Move over Ariel, there is a new batch of mermaids in the ocean. Or rather, let's say, "Ariel, there's a new batch of mermaids for you to swim with." I mean, why exclude everyone's favorite fairy tale mermaid, right? Take your kids on a journey down to the beach and under-the-sea with 10 magical mermaid books perfect to read aloud.
These mermaid picture books feature magical sea fairies with iridescent scales, mermaids from folklore and distant seas, as well as imaginative human children who engage in mermaid pretend play!
You can now view my curated list of books featuring mythical creatures like dragons, mermaids and unicorns at Bookshop!
MERMAIDS ON PARADE by Melanie Hope Greenberg
It just so happens that part-mermaid Melanie Hope Greenberg, the author of Mermaids on Parade, creates exclusive coloring pages for us! (You can view all the coloring pages here in the archives.) Her mermaid book tells the story of a young girl's excitement and anticipation while getting ready to participate in the Brooklyn's annual Coney Island Mermaid Parade. Down at the boardwalk, she observes the gaiety and festivities of parade participants dressed up in sparkles and mermaid tails. Mermaids on Parade is a wonderful book that celebrates and wonderful start-of-summer tradition.
MORE: Mermaid coloring pages (including from Greenberg's book)
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!
MERMAID KENZIE: PROTECTOR OF THE DEEP by Charlotte Watson Sherman, illustrated by Geneva Bowers
MaKenzie loves exploring the beach and ocean. She also loves pretending to be a mermaid and wants her mom to call her Mermaid Kenzie. One day down at the seashore she is upset at all the pollution she sees underwater and her mother explains that the ocean didn't used to be filled with so much plastic waste. Mermaid Kenzie decides she will be the "Protector of the Deep" and takes positive action to help protect the health of the ocean.
OONA: THE BRAVE LITTLE MERMAID (series) by Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated by Raissa Figueroa
Spunky mermaid, Oona, loves to search for treasure accompanied by her rescue otter, Otto. On one expedition she tries to retrieve a sparkling crown which is stuck in a sunken ship's hull. Failing to dislodge the treasure, she turns to other pursuits but just can't seem to muster the same enthusiasm that she had for treasure hunting. So, with persistence and ingenuity, she gets into problem solving mode, determined to succeed in her quest.
JULIÁN IS A MERMAID (series) by Jessica Love
This book will encourage everyone to get in touch with their inner mermaid! After seeing some fancily-dressed women on the subway, Julián wants to dress up, too. 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 the Mermaid Parade 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. Her mother assures her that even the smallest items can make a difference in the world. Pearl cares for the grain of sand, polishing and protecting it. Day after day, the sand grain glows brighter until it becomes a star in the sky. 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 (POP-UP) adapted by Robert Sabuda
Robert Sobuda is a undisputed master of pop-up story books. Any child who loves Hans Christian Anderson's The Little Mermaid will adore getting stuck into this version! Magnificent and intricately constructed buildings and ships rise from the pages, while corner inserts continue the narrative with smaller, additional pop-ups. It's a feat of paper engineering that draws readers into to a fantasy world.
MABEL: A MERMAID FABLE by Rowboat Watkins
This is a cute story about embracing your uniqueness. Unlike all the other merpeople under the sea, Mabel doesn't have a mustache. She feels embarrassed by her lack of facial hair looks for ways to hide the deficiency. Until, that is, she meets Lucky, an octopus with one eye and seven, instead of eight legs. The two quickly become friends, and explore the ocean depths.
SUKEY AND THE MERMAID by Robert D. San Souci, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
The spectacularly illustrated Sukey and the Mermaid is based on folktales from the Sea Islands of South Carolina, Caribbean and West Africa. Sukey wants to escape her hard step-pa and her harsh life and 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.
MARIANA AND THE MERCHILD by Caroline Pitcher, illustrated by Jackie Morris
Find it: Your Library | Amazon
In this retelling of a Chilean folktale, Old Mariana longs to play with the village children, but they tease her and express fear 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.
MORE: Latin American folktales
More mermaid magic: