Imagine being called the “Shark Lady” . . .
I can’t! My fear is too great to wrap my head around being calm enough, focussed enough and determined enough to dedicate my life to both studying and swimming with sharks.
With all of those teeth and those great big jaws.
Yet, reading this book allowed me to start to consider sharks from Eugenie Clark’s perspective.
I learned that sharks are many things – even, as Clark saw them – remarkable.
In Swimming with Sharks: The Daring Discoveries of Eugenie Clark by Heather Lang and illustrated by Jodi Solano (2016 Albert Whitman & Company) sharks are described as timid, sophisticated and clever.
Clark herself was remarkable: a persistent student – curious, dedicated and inspired by her subject. Clark was able to train sharks to press an underwater bell and then swim somewhere else to retrieve a food reward. She dove with sharks, swimming with them and noting all kinds of discoveries about their habits and behaviour. She was determined to learn about sharks so she could address people’s fears. Help us change our minds. See sharks in new ways.
“Sharks are magnificent and misunderstood!” This was Clark’s message to the world. Sharks need our respect and our protection.
In the back matter, Lang points out that Eugenie Clark was still swimming with sharks into her nineties. She published over 175 articles about fish in her lifetime and made 72 submersible dives.
I particularly appreciate biographies that feature passionate scientists asking questions and doing work that transforms and enhances our current understanding of a subject. Eugenie Clark was such a scientist. Her life’s work is absolutely inspiring.
A fascinating biography ideal for young naturalists. Highly recommended.
Thanks to Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy for the inspiration to read and share more nonfiction picture books in 2017. Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction books you need to read!
Thank you to Tracie Schneider for providing a copy of this beautiful book for review