Last Updated on 30 November 2022 by Dr. Sandro Cantoni
In this article, you can see the best, awarded, mermaid books for kids. And how to read the aloud with your child.
Mermaids are creatures that have continuously inhabited the fantasies and imagination of the child and the adult. They are a symbol of adventure and danger.
The first characteristic of mermaids is their voice and their singing. In Homer’s Odyssey, they are insidious enchanters, a danger to Odysseus and his men. To resist their song, they plug their ears with wax. And Odysseus binds himself to the ship’s master mast.
Of all mermaids, the most popular is Andersen’s Little Mermaid. The story was published in 1837, and the main character is a 15-year-old mermaid, Ariel. She has “fair and delicate skin like a rose petal, eyes as blue as a deep lake. But like all the others, she had no feet and ended in a fishtail.”
The little mermaid falls in love with a man and decides to lose her identity. Instead, she transforms into a human being. But the metamorphosis comes at a very high price.
The myth of the mermaids fascinates us. Their magical song still resonates in us as the voice of nature. Mysterious. Like the sound of the waves of the sea and the ocean depths.
Here you can find a list of the best, awarded, books. After that, you can read all the reviews.
- Book List
- Book Reviews
- The Little Mermaid, by Jerry Pinkney
- Sea of Dreams, by Dennis Nolan
- Julián Is a Mermaid, by Jessica Love
- Sukey and the Mermaid, by Robert D. San Souci
- Pearl, by Molly Idle
- Oona, by Kelly DiPucchio
- Mabel: A Mermaid Fable, by Rowboat Watkins
- The Mermaid and the Shoe, by K. G. Campbell
- The Mermaid, by Jan Brett
- Meranda and the Legend of the Lake, by Meagan Mahoney
- Mariana and the Merchild, by Caroline Pitcher
- The Melancholic Mermaid, by Kallie George
- The Sea Tiger, by Victoria Turnbull
- The Secret Lives of Mermaids, by Anuk Tola
- How to Read Aloud a Book to a Child and Baby
The Little Mermaid, by Jerry Pinkney
2020 / Age 2 – 6
- 2020 School Library Journal — Starred Review
- 2020 BookPage — Best Picture Books
- 2020 Publishers Weekly — Starred Review
The story revolved around the life of Melody, a young sea princess blessed with the most lovely voice.
She yearns to go beyond the water’s boundaries. Spying a young girl, she is faced with a difficult choice to give up her voice in exchange for the legs she so wished for.
After making this sacrifice, her life begins. Suddenly problems in her underwater home force her to an extreme decision: sacrifice her goal or her past.
A friendship has replaced the original love story in this book that young readers will love as much. An excellent bedtime book for your toddler or preschooler.
Jerry Pinkney’s watercolor illustrations are full of rich detail and vibrant hues, creating a sense of both realism and fantasy.
One of the book’s main messages is that our voices have power and we should never stay silent. Additionally, it conveys that true friendship is unending.
Sea of Dreams, by Dennis Nolan
2011 / Age 3 – 7
It’s a small story about the actions of a young girl and the events they cause. This magical, adventure book takes readers to a beautiful beach with much to do. A girl makes an impressive sand castle near the edge of the beach.
As night falls, the girl goes home, leaving her castle prey to the ever-strengthening ocean waves.
Waves come closer and closer to the majestic structure. Surviving the castle seems impossible when a light turns on in one of the windows.
A surreal, wordless adventure story in the ocean. The main characters are the tiny inhabitants of the sand castle, who escape by ship.
Miniature mermaids frolic with seahorses and seaweed. A family of shipwrecks takes refuge among the shells. The little girl is feeding a baby seagull. The beautiful double-page figures take the reader into a fantasy world rich in detail.
Julián Is a Mermaid, by Jessica Love
2018 / Age 3 – 8
- 2018 Horn Book Magazine — Starred Review
- 2018 Kirkus Reviews — Starred Review – Children
This picture book dazzles readers with beautiful visuals and fantastic design. Jessica Love has created a remarkable story to which the heart can relate.
In the local subway, Julián notices three breathtaking women in stunning dresses. Of course, being with his Abuela, he keeps his composure. But he remains awe-struck even after reaching home.
Julián imagines he is a mermaid. He tried on dresses as the women did to gain the beauty he had seen. Then, in a sequence of wordless double pages, watercolor pictures depict Julián’s progression from human to a mermaid.
But, although he wishes to do so, Julián thinks, what would his Abuela think if she saw him?
A powerful, fascinating, and provocative story. About the importance of being seen and accepted for who you are.
