Do your children love mermaids and want to surround themselves will all the magical things under the sea. When you go to the beach do you kids wonder if there are mermaids swimming beneath the waves? Do they watch the sea closely in the hopes of one day spotting a glittering fin or a group of merpeople sunning themselves on the rocks? If so, they will love these mermaid books and mermaid crafts.
Below you will find mermaid picture and chapter books, even a mermaid pop-up book! Then after your kids finish reading, engage them with one of the imaginative mermaid crafts, whether it's printing our mermaid paper dolls or making magical mermaid eggs. (Note:this post contains affiliate links.)
I've included both chapter books and picture books so kids of all ages can enjoy a little mermaid reading.
Mermaid chapter books
To Catch a Mermaid by Suzanne Selfors. 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.
The Sea Fairies by L. Frank Baum. If you've read the entire Oz series, you know about Trot and Cap'n Bill. The author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz wrote this engaging fantasy story about a girl, Trot, and Cap'n Bill, a sailor with a wooden leg, who have magical adventures underwater before they get to Oz.
The Rise of the Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste. I really enjoyed this middle grade novel. It's the second in a series that began with The Jumbies. Set in the Caribbean and influenced by local folklore, this tale follows Corinne LaMer as she and her friends pursue a thrilling but dangerous quest to fetch a treasure for Mama D’Leau, the Jumbie who rules the ocean.
Bayou Magic by Jewell Parker Rhodes. Maddie is loving her first experience visiting Grandmère's home in the bayou. It's so much more magical than living in the city and there might even be a mermaid living in the water's mysterious depths! But then an oil spill threatens the delicate balance of the bayou and Maddie must figure out a way to save the wonderful world she now loves.
Mermaid Tales from Around the World. Magic Tree House 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.
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?
Secrets of Selkie Bay by Shelley Moore Thomas. This is not about mermaids, but fans of mermaids will most definitely also love stories of selkies, seals who shed their skin to become humans on land. Cordie and her three sisters live with their father on the coast of Ireland in a seaside town that profits off tales of the mythic selkies. Their father used to research the local pixie seals, who have now all mysteriously disappeared. Their mother has disappeared too. When Cordie spins a tale for her sister, Iona, the younger sister becomes convinced their mother is a selkie, returned to the sea. Be prepared for a surprise ending!
Mermaid picture books
Kids who love mythical creatures of the sea will find more books to love on our Scottish folklore picture book list.
Mermaids on Parade by Melanie Hope Greenberg. Regular readers of this blog know that Greenberg 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."
Julián Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love. After seeing some fancily dressed women on the subway, Julián wants to dress up. At home he turns his abuela's fern into a fancy hat, and her curtains into a mermaid's tail. But instead of getting upset at Julián, his abuela takes him to a celebration where everyone is as fantastically dressed as he is. A lovely and warm story about acceptance and expressing yourself.
Pearl by Molly Idle. Pearl wants to take care of all the wondrous things in her world, but her mother only gives her a single grain of sand to nurture. Even parents who are tired of reading mermaid picture books to their kids will love this sweet and poignant story about a tiny mermaid and the power of small but good actions.
The Little Mermaid. Rather than give my opinion on the myriad of versions of Hans Christian Anderson's The Little Mermaid out there, I will simply encourage you to have fun with this awesome pop up version from paper artist Robert Sabuda.
The Mermaid and the Shoe by K. G. Campbell. Little Minnow is one of King Neptune's 50 daughters, but she is the only one who has yet to learn her talent. One day she finds a shoe and sets out to discover its purpose. Her journey introduces her to things she has never seen, and when she returns home to tell her story her father explains that her talent and purpose is to ask questions, explore and tell her stories. My then-5 year old loved this book and I like the idea that while her sisters excel at activities the mermaid's talent is using her mind to answer questions!
Mariana and the Merchild: A Folk Tale from Chile by Caroline Pitcher is 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 by Robert D. San Souci 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.
This video shows you how to make it.
Paper mermaid crafts
- Mermaid bookmarks from us!
- 3D mermaid greeting cards from Mama Pea Pod
- Mermaid crowns from Happy Hooligans
- Mermaids crafted from paper rolls from Red Ted Art
- Catalog cut out mermaids from No Time For Flash Cards
- Handprint mermaids from Education.com
Mermaid doll crafts
- Printable mermaid paper dolls from us!
- Mix and Match clothespin mermaids from Reading Confetti
- Clothespin mermaids from Red Ted Art
- Clothespin mermaids from Pink and Green Mama.
Other Mermaid crafts
- Storytelling seashells to go with Whatever After Series: Sink or Swim from Educators' Spin on It
- Fantasy mermaid eggs from Adventure in a Box
- Make your own mermaid tail! Easy no-sew instruction.