Shark Week: Meet Author Ame Dyckman
Ame Dyckman is a New York Times bestselling children’s author who shares her New Jersey home with her family, cat, and a variety of book characters. (She’s convinced her neighbors that her newest character, Shark, is simply a goldfish with a glandular condition. Shhh! Don’t tell!)
What is your favorite shark and why?
My favorite shark is Shark, the spotlight-stealing great white shark from my newest picture book (soon-to-be-series), MISUNDERSTOOD SHARK. (Incredibly illustrated by Scott Magoon and published by our pals at Scholastic.) Shark’s the most FINTASTIC shark there ever was!
Shark’s, um… HANDSOME!
(Shark MAY have been reading over my shoulder just a moment ago! WHEW!)
2. What is one shark you would love to see/swim with?
OOH! Good question! I’d love to see and swim with a whale shark, the largest and one of the gentlest—
OW! Quit poking me, Shark!
I mean, um, I’d love to see and swim with Shark. Just Shark.
3. What inspired you to write Misunderstood Shark?
Like a lot of grown-ups, I was afraid of sharks. But a lot of kids think sharks are AWESOME. The more I looked into why, the more I saw sharks really ARE awesome—they just get a bum rap. Not to say sharks WON’T eat when they’re hungry or when they think something smells good, but in almost all interactions with people, sharks really aren’t trying to eat us. Thought it was time to share that. Like one of Bob Jellyfish’s Fun Facts from our book: “You’re thousands of times more likely to be bitten by another person than bitten by a shark. And THAT’s a fact!”
4. Do you thinks sharks are misunderstood? Why?
Sharks really ARE just misunderstood! They can’t help that they seem scary. They can’t help that they have rows of razor-sharp teeth. They can’t help that they have huge appeti—
HEY! Where’s my tuna melt? I left it RIGHT HERE. SHARRRK!
Oh. Shark says I misunderstood. He didn’t eat my sandwich. He’s just “keeping it warm for me.”
EW! You can keep it, Shark!
But, see? Shark was just trying to help!
5. Is it important for kids to learn facts about sharks instead of fear? Do you think your book helps with this?
Kids who learn facts about sharks won’t grow up to fear them like I once did. By making Shark a character (with a whole lot of CHARACTER!) and by peppering our book with shark Fun Facts (including the one about shark bites being really, really rare), we’re hoping all kids AND their grown-ups will see sharks as fascinating instead of ferocious—
Fine. AND handsome, too. (Just humor him, folks!)
6. Are books important for shark conservation?
Absolutely! Books (whether non-fiction or a mix of humorous fiction and facts like in MISUNDERSTOOD SHARK) are a GREAT way to promote understanding and caring about sharks and their important role in our marine ecosystem. And caring about something is the first step to saving it.
7. What message do you hope readers take away from your book?
Sharks aren’t bad! They’re just MISUNDERSTOOD!
Now if you’ll excuse me, I hafta go get Shark out of my neighbors’ pool. AGAIN. (He says he’s just trying to make friends…)
For the hilarious MISUNDERSTOOD SHARK book trailer, a quiz about sharks, fun downloadables and more, visit Scholastic’s MISUNDERSTOOD SHARK page:
Look for the sequel to MISUNDERSTOOD SHARK (title/cover reveal SOON) in February, 2019!
Visit Ame (and Shark!) on Twitter: @AmeDyckman