I was lucky and recently had Mother of Sharks by Melissa Cristina Marquez fall into my lap (well, in my hands). Not due until late May/early June 2023, Marquez’s story is one we all need to know as it is not just about a woman, or a woman of color, or about science, or the ocean. It is all of that and a fun book to boot. Taking fiction and fact, she tells her story through the eyes of a young girl. We do not know who this child is (not until the magical reveal at the end), but you have your suspicions. We learn how cool the ocean is as our young heroine takes an adventure in the ocean of Puerto Rico. With her new crab friend, Jaiba, the dream adventure of a lifetime happens. We follow the to their finally destination, a ship, and a woman who lets us know a secret or two.
The illustrations of Devin Elle Kurtz are bold, bright, colorful, detailed and continue the theme of realistic and fantastical. They are terribly contemporary and meant to engage the reader. I may or may not be looking for more work by them, but I am envious of the fact their publisher biography information says they live with thirty-three houseplants! (I’m lucky to keep two alive. I don’t know if I told you, but I once killed a cactus.)
All ages can enjoy, but the younger listeners might find it a bit long. And though it is a picture book, even up to first and second grade could read it solo or have it as a read-aloud (I would not have minded it as even a third grader myself). A lot is going on, yet it is also a simple story about a woman, her dream, and her hopes for the future.