Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Read Wild: Shark Week!

Happy Shark Week!  Last week I spent some time out on a local whale watching trip, but sadly we didn’t see any whales (or sharks).  It was the only trip this summer that they didn’t see any whales.  Maybe I’m bad luck? 

Luckily, Shark Week in NJ is always fun, especially for those of us who live along the Jersey Shore.  The Jersey Shore shark attacks of 1916 get a lot of play during the summer months.

The Jersey Shore shark attacks of 1916 even get highlighted in the popular juvenile fiction series I Survived

Shark Week is a little crazy these days (so many celebrity shark shows!), but sharks are still some of the most fascinating creatures in the ocean.  Why not spend some time this summer reading about these amazing creatures?  

The Line Tender by Kate Allen is one of the best books I’ve read this year.  It straddles that mystical line between upper middle grade and the entry into young adult books.  Lucy’s mom, a marine biologist who studied sharks, died a few years ago. Since then, it’s been Lucy and her dad taking care of each other.  When tragedy once against strikes Lucy, she becomes fiercely devoted to a shark research project her mother was heading up before her death. Full of gorgeous illustrations and lots of cool shark info, this is a perfect read for Shark Week! Plus, it works great with some of the current shark sightings in and around Cape Cod.  

Close to Shore: The Terrifying Shark Attacks of 1916 by Michael Capuzzo is a heart-pounding narrative nonfiction RIDE.  In 1916 the Jersey Shore was a resort paradise that people from all over the country (and even world) visited.  Over 12 days in July, everything changed. A shark (likely a great white), attacked five people and killed four of them.  One of the attacks took place ten miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean! This obviously set off wave of panic that led to shark hunts aimed at eliminating the shark(s).  This isn’t a book I’d recommend reading on the beach….

Speaking of great whites……Neighborhood Sharks by Katherine Roy is a must-read this Shark Week.  Katherine Roy was lucky enough to visit California’s Farallon Islands in 2012 to observe  the great white sharks that migrate there to dine on seals. The islands can only be visited by scientists, so Roy’s book provides a rare glimpse of these sharks in their natural habitat.  This is a stunning book that will enthrall children and adults this Shark Week.


And last but not least, you could always read Ibsen’s “An Enemy of the People” and then watch Jaws! Ibsen’s play, about the effects of pollution on a small town,  influenced Peter Benchley’s Jaws and, of course, the movie of the same name.