Shark Girl


Jane finds a way to tell her story through free verse.

So, what is a free verse?

Free verse is a form of poetry that refrains from meter patterns, rhyme, or any other musical pattern. Some poets have explained that free verse, despite its freedom, must still display some elements of form. Most free verse, for example, self-evidently continues to observe a convention of the poetic line in some sense, at least in written representations, thus retaining a potential degree of linkage, however nebulous, with more traditional forms.



Personal Accounts

Facts & Myths

Life as an Amputee

Shark Attack Caught on Tape

Survivor for Shark Conservation

Participatory Journalism

iReporting on CNN



Shark Girl

by Kelly Bingham


On a sunny day in June, at the beach with her mom and brother, fifteen-year-old Jane Arrowood went for a swim. And then everything — absolutely everything — changed. Now she’s counting down the days until she returns to school with her fake arm, where she knows kids will whisper, "That’s her — that’s Shark Girl," as she passes. In the meantime, there are only questions: Why did this happen? Why her? What about her art? What about her life? In this striking first novel, Kelly Bingham uses poems, letters, telephone conversations, and newspaper clippings to look unflinchingly at what it’s like to lose part of yourself - and to summon the courage it takes to find yourself again.


Your Task:

Your task is very simple:  You are to follow the links below to get a better understanding of the real life events that inspired this novel.

Many of the websites that you will be visiting hold a vast amount of information about this topic. However, because we are pressed for time, it will be up to you to decide how much time you are to spend on each site. 

You are welcome to visit this site again from home if you would like to learn more.  However, use your time wisely to complete this project during your assigned lab time before you go off course exploring. 

Here are some things to remember while answering you questions:

  1. Read each webpage carefully.
  2. Answer your questions carefully and accurately.
  3. Use complete sentences.
  4. Take your time and be neat.

Click here to access a copy of the worksheet if you don't already one. 

Okay, let's get started!

First let's make sure you understand what you need to do.  The links on the left are for you to explore.  It is important that you read carefully.  You aren't only reading for the answers, but to get a better understanding about the life of Holiday and her music. 

So get your pencil, paper, and reading eyes ready for the quest! If you get lost, just click on the back button of the browser or ask Mrs. Feniello or Miss Cook for help.



While there is no way to completely eliminate the possibility of a shark attack when you are in the water, one may take precautions such as:

  • avoiding the water at dawn, dusk, or night, when sharks tend to feed;

  • avoiding areas where sharks generally locate themselves, such as murky waters and steep drop-offs

  • avoiding swimming alone, always being near a group of people, and if possible, avoiding being at the edge of the group;

  • refraining from excess splashing or movement;

  • preventing pets from entering the water;

  • avoiding shiny jewelry, tan lines and bright clothing, all of which can attract sharks;

  • avoiding entering water if bleeding from an open wound or if menstruating;

  • avoiding areas where the remains of fish have been discarded into the water, such as near fishermen cleaning their catch.