Sukey and the Mermaid, by Robert D. San Souci
1992 / Age 5 – 9
- 1994 South Carolina Children Book Award — Children’s (Winner)
- 1993 Coretta Scott King Award — Illustrator (Honor Book)
Sukey and the Mermaid is a book that defines the bond of friendship. And how it can bring happiness to people who believe in its strength.
Robert D. San Souci has created a masterpiece that people of all walks tend to enjoy. This story is based on a folktale from South Carolina Sea Islands and West African sources.
Revolving around Sukey, the book takes the reader into a new world, where the young girl lives in dangerous conditions. Adding to this, her rigid stepfather is the bane of her happiness and always makes her do work without help.
With no joy in this situation, Sukey one day leaves for her secret place in the ocean and calls up Mama Jo. “A beautiful, brown-skinned, black-eyed mermaid.” Sukey is shocked when she is further allowed to follow Mama Jo into a kingdom in the ocean.
The friendship between the two begins, and a constant rivalry between the duo and Sukey’s persistent stepfather.
Pinkney’s colored pictures are among the artist’s best. The several thin lines stand out against the dramatic black background. The drawing emphasizes the sea’s light and the protagonists’ clothing.
Pearl, by Molly Idle
2010 / Age
- 2018 Kirkus Reviews — Starred Review – Children
A book about patience and perseverance.
We often hear no work can be insignificant. Even the tiniest light shines brightest, and Pearl weaves the story around the adages. Pearl is a children’s book emphasizing the importance of small actions.
Little Pearl dreams of taking on important tasks like other mermaids. When her mother asks her to safeguard a grain of sand, Pearl is crestfallen.
She placed a single grain of sand in Pearl’s hand.
“Yours, to care for every day and keep safe every night.”
“But, Mother . . . ” protested Pearl, “you said I could help with something important.”
“The smallest things can make a great difference, Pearl,” her mother replied.
But, as she begins to take care of the sand, she notices the grain grows into something more that she could never have imagined.
Even the most minor efforts can have a significant impact. Big or small, every action counts.
Oona, by Kelly DiPucchio
2020 / Age 4 – 8
- 2020 School Library Journal — Starred Review
When the young Black mermaid sets out to find a treasure, she finds more than gold on her journey.
Embroiled in danger, Oona is a mermaid who loves adventures. And finds herself scouring the ocean for treasures. She has an adorable sidekick named Otto, the otter, and together they face troubles and seek treasures.
But their greatest treasure hunt begins to search for a much-coveted prize that sits in a deep dark rift. The story revolves around the courageous tale of Oona and Oota and how they search for their most treasured hunts.
Oona features a black mermaid, which is already a refreshing take. Stunning illustrations by Raissa Figueroa are the cherry on the cake.
Mabel: A Mermaid Fable, by Rowboat Watkins
2020 / Age 2 – 5
- 2020 Publishers Weekly — Starred Review
As the 2010 recipient of the Sendak Fellowship, Rowboat Watkins yet again made a classic creation for children.
Mabel: A Mermaid Fabel begins with the story of Mabel, who is different from her people.
“Dad had a mustache. Her mom had a mustache….Even her baby brother had a tiny baby mustache.” Mabel doesn’t.
So, she hides in a dark place and feels conscious and awkward.
One day she meets an octopus, Lucky, a squid with seven legs instead of eight. Their beautiful tale of friendship begins as they fight through bullies and self-acceptance.
Watkins’ witty and engaging descriptions are perfect for reading aloud. However, the dialogue between Mabel and Lucky comes off as awkward.
A unique book about being special.
The Mermaid and the Shoe, by K. G. Campbell
2014 / Age 3 – 7
- 2015 Publishers Weekly — Starred Review
- 2015 Kirkus Reviews — Starred Review – Children
King Neptune has 50 daughters, each outshining the former, except for his youngest, Minnow.
Her sisters are accomplishing incredible feats in different fields. Little Minnow can only ask interesting questions.
“Where do bubbles go?” “Why don’t crabs have fins?” “What lies beyond the kingdom?”
One day, she finds an object drifted by the warm currents of the water and begins her journey of identifying her life purpose.
The book is a compelling read and has stunning pictures. It explains some of the most complex aspects of our life in the most light-hearted way.
The watercolor and colored pencil pictures are delicate and ethereal. Splashes of color blue-gray accent tones represent the flora and fauna of Neptune’s underwater realm.
The Mermaid, by Jan Brett
2017 / Age 3 – 6
- 2017 Publishers Weekly — Starred Review
Brett’s trips to Okinawa and the New England Aquarium, where she observed the Pacific octopus, inspire this book.
