Fatima grows up on an idyllic island in the Lakshadweep, watched over by Nihla, the moon. She falls in love with the underwater world of colourful corals, fascinating fish, mysterious manta rays, grizzled old turtles and dancing dolphins.  One day, in a terrible storm, she gets lost at sea.

Join Fatima on her incredible adventure on remote islands with wonderful marine creatures.


  • Moonlight in the Sea follows the story of a little girl called Fatima. Fatima lives on a tiny island in the Lakshadweep and grows up learning to swim, fish, sail, and live peacefully within a large and rich marine ecosystem. Her encounters with the natural world and her instinctual love of the sea make Fatima want to spend her life studying the fascinating underwater world. This beautifully told story is a meditation on what it means to be close to nature.
  • The story is exceptionally well written. The language used is lyrical and atmospheric. It succeeds in invoking different moods at different moments, while also using words creatively, thus giving readers a pleasantly challenging taste of a more nuanced kind of story. The reading level is well suited to readers who are beginning the transition to chapter books but haven’t yet outgrown the appeal of large, glossy, illustrated pages.
  • Moonlight in the Sea is the perfect read for the contemporary urban child, as it urges them to think about lives that are lived in greater proximity to nature. It broaches ideas of peaceful coexistence and environmental balance without overtly preaching, but simply by showing the reader how humans and nature can sustain one another. The story portrays the natural world as something to be respected and marvelled at—whether it is the moon and the sea which lead Fatima gently out of a storm and towards the island of Suheli, or the colourful explosions of marine life which she encounters on her journeys underwater.
  • The book is also very informative, without being dense. We learn much about the marine life that Fatima sees on her diving trips underwater. In fact, these pages are as rich in visual and textual detail as an encyclopaedia! The parts dealing with life and culture on the island are equally educational, but less explicitly so. In general, information is integrated well into the larger narrative, and doesn’t stand out as segments of dry fact.
  • Author Kartik Shanker deftly combines elements of adventure, fantasy, and daily life to produce a well-rounded and satisfying story. The magical presence of the moon over the narrative is a particularly lovely touch.
  • The illustrations are the perfect accompaniment to the story. Prabha Mallya’s generous use of colour, and clear, consistent style, means that they match up in every way to the skilful writing. Whether it is the meticulously detailed underwater pages, or the vibrant scenes of island life, the pictures are a visual treat.


Moonlight in the Sea is a charming, evocative story that conveys an important and urgent message—to pay attention to, appreciate and amalgamate with the natural world around us.


Author: Kartik Shanker
Illustrator: Prabha Mallya
Language: English
Price: Not mentioned
ISBN: Not mentioned
Publisher: Dakshin Foundation, 2018
Subject Category: Fiction/Illustrated Storybook/Adventure/Nature/Marine Biology/Conservation
Age-group: 8+


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