Beach Reads

Three books take us on trips to beaches along the shores of the ocean and river.

fall leaf on beach

By Cindy Bilbao

mudlarking book

Mudlark: In Search Of London’s Past Along The River Thames

By Lara Maiklem

Beachcombers love nothing more than being near the shoreline, where the smell of the water resonates through their souls as they search for treasures. It can be a meditative experience that draws people in and keeps them coming back for more. But could searching for treasures through a muddy riverbank have that same allure?

I’ve never been to London or walked the River Thames, so I couldn’t imagine what the mudlarking experience would be like—that is until I read Lara Maiklem’s book. An experienced writer and mudlark, her words are like a painter’s brush, allowing me to envision exactly what she was experiencing. I could feel the mud, smell the fragrance of it, hear it squish in her “wellies,” taking her on a journey of exploration and introspection.

In Mudlark, we learn about centuries of artifacts that tell stories of kings and queens, as well as everyday Londoners. Lara has expertly researched many of her discoveries and aptly captures their provenance from the perspective of each find’s time period in a compelling way. The chapters are broken down into sections of the river (a map at the beginning of the book helps the reader visualize this) and each area has its own interesting story, but it’s also Lara’s story. She is intimately tied to the river, while clues to her ancestors are given to her from the mud. More than a history lesson, in this book we get to know Maiklem as she finds solace and peace from the river.

beach glass book

Beach Glass: Finding New Beauty In What Survives The Storm

By Linda Haffner Binley

Drawing inspiration from the beach glass treasures she finds in the sand, author Linda Haffner Binley relays stories of her life along the coast of Southern California, her years of motherhood, and sisterhood with friends. Each book chapter corresponds to a different beach that has played an important role in her life, sometimes conjuring up memories where life shines, or moments where life storms like the ocean. Like the water, her life is always changing directions, but her experiences continually make her wiser and beautiful like the treasures on the beach. This book is a beautiful journey through child-rearing years and days spent carefree on the beach resulting in life lessons that are imparted to us through her quiet, calming, inspirational words.

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children's book about mudlarking

Melody Goes Mudlarking

By Melody Vandermeer Letford, Joy Vandermeer Zaczyk, Roxanne Rainville

Melody is introduced to the fun of mudlarking by her grandparents during a weekend visit. She has no idea what mudlarking is or how to do it but as they spend the afternoon together exploring she learns that it can be quite exciting and a lot of fun. Along the way she meets some creatures who live in the river and help her discover the treasures she gets to find and take home. This very cute book is perfect for ages 4-8.

Learn more about mudlarking


Learn more about the experiences of mudlarks, who search the shores of rivers, bays, and seas for historical finds and other objectsArticles ›

Read more beach book recommendations from Cindy Bilbao.

This article appeared in the Beachcombing Magazine November/December 2021 issue.

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