Kiniro is a young mermaid who stumbles upon a beautiful house decorated with seashells and corals.
Acting upon her curiosity, she enters the house. She finds a delicious breakfast, pretty chairs, and a comfy bed.
But, soon, the house owners return and see the mermaid lying on their bed. But the disappointment soon becomes happiness as Kiniro gives them a thoughtful gift.
Meranda and the Legend of the Lake, by Meagan Mahoney
2021 / Age 7 – 12
- 2022 IODE Violet Downey Book Award
When a girl returns to the town where she was born at age 3, it’s not just her past that awaits. The superstitious locals and mermaids make for an unforgettable visit back in time… and present day!
Meranda thought her life was complicated enough. She had physical challenges – she uses crutches to walk – and her parents were always hovering around her, worried she would hurt herself. So when her great-uncle Mark died and her family went to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Meranda was not looking forward to it. Cape Breton is where her parents grew up, and she hadn’t been back since she was three years old.
Mariana and the Merchild, by Caroline Pitcher
2000 / Age 4 – 8
- 2000 Kirkus Reviews — Starred Review – Children
A traditional Chile tale. Caroline Pitcher has retold the memorable story of unconditional love.
The book describes the story of Mariana. A woman without children is given a merbaby to care for until she’s old enough to return to the sea. With the blessing of Mother Sea’s spirit, Marian becomes the mermaid’s foster mother.
The gorgeous pictures in this book are full of the undulations and curves of the sea and brilliant hues of sea and sky.
The Melancholic Mermaid, by Kallie George
2011 / Age 6 – 10
- 2011 Cybils Awards Nomination
Being cast out and bullied by others is a tricky thing to go through, no matter who you are. It can be hard to find someone who understands and can offer compassion. The main character in this book goes through this experience.
When Maude was born, she was different from all the other merchildren. While they had one tail each, Maude had two. This gave her extra speed and strength but made her a target for teasing and bullying. The other merchildren called her names and refused to play with her. Maude became increasingly isolated until she eventually spent all her time alone in the deep dark parts of the ocean. One day, she was captured by a fisherman and taken to a circus, where she was put on display for humans to gawk at. Maude was miserable. She missed the ocean and yearned for the company of her kind. But it seemed like there was no way for her ever to return home.
Maude is cared for by a young circus boy named Tony. Tony is a misfit and an outcast because he has webbed fingers and refuses to show his hands to anyone. As he began to clean her, Maude came up to him. Tony was shocked to discover that she was sobbing. He attempted to persuade the Ring Mistress to let her go, but she refused. Tony knew he had to do something. He devised a daring plan to help Maude escape to the sea.
This book is beautifully written and illustrated. It does a great job of capturing the emotions of being an outsider.
The Sea Tiger, by Victoria Turnbull
2013 / Age 3 – 7
- 2013 Association of Illustrators New Talent Award – 2013 World Illustration Awards / 2013 / Shortlist
The opening page of this book introduces the reader to the Sea Tiger, a powerful and dangerous creature that dominates the ocean. The little fish that swim into its mouth is no match for its size and strength, and the reader is immediately drawn into the story. The narration is done in a larger-than-life voice, which commands attention and creates a sense of awe.
“I am Oscar’s best friend. We do everything together. / Where I lead, Oscar follows.”
Text is reduced to a minimum. The illustrations are full-page, very suggestive, and rich in detail.
The Secret Lives of Mermaids, by Anuk Tola
2019 / Age 5 – 9
- 2019 Bologna Ragazzi Awards
But is there an underwater city where merpeople live? And how is it made and organized? Find the answers in this encyclopedic volume.
If you’re fascinated by mermaids, you’ll want to read Professor Tola’s great work on these magical creatures. Tola is a notable merologist, and his book discusses everything from merpeople’s long and sinewy tails to the mystical qualities of those from the Pacific Ocean and the icy Arctic.
How to Read Aloud a Book to a Child and Baby
There are no rules to follow, or tricks to avoid mistakes. Be spontaneous, let your imagination and creativity guide you. And if you don’t have any, be patient. Maybe the reading will be more fun.
But I can give you some suggestions, and you can find them in this article.
When you read a book to a child, the voice is the story. It gives body and meaning to the story; it fills it.
You don’t need to have good, correct diction. Your voice is a personal voice, which may well be nasal, flat, with a dialect accent, with pronunciation flaws.
But it is your voice, unique and unrepeatable.
To your baby and child, it is the most beautiful voice in the world.
At the first attempts to sing, repeat nursery rhymes or read a story to a child, some parents think they only have an uncertain, embarrassed, monotonous, and expressionless voice.
