Mother of Sharks (Hardcover)

Mother of Sharks By Melissa Cristina Márquez, Devin Elle Kurtz (Illustrator) Cover Image

Mother of Sharks (Hardcover)


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Forbes 30 Under 30 Honoree and globally renowned shark scientist Melissa Cristina Márquez teams up with award-winning illustrator Devin Elle Kurtz to create an informative, powerful picture book. With lyrical writing and gorgeous art, this moving story explores Melissa’s personal journey from inquisitive ocean-loving child in Puerto Rico to becoming the Mother of Sharks.

As the sun sets over another gorgeous day at la Playita Del Condado in Puerto Rico, Meli doesn't want to go home. She loves the ocean more than anything, and with only five minutes left at the beach, she knows exactly where her last stop should be: the tidal pools. They are small universes of their own teeming with critters and creatures of the ocean. While looking into the pools, she meets a crab, Jaiba, who takes her on a dreamlike underwater adventure, teaches her about the importance of shark conservation, and reveals Meli's ultimate destiny: to become the Mother of Sharks.  

Blending the autobiographical with the fantastical, Melissa Cristina Márquez shares her incredible story not only to dispel myths about these misunderstood creatures but also to pave the way for Latinas in STEM. Paired with Devin Elle Kurtz's vibrant, emotive illustrations, this picture book is an irresistible journey through the wonders of the ocean and, above all, a rallying cry for marine conservation.
Melissa Cristina Márquez (she/her) is a fiercely proud Hispanic marine biologist, wildlife educator, professional speaker, and presenter. She has given two TEDx talk on sharks and female scientists, and her work has been highlighted in NPR, Allure, Disney+, BBC, National Geographic, Good Morning America, and more. In 2021, Melissa was featured on the Forbes 30 Under 30: Science list and the InStyle “50 Badass Women” list. Melissa holds a BA in Marine Ecology and Conservation from New College of Florida and an MSc in Marine Biology from Victoria University. Born in Puerto Rico and raised in Mexico, Melissa aims to bring attention to the importance of diversity and inclusion with her writing.

Devin Elle Kurtz (she/her) lives in San Diego, California, with her dog, Kira, and her thirty-three houseplants. She's been painting in Photoshop since the age of two when her artist mom first offered her a tablet pen. This is her debut picture book as an illustrator! Visit her online at
Product Details ISBN: 9780593523582
ISBN-10: 059352358X
Publisher: Penguin Workshop
Publication Date: May 30th, 2023
Pages: 48
Language: English
“Readers will soak up the vividly illustrated underwater scenes alongside the important message to follow their passions… children from marginalized backgrounds will be especially heartened by Márquez’s encouraging tale… A magical story for budding scientists.” —Kirkus Reviews