Blurbs & Reviews


“An engaging travel adventure that blends art, science, and natural history. A Sea of Glass documents Drew Harvell’s quest to document the conservation status of some of the ocean’s most charismatic marine invertebrates, from sea slugs to octopuses. Inspired by her discovery of a lost collection of handblown glass animals, Harvell dives the world’s oceans to determine how their living counterparts are faring in today’s beleaguered marine ecosystems. Beautifully illustrated, A Sea of Glass is both a call to action and a loving ode to our oceans.”
Ted Danson, actor, activist, and founding member of Oceana

“This book is significant not just for its scholarship on a fragile ecosystem but also for its celebration of the symbiotic relationship between art and science.”
Dale Chihuly, American glass sculptor and founder of the Pilchuck Glass School

“A Sea of Glass weaves two amazing substances, water and glass, into a living tapestry of history, with mesmerizing stories that combine science, art, and the lives of people who, like the author, were fascinated with the menagerie of small, rarely seen sea creatures that shape the nature of the ocean and, therefore, of life on Earth. Many of these animals have sharply declined in recent decades, but knowing of their existence may inspire caring and protection for them and the living sea they—and we—need to survive.”
Sylvia Earle, National Geographic Society Explorer-in-Residence, former chief scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and founder of Mission Blue



“The author makes an eloquent plea for marine biodiversity conservation.”

(Library Journal, 5/15/2016)

“Harvell’s encounters with rarer creatures of the deep are as exciting for the reader as they were for her, but the takeaway from A Sea of Glass is an SOS call for a change in human behavior.”
(Hakai Magazine, 5/12/2016)

“Stunning photos . . . contextualize the dramatic taxonomic and ecological shifts in ocean life over the past 150 years.”

(Nature, 6/1/2016)

“Harvell seems to channel the devotion that motivated the Blaschkas.”

(The Guardian, 6/12/2016)

“A wonderful example of the intertwining of science and art where each expression of the wonders of the human mind sparks another.”

(The Explorers Journal, 7/1/2016)

“Curator and marine ecologist Harvell recounts her quest to find the living versions of the creatures and the scientific insights the 150-year-old glass replicas still provide.” – The Best “Art Meets Science” Books of 2016

(, 12/2/2016)

“Both the Blaschka collection and Harvell’s work certainly stand the test of time as a testimony to the beauty and magnificence of the oceans’ majesty and wonder.”

(CHOICE, 2/1/2017)

“Beautifully written, multifaceted book . . . opens the doors of marine ecology to new audiences at a critical time.”

(Resurgence & Ecologist Magazine, 3/1/2017)

“You will want this book and then you will want to give it to one and all for a delightful and stimulating introduction to our wonderful ocean creatures.”

(The Quarterly Review of Biology, 3/1/2017)

“Dear Professor Harvell,

I am a 4th grade girl named Anna.  For school this year I have been reading your book, “A Sea of Glass”. Before reading this, I’d hadn’t realized the ocean was at such risk. Now I realize that this is much more serious then I had thought. The sea really is like the Blaschkas’ glass models, so fragile and easily broken.

I loved learning about the octopus. I am now fascinated by its ability to change color and texture. Its intelligence is amazing as well. Sea slugs too, I am fascinated with. It’s amazing how they can take the venom of their prey and use that venom for themselves. Jellyfish, with their beautiful look and stinging tentacles. The amazing corals, which play such a big role in our Ecosystems. All these beautiful animals are hard to imagine going extinct. I am curious to know how whales and dolphins are faring as well. It’s hard to imagine with all that’s happening to our oceans that they doing very well. And has anything more been learned about the deaths of all these sea stars?

Good luck in preserving this fragile ocean, it is like a sea of glass.

Sincerely, Anna.”

(Anna Henry, 3/24/2019)