Since the beginning of time, the idea of mermaids swimming below the tantalizing surface of the ocean has been a part of human culture. Mermaids have such excellent stories - from the famous Hans Christen Anderson’s tale to some newer releases. But finding the right book can be hard at times! No worries though; in this blog post we’ve laid out some excellent mermaid books for you to browse! As an added bonus, we even have a special section for our mermaid performers on the best storybooks to read at events! Enjoy!
You will find below the following categories of books:
1. Mermaid Picture Books
2. Mermaid Books for Young Readers
3. Mermaid Books for Young Adults
4. Mermaid Books for Adults
5. Books For Mermaids to Read to Children
1. Mermaid Picture Books:
Books for our younger guppies, picture books capture both beautiful words and gorgeous ocean depictions. These little cartoons are so sweet and great for any mini merfish needing a bedtime story or a legend to nestle deep in their hearts!
Oona by Kelly DiPucchio
Oona is the story of a young mermaid and her best seal friend as they search for a magical treasure! A beautiful art style, hilarious comedy, and great time means it’ll make any mermaids-to-be happy!
Mabel: A Mermaid Fable by Rowboat Watkins
Mabel is a little different than the rest of the mermaids in her pod. Lucky the octopus doesn’t quite fit in. But it’s together that they realize being a little different isn’t a bad thing; it makes you special!
We are the Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom
Inspired by the many Indigenous-led movements across the United States, this book was beautiful enough to earn itself an animated short. This book won a 2021 Caldecott award for its beautiful illustrations and bold story. In a ferocious and important standoff, our main character finds herself becoming a water protector. It’s up to her to stop an oil pipeline drill that would severely injure the river her people and she live off of. This is a story meant to inspire children to take action and protect the water!
Mermaid and Me by Soosh
In this absolutely adorable tale, a young girl dreams and dreams about being friends with a mermaid. One fateful night, where the water meets the sea, her wish is granted. A young mermaid agrees to be her friend, and together they share many adventures. However, after a storm creates a huge divide between the land and the sea, our two young friends wonder if they will be pulled apart.
How to Catch a Mermaid by Adam Wallace & Andy Ellerton
Part of a wildly successful and humorous series; the latest installation in Wallace & Ellerton’s How to Catch is a whole ocean of fun! Plotting out inventions and traps, this book will surely capture any imagination in a fun and hilarious journey!
Mermaid School by Joanne Stewart Wetzel
It’s little Molly’s first day at school, a nerve-wracking time for anyone; but even more so when it’s Mermaid School! From the A B Seas, to the different schools of fish, this beautiful picture book puts a fun take on what schools are like. It’s perfect for any child a little nervous to get on the big yellow tuna bus!
Sea Tiger by Victoria Turnbill
Oscar and the Sea Tiger have been friends forever. In fact, he’s Oscar’s only friend. However, the Sea Tiger is not a Sea Tiger - a fish from the sea. He is just a land tiger who knows how to swim. The two team up to try and find a more fishy friend for Oscar. Bittersweet and clear to be an instant classic, this picture book will both warm the hearts of your loved ones and fill you with a sense of hope.
Mermaids Most Amazing by Narelle Oliver
A collection of mermaid narratives around the world, this book details the different myths and legends from around the world. What are mermaids? Are they real? This picture book describes women of the water from around the globe in a gorgeous and folktale-like world. Perfect for any mermaid obsessed child or as a gift!
The Merbaby by Teresa Bateman
Tarron loves the sea. He does not, however, love working for his brother’s fishery. Needs must be met, alas. Everything changes the day he accidentally fishes up a baby mermaid with beautiful green eyes. His brother declares that their troubles are over, for they can charge admission to see the little merbaby. However, Tarron feels in his heart that this is wrong and the baby must be returned. In a beautiful tale sure to encourage all, the exploration of what is the right thing is the theme of this book.
The Little Mermaid by Hans Christen Anderson
The timeless classic, the original story by Hans Christen Anderson follows a slightly different path than the Disney adaptation. A young mermaid obsessed with the human realm offers up her voice to the sea witch for a few short days on land. The catch is - if the Prince of the human world doesn’t kiss her by the end of the third day, she must kill him or be turned into a frothy foam. Beautifully told and in a world that will forever capture our heart, you can find this version of the tale in many different formats.
Pearl by Molly Idle
A beautiful story about a young mermaid who learns even the smallest of pebbles can make a wave. Young Pearl is determined to care for the whole sea. The kelp forests, the coral reefs, the sandy beaches. When her mother orders her to instead care for a mere grain of sand, