Shark Stanley, the star of a grassroots campaign to protect sharks and rays, was already an international celebrity. Now he's the hero of a children's book, too.
The Adventures of Shark Stanley and Friends is available today in a special online release by Shark Defenders and Sage Magazine. The story follows Stanley, a courageous hammerhead shark, and his three companions: Pierre the Porbeagle, Waqi the Whitetip, and Manta Reina, as they navigate human perils through their undersea home. The quartet dodges longlines, harpoons, slime-covered reefs, and garbage patches, along the way discovering how sharks and other predators help keep ecosystems healthy.
The four characters correspond to the four species of sharks and rays to which the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species will consider granting increased protection at its annual meeting in March. Hammerhead, Oceanic Whitetip, and Porbeagle populations have plummeted in recent years as a result of the shark fin industry, which contributes to the death of up to 73 million sharks every year. Mantas, whose gill rakers are prized herbal medicine, are in similarly dire straits.
The book is the brainchild of Leah Meth and Onon Bayasgalan, students at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and the non-profit Shark Defenders.
“Our goal is to bring something new to the table, to provide an educational tool that goes beyond a signature on a petition,” Meth says. “We wanted to create a charismatic character with whom young people-and the young at heart-can build their own relationships, while making meaningful connections with youth around the world.”
The Adventures of Shark Stanley and Friends is written by Ben Goldfarb and Leah Meth, illustrated by Dan Yagmin, Jr., and designed by Monte Kawahara. The book is available for free download at www.sharkstanley.com.