It’s the Season for Learning About the Sea

The year’s Shark Week reminds us of how many shark enthusiasts we have at TCS, eager to learn about these ancient and wildly diverse animals, including the legendary apex predators among them. There’s no better time than summer to feed a child’s curiosity about life in the deep, whether you’re beachcombing for shells or admiring colorful nudibranchs and native sandbar sharks at the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk. We hope that fun events like Shark Week spark our students’ interest in learning about and protecting these amazing species.

One picture book we highly recommend for our shark fans is Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist. It’s the story of a half-Japanese, half-American girl, born in 1922, who is determined to study the oceans. Eugenie falls in love with marine life at 9 years old after visiting an aquarium in New York City. She ignores the people who tell her that girls are not “smart enough to be scientists or brave enough to explore the oceans” and studies zoology and ichthyology at college. (One of the beautiful illustrations by Marta Álvarez Miguéns shows her working in the library while imaginary sharks peer at her from behind the shelves.) In the 1940’s, Eugenie becomes a pioneer in using scuba gear to conduct scientific research, discovering three new species of fish on her early dives. Her favorite species are sharks, though, and she works tirelessly to dispel their reputation as mindless killing machines, even training wild sharks to perform tasks to show their capabilities. As the Shark Lady, she proves to the world that sharks are intelligent, compelling and deserving of protection. Written by an accomplished biologist, Jess Keating, this biography encourages readers to pursue a dream, even one “as big as a whale shark.”

Enjoy these summery days!


P.S. On May 4 of this year, the U.S. Postal Service honored Eugenie Clark by issuing a Forever stamp—showing a shark and Eugenie in diving gear—on what would have been her 100th birthday.