Mermaid books for kids gallery 6

Grade 4-6–Seventh-grader Emily Windsnap has never learned to swim, in spite of the fact that she and her mother live on a houseboat. When she finally takes a swimming class at school, her legs turn into a fishtail. She tries to hide her strange affliction, but something draws her to the sparkling surf. Soon, she is secretly gliding through the water as a mermaid. Below the waves, she meets Shona, also 12, who takes her to mermaid school and leads her on several adventures. When Emily learns the intriguing history of the Shiprock community and of illegal marriages between humans and merpeople, she begins to look for her merman father. Danger, humor, confrontation, and even a trial before Neptune all play a part in her search. Eventually, she finds her dad and comes to understand the truth about her oddly controlling neighbor, Mr. Beeston; her mother’s dislike of water; and her parents’ love affair. All ends well when the family is reunited and swims away to live a new life on a secret merfolk island.

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For readers 9 – 12

Grade 3-5–Toby, an orphan, has lived in a seaside hotel since he was left there as a baby. Mr. Harris, the manager, allows him to stay on but makes him sleep in the attic and work to earn his keep. It is a lonely life for Toby until the day he meets a young mermaid named Eliza Flot on the beach. She takes him to the cave where her family has lived since all of the other mermaids went away and introduces him to her mother and father. Toby falls in love with the Flots and is touched by their kindness to him. When treasure seekers invade the beach, the mermaids’ hiding place is jeopardized. With the help of a retired captain and Margot, Mr. Harris’s elderly relative, Toby hides the Flots in the hotel by disguising them as wheelchair-bound guests. Before long, the manager suspects that something is amiss, and it is a race against time as Toby and his accomplices try to get the family to safety before Mr. Harris can reveal the truth to the media.

For kids 9 – 12

PreSchool-Grade 3AIt’s summer in New York City and Kate and her family are headed toward the beach. Once her feet hit the sand, the child heads for the ocean and her imagination takes off. In her fantasy, she becomes the wild and free Donnatalee, a mermaid who has adventures with various sea creatures and is eventually claimed by King Neptune “for his own” (apparently feminism has not reached the underwater world). Kate is called back to her pedestrian existence by her father, who announces that it is time to go home. She rejoins her family but goes to sleep dreaming of Donnatalee.

This book is for kids 4 – 8

After a storm, lonely, old Mariana discovers a baby enclosed in a crab shell that has washed up on the beach. The child is a merbaby, and her mother, a resplendent sea spirit (“…tall as a mast. Her hair flamed red and her skin shone as if polished by the sun with mother-of-pearl”). The mother asks Mariana to keep the child, just until the seas calm. Morris’s style evokes both the solidity of indigenous art, with heavy, low-to-the-ground characters, and ethereal, fairy-tale illustration, as in the delicate colorations of the merbaby’s red tail. Flowing watercolors picture an ocean both bountiful and violent, and lyrically import Pitcher’s imagery of sea-wolves that crest upon turbulent waves. Closely framed compositions allow Mariana to dominate most spreads, subtly conveying her initial loneliness and later suggesting her joy in the red-haired merbaby–and her pain when she must surrender the child.

For readers 4 to 8 years old.


This book was brought to my attention by Catherine who loves mermaids. Thank you Catherine for telling me about this book.

In landlocked Oak Grove where a flood years ago has made the townspeople so fearful of water that the local swimming pool stays drained 13-year-old Martha Glimmer mourns her mother’s death and chafes under the disapproving ministrations of busybody neighbor Hildy Swoon. Martha’s best friends Trevor and Eli McGill adopted brothers better known as Trout and Eel have problems of their own, including town gossip about their odd eating habits (salt water, raw tuna) and their webbed fingers and toes. After Hildy ruins Martha’s prized possession, a shawl that had belonged to her mother, and the hydrophobic Mr. McGill repaints his sons’ bedroom white (they preferred the “endless blue” of the sea), the three of them decide to run away. Broad clues point to the story’s core secret, that Trout and Eel are the sons of a mermaid. An accomplished storyteller, Hoffman deftly interweaves themes of friendship, identity and the tension between family ties and freedom that adolescence inevitably brings (“I thought if you got too near to water, you would swim away,” says Charlie McGill to his boys. They will, they assure him “But then we’ll swim back”).

Reading level: Ages 9-1