Especially if the child shows no interest. Instead of being attentive and enchanted, you see him bored and distracted. Or the child picks up the book and bites it, or throws it on the floor.
Then you may think the book is to blame. It has too many words or none at all… It’s not colorful, or it’s too ordinary or sophisticated. You see your child bored and don’t know what to do. You are exhausted and discouraged. At this point the temptation to replace the book and your own voice becomes strong.
And you turn on the television or tablet, with its undifferentiated voices and moving pictures. The effect is immediate. The child often calms down. The eyes and ears are rapt by the images and sounds, the brain like paralyzed.
Don’t be discouraged by some initial failures. Don’t think you have to go to acting or diction school to read aloud to your child.
Just keep reading the next day. Start over again.
If you’re not sure how to start, try pointing to each word as you read it. This will help your child or baby follow along and learn to associate words with their meanings. You can also ask questions about the story as you go along. What does the character look like? What do you think will happen next?
When you’re done, take a few minutes to talk about the book. What did you like about it? What didn’t you like? What were your favorite parts? These discussions will help your child develop a love for reading, and they’ll also give you some insight into their thoughts and interests.
With young children, the ideal reading and listening position is this. The parent with a child on his or her lap and a book open in front so that both can see the book. The child can see and “read” the pictures, and with the ears hears the voice reading. But any position is fine. The important point is that you are nearby and comfortable.
You can try different positions. You can sit in a chair with the baby on your lap, or on the floor with your legs crossed and the child in front of you, or side by side on the sofa.
The important thing is that both of you are comfortable and that the book is open so that both can see it well.
When to read? How much?
The time of reading aloud is slow. Slower than silent reading.
But it has to be that way. By doing so, the words enter the mind and are transformed into images.
The reading time for picture books is variable. It depends on the number of words and pictures. Sometimes the words are few, but the pictures are rich and full of detail. And then these can take a long time to be examined and assimilated.
Reading time should be as long as the child desires. If the child wants to hear the story again, you can read it again. If he or she is restless, you can stop and go on another day.
The important thing is that this time is yours. A moment of intimacy and serenity between parent and child. Do not force yourself to continue reading if the child is no longer interested.
The key is to make reading an enjoyable experience for both you and your child. With plenty of patience, positive attitudes, and a healthy dose of enthusiasm, you can foster a lifelong love of reading in your child.
For children under the age of three, the time for listening to a story is unpredictable. It often varies based on the adult’s ability to engage the child. Through action, repetition, and dialogue.
Unless the purpose of the reading is to accompany the child to sleep. In that case, the child is often just a listener.
Read daily, from the time the baby is very young. Reading aloud to your child will help them develop a love of reading, expand their vocabulary, and foster important intellectual and emotional connections. So don’t be discouraged if they’re fidgety or distracted at first – with time, patience, and persistence, you can instill a love of books and read in your little one that will last a lifetime!
Figures. To look at, to admire, to recognize.
Even though I am now an adult, I am still fascinated by the illustrations of the best picture books, which should only be for children.
Often the illustrated book is a marvel of narrative synthesis and artistic quality: Eric Carle, one of the most illustrious creators of books of this type, claims that the picture book is the first artistic object that the child has the possibility not only to see but to hold in his hands, to explore, to look at and see again as he pleases.
Therefore, the illustrated book is a fundamental means of communication and expression for children – it is a world of imagination in which not only can they see things but also create them. The illustrations help to develop cognitive abilities and trigger emotional responses that build connections with language and text. Through pictures and images, children gain an understanding of their environment and learn about themselves and others.
If you are reading to a child, be sure to slow down your pace and make time for interactions with the child, such as asking questions about the images or pointing out interesting details. And if your child is having difficulty focusing on the story or seems distracted, don’t worry – just try again another day and adjust your approach as necessary.
Whether you are an experienced parent or a new parent, reading to your child is one of the most important things you can do to foster their development and help them build positive early childhood memories.
How to choose a book for your child?
The first “real” books with which the child comes into contact must be chosen consciously and, if possible, purchased from trusted bookstores. When choosing you must also consider safety and handling.
The first real books for children under the age of three are not just objects. But they must be much more, and from them, children learn many things.
Children who are in daily contact with books, at home and in daycare, have a high degree of maturity and competence.
Reading to your child is one of the most important things you can do to help them develop and build positive early childhood memories. When choosing books for your child, it is important to consider safety and handling, as well as the educational value of the book. Through pictures and images, children gain an understanding of their environment and learn about themselves and others. Whether you are a new or experienced parent, making time to read to your child is one of the best ways to foster their development and support their early learning experiences.