Mermaid Books and Crafts for Kids

Summer means it’s beach season and imaginative children can’t help but wonder if there are a few mermaids beneath the waves. Spark their imagination with some fun mermaid books.

Mermaid books and crafts for kids

Even though long time readers ( know I’m not one to do book related crafts with my kids, that doesn’t mean I don’t like them. (It just means I’m lazy.) I’ve looked to my fellow bloggers to fill in the craft gap and found some darling mermaid crafts for you.

Don’t forget that we have  free, printable mermaid paper dolls from illustrator Melanie Hope Greenberg. Print them out for some fun pretend play. (And read Mermaids on Parade, of course, too!)

Printable mermaid paper dolls to color by Melanie Hope Greenberg.

 Mermaid Books

I’ve included both chapter books and picture books so kids of all ages can enjoy a little mermaid reading. (Note: titles and covers are affiliate links.)

Mermaid chapter books

To Catch a Mermaid. Sixth grader Boomerang Boom Broom brings home a hideous, hostile, ill-mannered merbaby from the fish market. He lives with his eccentric family, including a self-absorbed sister, reclusive father and Viking cook. The adoption of the merbaby sets off such a chaotic, hilarious chain of events that you can’t help but wonder how in the world everything will be resolved.  Also available as an ebook.

Mermaid Tales from Around the World. Magic Tree House rock star author, Mary Pope Osborne, has gathered and retold 12 mermaid tales from different cultures. Your mermaid-loving kids will enjoy learning there is more to mer-lore than Hans Christian Anderson and Disney. The illustrations and Osborne’s background explanations of the stories make this well-worth picking up at your local library.

Whatever After #3: Sink or Swim. Sarah Mlynowski’s Whatever After series includes updated versions of classic fairy tales for the tween set and are great fun for those who like fractured fairy tales. Abby and her brother, Jake, are transported through a mirror to the world of The Little Mermaid. Once there, they decide to try and change the unhappy ending of the the original story. No doubt your kids will want to read the entire series.  Also available as an ebook.

The Tail of Emily Windsnap is the first book in Liz Kessler’s popular, best-selling series about a seventh grader who makes the startling discovery that she is part mermaid. She sets off to find her merman father and learns the secrets of the sea. While reading this book, I knew it would be extremely appealing to kids, mostly because I would have loved this series when I was younger. Start your child on this first book, and they’ll spend the summer finishing up the series, and isn’t that always the goal? Also available as an ebook.

Miri Attwater and the Ocean’s Secret. The author sent me a copy of this book, about a girl who learns she is a mermaid, for my son to read. When I asked him about it he replied, “it was good, even though it was a book for girls.” I rolled my eyes and explained for the umpteenth time that if he liked it, it was a book for kids. Available only as an ebook.

Mermaid picture books

Mermaids on Parade remains my favorite mermaid picture book and not just because the author graciously creates exclusive coloring pages for this blog. Set during the annual Coney Island Mermaid Parade the story follows a girl as she dresses up as a mermaid and “comes out of her shell.” If you purchase the book directly from Melanie, she will sign your copy. Click on “new” and (as of this writing) Melanie is the first seller on the list (she’s also the least expensive, so how about that!).

The Little Mermaid. Rather than give my opinion on the myriad of versions of The Little Mermaid out there, I will simply encourage you to have fun with this awesome pop up version from paper artist Robert Sabuda.

Mariana and the Merchild: A Folk Tale from Chile was also on my list of Latin American folktales. Old Mariana longs to play with the village children, but they tease her and are afraid of the sea wolves that live near her home. One day, Mariana finds a shell and when it splits in two it reveals a mer-child. The mer-child’s mother asks Mariana to take care of the child until the sea is safe again. Watching Mariana and her new charge, the village children overcome their fear of the old woman and even offer comfort when the mother returns to claim her child. The illustrations are lovely and the text conjures up wonderful imagery, especially of the sea-wolves and sea spirits.

Sukey and the Mermaid is based on a folktales from the Sea Islands of South Carolina, Caribbean and West Africa. Sukey wants to escape her hard step-pa and her harsh life. She is taken beneath the seas by a beautiful mermaid. When Sukey becomes homesick the mermaid helps her with a second chance and turns around her fortune. The illustrations are spectacular. Also available as an ebook.

Mermaid Crafts

Fun mermaid crafts for children.

3D mermaid greeting cards from Mama Pea Pod (above right)

Mix and Match clothespin mermaids from Reading Confetti (above left)

Catalog cut out mermaids from No Time For Flash Cards

Handprint mermaids from

Mermaid crafts for kids.

Clothespin mermaids from Red Ted Art (above right)

Clothespin mermaids from Pink and Green Mama.

Storytelling seashells to go with Whatever After Series: Sink or Swim from Educators’ Spin on It

Mermaid crowns from Happy Hooligans (above left)

Mermaids crafted from paper rolls from Red Ted Art

Do your kids love mermaids?

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  1. says

    This is great! I love the book recommendations. We recently watched the animated movie Ponyo on a family night, a film that I am pretty certain is an adaptation of the Little Mermaid story and it was so beautiful and artistic! I know you haven’t included movie recommendations but your list brought that film to mind immediately!

  2. says

    This is a great list! To Catch a Mermaid is one of my favorites – it kind of reminds me of Roald Dahl’s books – and I’ve gone on to read more of Selfors books. It was fun to see my book in such great company. :)

  3. says

    Oh wow, this is an awesome list, and great crafts to boot. Thanks so much for joining us on the Kid Lit Blog Hop. (Although its winter in my part of the world) little G does love a good mermaid story, so we will be pinning these for future reading when it warms up, he he.

  4. Renee @ Mother Daughter Book Reviews says

    Great post Erica – I loved your intro, hilarious. I didn’t realize that Mary Pope Osborne put together a book about mermaids – I’ll have to check it out. My daughter tried reading Emily Windsnap a few years ago but I think she wasn’t quite ready for it yet. We’ll have to get that one from the library again and have another go. Thanks for joining us in the Kid Lit Blog Hop.

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