Friday, July 20, 2018

SHARK LADY: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist by Jess Keating & Marta Alvarez Miguens

I don’t often review non-fiction, but this biography of Eugenie Clark has all the elements of a great fiction picture book. It’s so interesting I had to share!

Summary from Amazon:

Eugenie Clark fell in love with sharks from the first moment she saw them at the aquarium. She couldn't imagine anything more exciting than studying these graceful creatures. But Eugenie quickly discovered that many people believed sharks to be ugly and scary―and they didn't think women should be scientists.

Determined to prove them wrong, Eugenie devoted her life to learning about sharks. After earning several college degrees and making countless discoveries, Eugenie wrote herself into the history of science, earning the nickname "Shark Lady." Through her accomplishments, she taught the world that sharks were to be admired rather than feared and that women can do anything they set their minds to.

Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist, written by Jess Keating and illustrated by Marta Alvarez Miguens, was published in 2017 by SourceBooks Inc.


It was Saturday, and Eugenie wanted to stay at the aquarium forever. She wanted to smell the damp, salty air and stare at the glittery rainbow of fish. She wanted to keep watching her favorite animals…
The sharks.

My Thoughts as a Writer:

I was compelled to read this book several times, because I was so awe of the design and execution. This has everything you’d want in a picture book biography – it’s engaging for kids, has just enough sensory detail to bring the story alive, and it captures a really interesting part of Eugenie’s life close up. The illustrations are so inviting – they go perfectly with the text!

I also enjoyed the way there were more interesting facts about Eugenie’s research at the back, as well as a timeline to explore. If I were writing picture book biographies, this would definitely be one of my top choices for a mentor text.

My Thoughts as an Educator:

Sharks alone are enough to grab the interest of some students, but I was thrilled to see how well this book showcases the work and dreams of a female shark scientist. What a great role model for students! I loved how, even though the illustrations show the time period through the details and settings, they are done in a modern style with bright colors. This is not a definitely not a dry non-fiction story that will be left on the shelf. Students will love this, and hopefully be inspired to learn more about the animals or things that they are passionate about.

Ages: 4 - 7

Grades: K – 2

Themes: sharks, ocean research, women scientists


Brainstorm: If you were going to be a scientist, what creature or animal would you like to learn more about? Explain why!

Question:  Draw a picture of your favorite sea creature. What do you already know about it? What don’t you know? Write one question you would like to answer.

Draw: What would you find if you could explore the ocean? Use your imagination. 
Choose bright paints or crayons and create your own undersea illustration.

For an awesome way to ‘meet the author,’ watch this virtual visit with author Jess Keating:

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