A speed interview with Joan Holub, author of I Am the Shark
The Children’s Book Review
Joan Holub has authored and/or illustrated over 150 children’s books, including the Goddess Girls middle grade series and the Heroes in Training chapter book series (with Suzanne Williams); This Little Environmentalist: A Love-the-Earth Primer board book; the New York Times bestselling picture book Mighty Dads, illustrated by James Dean; Little Red Writing, a picture book illustrated by Melissa Sweet; and Zero the Hero, a picture book illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld. She adores line dancing to the Jaws theme, reading Sharkspeare, and vacationing in Finland.
Bianca Schulze: Which five words best describe I Am the Shark?
Joan Holub: Sharks. Facts. Funny. Self-esteem. Jawsome!
Can you share a highlight from the book? Or maybe your thoughts on, or an excerpt of, your favorite sentence, paragraph, or page?
“Just be happy being you.” (says a super-small Lantern Shark to the Great White Shark) That’s my favorite line from the book—a message of self-acceptance.
What has been the most rewarding reaction from a reader so far?
I Am the Shark swims out into the world on May 4, 2021. The reception from booksellers has been great so far. Laurie Keller (Arnie the Doughnut and The Scrambled States of America) illustrated it, and since she is super-popular, that has helped garner lots of early interest. We’re doing some virtual appearances together soon. Readers can pre-order I Am the Shark to get a bookplate autographed by us both, including a little shark sketch by Laurie!
Please share your thoughts on why you feel books like I Am the Shark are great additions to a child’s home library.
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 to boost their confidence and self-esteem while making them laugh as they learn about sharks. 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!
For your writing energy: sugar or salt, tea or coffee?
Me. Want. Sugar. Always. (Tea biscuits, chocolate chip cookies, marzipan chocolates. Yum.)
Writing tools: computer, pen and paper, or all of the above?
All of the above.
What’s on your nightstand? Any books?
My nightstand contents: Ikea lamp, phone, paper and purple felt-tip pen in case brilliant ideas strike in the night. In the mornings, I often laugh at or puzzle-over the random notes-to-self I scribbled overnight, though. I read in the evenings, so our books live in the great room.
What’s the last thing you experienced that made you laugh or cry?
Recently, we watched the film My Life As A Dog. Really good, but it brought major tears. Lucky for me, my best friend from eighth grade lives a half-hour away. She makes me laugh…all…the…time. I’m smiling just thinking about her right now.
Can you tell us something that even your most loyal fans may not know about you?
I love line dancing. I’ve been watching YouTube to learn new dances over the past year, but I look forward to classes resuming later in 2021.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
I’d love to receive pics of kids, parents, or pets enjoying I Am the Shark, or images of shark crafts our book inspired, to share on social media. Please send to joanholub at aol.com.
For more information, visit joanholub.com.
I Am the Shark
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!
“I Am the Shark is a fun and fascinating picture book that would be fantastic both within and beyond the classroom!” — The Children’s Book Review
“This title will be swimming off the shelves.” —Kirkus Reviews
Buy the Book
This speed interview with Joan Holub was conducted by Bianca Schulze. For similar books and articles, follow along with our content tagged with Creative Non-Fiction, Fact Books, Ocean Animals, and Sharks. Be sure to follow along with our Speed Interview series, too.