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Jess Keating and Marta Alvarez Miguens join us today to reveal the cover for their brand new picture book, Shark Lady: The Daring Tale of How Eugenie Clark Dove Into History! Watch the video below, then keep reading to learn more about the inspiration behind the story.
Can you tell us a little bit about SHARK LADY’s story and how you came to know about Eugenie’s work with sharks?
Jess: SHARK LADY is the story of Eugenie Clark! She was a real-life scientist who studied sharks (and lots of other fish!), blazed her own trail through the world, and even rode a whale shark once. Needless to say, she was pretty amazing.
As a zoologist turned writer, I’ve always loved stories of real-life scientists who change the world with their research. Growing up, Eugenie Clark was exactly the kind of person I wanted to be. She was brave and curious, smart and passionate. I couldn’t wait to write a book about her and her daring heart. To me, this book is a love letter to the art of science itself, and how important it is to follow your dreams. We see Eugenie’s life unfold—full of challenges, obstacles, and opportunities—and learn the difference that one curious, brilliant mind can make in the world.
What materials did you use to make the illustrations in this story?
Marta: I made the illustrations digitally. First, I scanned the pencil sketches and then I added color with Photoshop.
What’s a page from the book or an excerpt from the story you’re really excited for readers to see?
Jess: I’m excited for readers to see how Marta’s incredible illustrations really bring Eugenie’s story to life. This was the first time a book of mine has been fully illustrated, and it was very emotional for me! Not only is every page dynamic and absolutely gorgeous, Marta and the art team at Sourcebooks worked with me to make sure that the animals included were depicted as accurately as possible, right down to their scientific names! Even smaller aspects—like including a reader-friendly depiction of dissection—are so important for curious kids to see in these types of books.
As for a favorite page, there is so much for readers to love! Caves full of sharks, Eugenie’s travels, and dozens of unique creatures are found on the pages. One of my favorites is of young Eugenie studying in the library, with sharks of all types swimming in her mind and in the air around her. Marta really captures the wonder and awe that kids have as they’re learning about amazing creatures.
Marta: I love the scene where Eugenie is at the Battery Park Aquarium swimming among the imaginary sharks. This is the hope we need to keep when we grow up to make all our dreams come true.
Is there anything else you’d like readers (and future scientists) to know?
Jess: Readers and future scientists! The world needs you! I want everyone who picks up this book to know how important their passions are, and like Eugenie, they can truly change the world by loving what they love.
In the words of another inspiring scientist, Brian Cox, “The world is beautiful to look at, but even more beautiful to understand.” Get out there and learn about every single thing that makes you excited. I hope this book inspires you to fill your head and your heart with everything you love! And never stop reading!
Marta: I hope they enjoy this book as much as I did and it can spark their interest in science and animals. Especially in protecting them.
Thanks for sharing the cover of SHARK LADY with all of us!
Shark Lady: The Daring Tale of How Eugenie Clark Dove Into History will be on sale from Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, beginning June 1, 2017.
Jess Keating was six years old when she dove into her neighbor’s swimming pool looking for great white sharks. She didn’t find any (Sharks are much too big for pools!), but she has spent her life learning about every creature this world has to offer. Today, she is a zoologist and author and has written several books for children, including the My Life is a Zoo trilogy and The World of Weird Animals series. To learn more about Jess, you can find her on Twitter @Jess_Keating or visit her website jesskeating.com.
Marta Alvarez is a children’s book illustrator. She was born in 1976 in a small town in Galicia and she currently lives in A Coruña (Spain).
Marta has been illustrating professionally since 2002 . She has worked for several Spanish and International Publishers illustrating education books and picture books.
Her artwork was exhibited in the International Biennal of Illustration Bratislava in 2007 and she is a member of the Galician Illustrators Association (AGPI).
She loves happy colors and cute children and animals with red, healthy cheeks. She uses digital techniques to create her pictures, which gives her more freedom to experiment with color and textures. She has also worked in gouache and watercolor.