We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2019 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year, when we can.
From sharing the life of a reptile lady last week, here’s another fierce female known as the “Shark Lady” who went on to pursue her passion, and proved a lot of people wrong with her scientific discoveries.
Written by Jess Keating Illustrated by Marta Alvarez Miguens
Published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky (2017).
ISBN: 1492642045 (ISBN13: 9781492642046)
Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.
One of the common threads in Joan Procter’s life (see my review of Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor here) and Eugenie Clark’s is that they found their “calling” or “thorn” (as we call it in gifted education literature) early on in life.
As a child, Eugenie became enamoured with sharks. Evidently, she is no ordinary girl. Her interest was no passing fancy, as she took it upon herself to commit to knowing more about them by “deep diving” into books and actual studies, so that she would gain an expertise in the area:
I really enjoyed how the author made a play in words, using swimming/diving as the primary metaphor throughout the narrative. There was a cohesiveness in the story as a function of this, not to mention Miguens’ colourful art.
As she grew older, many were still telling Eugenie what to do. Forget those sharks. Be a secretary! Be a housewife! Eugenie wanted to study zoology, but some of her professors thought women weren’t smart enough to be scientists or brave enough to explore the oceans.
Naturally, Eugenie proved them wrong. Her life was living proof that you can do the exact opposite of what people expect you to do, and succeed tremendously at it.
More importantly, Eugenie used her scientific research findings to prove that sharks were not as dangerous as people originally thought they were (in fact, men were more of a hazard to them than anything else). She also used her life’s work to preserve and protect these magnificent sea creatures.
I was fascinated by the “shark bites” found at the end of the story, as well as the Eugenie Clark timeline, indicating that Eugenie celebrated her 92nd birthday in 2014 by “scuba diving with a group of divers in Jordan and Israel.” Now, that’s truly living a rich and meaningful life. This is definitely a book that should be read by all young people everywhere: inspiring, engaging, and uplifting.
#WomenReadWomen2019: Country – United States of America (Jess Keating) and Spain (Marta Alvarez Miguens)