Sharks Don't Sink: Adventures of a Rogue Shark Scientist (Hardcover)

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The uplifting story of a young Black scientist’s challenging journey to flourish outside the traditional confines of academia, inspired by her innate connection to nature’s most misunderstood animal—the shark.

"Jasmin Graham has that winning combination of talent and grit needed to excel as a scientist. Every girl who wants to be a marine biologist should have this book." —Hope Jahren, New York Times bestselling author of Lab Girl and The Story of More

Sharks have been on this planet for over 400 million years, so there is a lot they can teach us about survival and adaptability. For example: how do sharks, which unlike other fish are denser than water, stay afloat? They keep moving. When Jasmin Graham, an award-winning young shark scientist, started to feel that the traditional path to becoming a marine biologist was pulling her under, she remembered this important lesson: keep moving forward.

If navigating the choppy waters of traditional academic study was no longer worth it, then that meant creating an ocean of her own. Jasmin joined with three other Black women to form Minorities in Shark Sciences (MISS), an organization dedicated to providing support and opportunities for other young women of color. She became an independent researcher: a rogue shark scientist, seeking ways to keep these extraordinary endangered creatures swimming free—just like her.

Sharks Don’t Sink is a riveting, moving, and ultimately triumphant memoir at the intersection of science and social justice: a guidebook to how we can all learn to respect and protect some of nature’s most misunderstood and vulnerable creatures—and grant the same grace to ourselves.

About the Author

JASMIN GRAHAM is a marine biologist in the field of elasmobranch ecology and evolution, currently specializing in smalltooth sawfish and hammerhead sharks. She is the co-founder of Minorities in Shark Sciences (MISS), an organization providing support for women of color in the field of shark biology and ecology, in order to foster greater diversity in marine science. She is a recipient of the WWF Conservation Leadership Award, the Safina Launchpad Center Fellowship, and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

Praise For…


“Jasmin’s journey, along with her love of sharks, is both fascinating and inspiring, sitting at the cross section of science and social justice. This book is a triumph.”
—Emily Giffin, TODAY

—Shannon Carlin, TIME

“Graham had to face the sharp-teethed truths of academia, while creating a world of curiosity and discovery around the complex lives of sharks. To combat the racism she encountered in academia, Graham created an ‘ocean of her own’ to become an independent scientist and a champion of social justice.”
—Martha Ann Toll, NPR

Sharks Don’t Sink is a compelling tale of resilience, passion, and the transformative power of empathy and knowledge. Through Graham’s eyes, we not only gain a newfound appreciation for these incredible creatures but also of Graham’s own journey to becoming a voice for the voiceless. Through this remarkable memoir, readers will be inspired to pursue their dreams, defy expectations, and fight for a better, more inclusive future for all.”
Weike Wang, author of Chemistry and Joan Is Okay

“I reveled in Jasmin Graham’s delightful, irreverent voice. Sharks Don’t Sink is a triumph. Graham’s love of the sharks that she studies, the ocean that draws her, and her sisters in rogue science, illuminates every page.”
Susan Casey, author of The Underworld: Journeys to the Depths of the Ocean and Voices in the Ocean

“Graham beautifully illustrates her profound connection with sharks and parallels their struggles with those faced by marginalized communities around the world. Graham powerfully underscores the importance of empathy, advocacy, and the recognition of shared experiences in collectively creating a more just and equitable world for all. It's such a joy to witness Graham's intelligence, charisma and tenacity shine brightly through her writing.”
Danni Washington, author of Bold Women in Science

“Graham paints a vivid portrait of a life shaped by the rhythms of the ocean and the resilience of her community. In this book, she confronts the stark reality of a system that values output over wellbeing, advancement over authenticity. Faced with the choice to persevere or depart, Graham embarks on a journey of self-discovery and liberation that leads to the creation of an organization that is changing the very system that prioritizes profit and 'status quo' over people. Through her eyes, we glimpse a world where the true measure of wealth lies not in beachfront properties or academic titles but in the enduring bonds of family, community, and a love for the water that knows no bounds.”
—Melissa Cristina Márquez, author of Mother of Sharks and Sea of Constellations

“Jasmin Graham is one of the most influential shark scientists in the world today, and Sharks Don’t Sink should be on every marine biologist’s bookshelf. Her keen scientific mind, sense of humor, and vision for a better world shines through every page.”
David Shiffman, author of Why Sharks Matter

“This memoir about [Graham’s] journey to becoming a shark scientist will grab readers from the start. . . . Readers certainly do not need to be scientists to enjoy this exceptional, well-written book, but it’s an excellent title for people, especially women and people of color, who are considering a career in marine science. This heartfelt story offers insight into both the stresses and excitement that await them.”
Amy Lewontin, Library Journal (starred review)

“Inspiring. . . . Vivid prose . . . and Graham’s palpable enthusiasm for her work make this sing. It’s an impassioned tale of ambition and advocacy.”
Publishers Weekly

“Both inspiring and refreshing. A fine celebration of determination in the face of significant professional obstacles.”
Kirkus Reviews
Product Details
ISBN: 9780593685259
ISBN-10: 0593685253
Publisher: Pantheon
Publication Date: July 16th, 2024
Pages: 224
Language: English