Interview with Jenna Waldman 

I recently spoke with Jenna Waldman about her amazing book SHARKBOT SHALOM.


Favorite species of shark?

I have two! (I’m a gemini, we get to be indecisive!) I love whale sharks, because even though they can be 39 ft long, they are SO cute. I also think goblin sharks are amazing—check out what they can do with their jaws, wow! My boys have a few shark encyclopedias that we’ve poured over. Sharks are incredible creatures!

Balloons or flowers?

Flowers, please! I love gerber daisies and sunflowers. But I wouldn’t say no to a flower shaped balloon.

Favorite cake frosting flavor?

Something lemony—tangy and not too sweet.

Who is someone you admire?

My grandmother. Her life wasn’t always easy, and she wasn’t always an easy person. However, she divorced young and began a 47 year relationship with my “Aunt Bea”, at a time when both divorcing and being in a same-sex relationship were shunned. She passed away in 2018 at age 95, and I regret not recording her story.

Now, let’s talk about SHARKBOT SHALOM. This is such a clever and creative book. What was the inspiration behind it?

My kids! At the time I wrote Sharkbot, they loved sharks and robots. The wordplay of “Sharkbot Shalom” instead of the typical Shabbat greeting of “Shabbat Shalom”, just clicked. I teased them with it for a while, and then moved on to the PB.

Did you always intend for the main character to be a shark robot, or did you have other ideas first?

Oh yes, always a shark-bot!

More in the photos below.

Illustrations by Sharon Davey

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