Author Interview with Joan Holub

I am excited to partner with The Children’s Book Review and author Joan Holub to bring you this special author interview. Joan is the author of almost 200 books. I had the opportunity to interview her about her latest book, I Am the Shark, a picture book that mixes fiction and non-fiction. Be sure to check out the giveaway at the end of the interview.

1. I Am the Shark shares a lot of facts about different types of sharks. Will you tell us a little bit about the research process for writing a book like this?

I just counted my source books—sixteen! I also watched YouTube videos, some from aquariums that have sharks and others showing sharks in their natural habitat. Fascinating stuff. I was surprised to find contradictions in the facts I gathered, which sometimes made things challenging. Like many of my books (Little Red Writing; Zero the Hero), I Am the Shark is a blend of fiction and non-fiction. My primary goal is always to entertain kids. My secondary goal is to teach without being teachy. So while the fictional story entertains, the facts I gathered are gently woven in.

2. What was the most surprising discovery you made while researching this topic?  

So many discoveries … There are 500 species of sharks around the world! … The Tiger Shark is nicknamed the garbage can of the ocean because it eats things like car tires and clocks (which unfortunately sometimes wind up in our oceans). … Sharks are important to the health of our oceans and therefore to our overall environment. As predators, they help keep the earth’s ecosystem in balance. Which benefits us all.

3. What first got you interested in writing about sharks?

The name Great White Shark. I thought: What if my name was Great Joan Holub? That “great” adjective might be hard to live up to. That became my underlying theme for the book: self-esteem. In I Am the Shark, GWS keeps trying to figure out what makes him so “great” compared to other sharks. He eventually decides, “All the other sharks are better than me. Maybe I should change my name to Just-Okay White Shark or Not-So-Great White Shark.” A little friend helps him realize that everyone’s different, and it’s great to be who you are!

4. The great white shark is the main character in this book. Is that your favorite type of shark? 

It’s the most well-known shark because of the famous Jaws film, and the one I (and probably kids) are most aware of. So kids might assume the GWS has it all and is confident among its ocean peers, in the same way I viewed the popular kids back in school. Kids (and grown-ups) often compare themselves to others, sometimes unfavorably. I want kids to feel confident in being who they are. I hope I Am the Shark’s message of self-acceptance helps boost their confidence and self-esteem while making them giggle as they learn about sharks.

5. The end of the book gives us a hint that you might be working on a book about another animal. Could you tell us about your next project? 

Yes! There’s a teaser toward the end of I Am the Shark that reveals the star of my second picture book in this series with (the truly great) Laurie Keller. Here are a few hints about what creature that will be: It’s big. It’s hairy. It’s growly. It has small round ears and curved claws. Can you guess what it is? Fill in the book title: I Am the _ _ _ _.

ENTER HERE for a chance to win an I Am the Shark prize pack!

One (1) grand prize winner receives:

  • A hardcover copy of I Am the Shark, autographed by Joan Holub
  • A child-size shark print art/cooking apron
  • A $50 Target gift card

Two (2) winners receive:

  • A hardcover copy of I Am the Shark, autographed by Joan Holub

The giveaway begins March 26, 2021, at 12:01 A.M. MT and ends April 26, 2021, at 11:59 P.M. MT.

Written by Joan Holub

Illustrated by Laurie Keller

Ages 4-8 | 48 Pages

Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers

ISBN-13: 978-0525645283

Publisher’s Synopsis: Hi! I am Great White Shark, and if you get this book, you’ll read all about ME–the greatest shark in the sea!

Not so fast! Greenland Shark here, and as the oldest shark in this book, that makes me the greatest.

Did someone say fast? I’m Mako Shark, and I’m the fastest shark in this book! Eat my bubbles!

Wow, I’m Hammerhead Shark. You don’t need my special eyes to see that there are lots of great sharks in this book. Sink your teeth into it now!

New York Times bestselling author Joan Holub makes a splash with bestselling illustrator Laurie Keller to deliver an entertaining undersea story that encourages self-acceptance and self-esteem, and is filled with humor and the greatest shark facts in the ocean!

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