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People generally thought that sharks were dumb eating machines. After some study, I began to realize that these ‘gangsters’ of the deep had gotten a bad rap.

— Eugenie Clark

Whether you love them or fear them, this Children’s Book Meetup is sure to help you understand a little bit more about one of the ocean’s most well-known predators – sharks!

On Saturday, December 5, 2020 the Florida Museum and the Alachua County Library District (ACLD) met to talk all things sharks by diving into the book Swimming with Sharks, a richly illustrated picture biography of scientist Eugenie Clark’s groundbreaking shark research by Heather Lang. This event was part of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Big Read.

The NEA Big Read is a series of free events building community in Alachua County by uplifting the stories of women in science. The program is a partnership between the Florida Museum of Natural History and Alachua County Library District.

The event kicked off with an introduction to the life of famed shark scientist Eugenie Clark, (also known as the “Shark Lady”) and the various shark species found in the book by ACLD children’s librarian Lisely Laboy.

Once orientated to the book, author Heather Lang joined to tell us more about what drew her to writing about Eugenie Clark, how she researched the book, and what it was like to meet Eugenie Clark herself!

Next up, marine biologists Lindsay French, STEM Education Coordinator at the Loggerhead Marinelife Center, and Shannon Corrigan, Postdoctoral Researcher in the Florida Program for Shark Research teamed up to tell the audience more about how they became scientists, what it’s like to study sharks for a job, and even more shark facts!

Check out the full video to sink your teeth into this fin-tastic event and to hear all the questions sent in by the jaw-some audience!