Dr Ellen Prager, nationally recognized Marine Scientist, author, and on-air contributor to NBC, (known to many of you from our very own Sea Dwellers Dive Center Reunion Weekend), has been kind enough to offer a guest Blog for our Key Largo Dive Blog based on her newest book…enjoy!
Imagine if there was a Harry Potter for the oceans! How many new divers and ocean advocates would it inspire? Millions? What if some of the funds generated could be put back into ocean education, conservation, and science. And along the way, both young and those young-at-heart enjoyed reading, laughing, and felt like they were exploring the sea.
It’s a lofty, but wonderful dream. And one I hope to achieve in some small way with my newly released book, The Shark Whisperer (Scarletta Press). It is the first book in a new middle grade fiction series entitled, Tristan Hunt and the Sea Guardians. The 5-book series targets 8 to 12 year-olds, but adults seem to be enjoying it as well. The books are fast-paced action adventure novels, which include humor and learning about sea creatures, marine habitats, and ocean issues.
Some pretty cool undersea locations and experiences (often based on real life) are integrated into the stories. Book number one takes readers and the main characters to the Florida Keys and Exuma Islands, Bahamas. In book two, they’re headed to the British Virgin Islands and while I am just writing book three; Monterey, California and Grand Cayman are in the mix (you’re the first to know). Book four and five locations remain undecided, though I have a few fun ideas and am open to suggestions.
Appearing in the books are dolphins (who doesn’t like dolphins), sharks, eagle rays, parrotfish, squid, octopus, seabirds, and more. At a wildlife rehab center in the first book, there’s a shark getting dentures, a farsighted scallop, an overindulgent moray eel, and look for a mantis shrimp with anger management issues in book two. There’s also an evil shark-finning, coral reef blasting villain in book one and lots of high-tech undersea technology in book two.
No imagine if you could have some of the capabilities of your favorite sea creatures. What would they be: Maybe echolocation, fast and long swimming underwater, camouflage, or one of my favorites, mucus deployment skills. The main characters discover they have just such special undersea powers (if only I did). But I don’t want to give too much away. And in the back of the book there is a note about what is fantasy and what is based on real ocean science.
So far, the response has been fantastic. Kids (and their parents) can’t seem to put down The Shark Whisperer. I’ve even gotten emails begging for book two, which has yet to be published (Spring 2015). And the book has already gone back for a second printing.
If you love the ocean and marine life, have kids that like to read or are reluctant readers, and you share my dream for building the next generation of divers, ocean stewards, and protecting the sea, I hope you’ll help spread the word and maybe even buy the book (it’s cheap at about $10 at national booksellers or most anywhere online). And if you want to suggest a location, cool undersea experience, or sea creature for one of the next books, go to www.tristan-hunt.com to learn more and email me!
And thanks to Rob and Jeff at Sea Dwellers Dive Center of Key Largo for always providing a great dive and ocean inspiration – hope to get down there again some time soon!
Dr. Ellen Prager is a marine scientist, author, avid diver/snorkeler, and formerly the chief scientist at the world’s only undersea research station. She is a frequently requested speaker and has recently been hired as an on-air ocean expert by NBC News. To learn more about her go to www.earth2ocean.net