What lurks at the deepest, darkest depths of the ocean? This is something which fascinates many, including author, Anna McGregor, who introduces young readers to the wonders of the ocean’s ‘midnight zone’ in her book, ‘Who’s Afraid of the Light?’.
As sunlight is rapidly absorbed as it travels through water, colours are quickly lost, leaving water blue. However, even these wavelengths disappear as light travels deeper and by about 1,000 metres deep, even the faintest light has been extinguished, leaving the ocean waters in perpetual darkness. Known as the bathypelagic zone, this depth is also called the midnight zone due to its constant darkness. At this depth and lower, the only light comes from the bioluminescence of the animals themselves. Life that exists here must be able to survive in freezing temperatures and withstand extreme pressure.
The midnight zone is the single largest habitat on the planet, accounting for 70% of all seawater, but because of its remote location, it is not very well understood. Little is known about the creatures that inhabit this zone, but many of the animals here are soft-bodied, allowing them to absorb pressures which might injure or kill other species.
Anna McGregor answers a few questions
What inspired you to dive into the deep dark sea?
It’s such a fascinating alien world. Scientists are discovering new information daily with the explosion of technology that gives them access to this previously inaccessible realm of our planet. I thoroughly enjoyed researching this book.
Who’s Afraid of the Light? is full of spooky sea creatures. Which one is your favourite?
The Spookfish (also called a Barreleye fish) is definitely my favourite. It was fun to draw its jelly dome head.
What have you learned about creating picture books since your first book came out?
So much! It’s important to consider the emotional journey you’re taking the reader on. Everything else can be relatively simple.
Thank you to Anna McGregor and Scribble for taking part in NNFN2023. You can find out more about Anna on her website http://annamcgregor.com.au/