.m. on Thursday. 

“We took that true story and very real feelings and turned them into opportunities for action,” Cleave said. 

Those opportunities are exemplified in the book’s final two pages, which offer a multitude of ways for children and adults to be a part of the solution, not the pollution. Tips include toting reusable utensils and bottles and keeping storm drains clean. It’s especially targeted for families on the coast. 

 “We feel that’s very empowering because people do care and want to make a difference but don’t necessarily know what to do,” Cleave said. “We want this book to be in the hands of families all over the world.”

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