Sharks up Close by Jim Abernethy and Jennifer R. Nolan

Sharks up Close by Jim Abernethy and Jennifer R Nolan. Photography by Jim Abernethy

I have an interesting habit of buying books and not reading them for an untold amount of time, and that includes my nonfiction library as well. I buy books on sale, when I visit local bookshops and aquariums, or if I have coupons I want to use. I really do want to read the books—I swear! Sometimes my attention gets taken by something else.

Sharks up Close was one of those books that I bought from an aquarium a few years ago, and the other day I finally sat down to read it. The book is written by Jim Abernethy and Jennifer R. Nolan with a forward written by Shawn Heinrichs, another photographer and conservationist. However, it’s not Shawn’s photos that the book uses. All the photography is done by Jim Abernethy himself, and let me tell you, his photos are gorgeous.

I met Jim Abernethy during my early years of college when he had been giving a talk on sharks and his own journey with conservation. His talk was so inspiring, I just had to have Sharks up Close to help show support.

The book is very easy to follow and was obviously written for a younger audience, but I would argue that adults will find it interesting as well. Each topic is introduced by asking a question. The topics range from anatomy to behavior to conservation. The language is very straightforward, they do a wonderful job talking about each topic without using too much technical jargon.

I really enjoyed the question-answer format, because a lot of the questions in the book I’ve been asked by other people. It was very helpful to read and I think it may help out parents as well, especially if their children are enthusiastic about sharks!

Towards the end of the book, it talks about conservation efforts and the nature of shark finning. It’s not an easy topic to read about, personally, I find it horrific whenever I read about the issue. That topic may be tough on some kids, especially with some of the photos. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not terribly graphic but it may upset some of the more sensitive readers. The book ends on a positive note by listing ways in which we can help with shark conservation.

I recommend this book as a gift for anyone interested in sharks. The photography is amazing and the language is very easy to understand. I believe it would be a perfect gift for a child, and an interesting book to read together!


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