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Diverse Books For All Ages

A great selection of books for families, educators, and the community

Black Mermaids: Books for Little Readers, Teens, and Adults (+ Video)

Updated: May 20

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Black mermaids have been around for a long time, but because they haven't been represented widely in the books and other media that we see, Black mermaids can seem odd to some. African mythology is full of Black mermaids like Mami Wata, for example. After many requests for books about mermaids, we put out a call to our readers for book suggestions and compiled this list. Let's make Black mermaids more visible with books!

The books featured here range in subject matter, target audience and in suggested reading age. Some of the books are fun and light-hearted, while others are deeper and more impactful. Note: because some of the books have tough subject matter, please preview them before sharing with the children in your life or before reading anything that might be triggering for yourself.

This list doesn't cover all of the books that share stories of Black mermaids. These books were recommended by the readers in our community, and they are all written by Black people. For your convenience we've included the publisher's descriptions and suggested reading ages with each book listed here. Happy Reading!!!

From singer, actress, and dancer Vanessa Williams comes a sweet, sparkling story (with a free downloadable song + bonus CD!) about a young girl whose beloved pet fish has wonderful, magical powers.

She gives me bubble kisses, bubble kisses as she swims by in the water.

She never misses with her bubble kisses. And I'm so glad I got her.

A young girl adores her goldfish, Sal. But Sal is no ordinary pet: while she can't fetch a ball or curl up on a lap, she can give bubble kisses that transform the girl into a mermaid and transport her to a world of underwater adventures. There, beneath the sea, they play, sing, and dance with other mermaids. The catchy, breezy, rhymed tale is perfect for bedtime, and the book includes a free digital download and CD of the song. (Publisher's rec. reading ages: 2-10 years)


In this captivating reimagining of Hans Christian Andersen's classic, Caldecott medalist and bestselling artist Jerry Pinkney conjures a poignant friendship story and an epic tale of redemption -- the definitive new version for our time.

Melody, the littlest sea princess, is not content just to sing in the choir of mermaids like her sisters. She is an explorer who wonders about what lies above the water's surface . . . especially the young girl she has spied from a distance. To meet her requires a terrible sacrifice: she trades her beautiful voice for a potion that gives her legs, so that she may live on land instead. It seems like a dream come true at first. But when trouble stirs beneath the ocean, Melody faces another impossible choice -- stay with her friend or reclaim her true identity and save her family.

Legendary artist Jerry Pinkney's singular reinvention of this tale about love and sacrifice empowers young, twenty-first century girls with the strong message that you should never give up your voice . . . for anyone. (Publisher's rec. reading ages: 4-8 years)


What's the Commotion in the Ocean by Nyasha Williams, illustrations by Sofya Glushko is a rhyming story about saving our oceans.

A mermaid has a message for the earth about our seas and oceans, and she requires your help.

Find out what is happening with our oceans and what we can do to save them.

What's the Commotion in the Ocean? is a rhyming children's book reflecting on the current happenings in the ocean and what we can do to help. (Publisher's rec. reading ages: 4-8 years)


The Little Mermaid Halle Bailey Children's Book Disney

Explore under the sea and beyond with Ariel in the new picture book retelling of Disney's live action The Little Mermaid!

Ariel is a curious mermaid who has always wanted to explore the human world! After saving a prince named Eric from a dangerous shipwreck, Ariel makes a deal with the Sea Witch, Ursula, so she can meet him and learn more about what life is like beyond her ocean home. But Ursula is full of tricks, and it will take all of Ariel's courage to save the human world and the ocean from the Sea Witch's devious plans. Pub. April 11, 2023 (Publisher's rec. reading ages: 3-5 years)


New York Times bestselling author Tracey Baptiste and acclaimed illustrator Amber Ren take readers on a fun, creepy, storytime-ready romp through a forest filled with creatures from Caribbean folklore.

I'm looking for a jumbie, I'm going to find a scary one.

But Mama says jumbies exist only in stories. So Naya sets out on a nighttime adventure to find out for herself. No such thing, say the friends she makes along the way.

But Naya is sure that jumbies are real. Some have big mouths. Or thick fur. Or glowing skin. Or sharp teeth. Kind of like her new friends.... Looking for a Jumbie is a gentle, bouncy, and creepily fun read-aloud inspired by traditional Caribbean tales. (Publisher's rec. reading ages: 4-8 years)


Gracefully told by Newbery Medalist Virginia Hamilton, this collection of 19 stories focuses on the magical lore and wondrous imaginings of Black women.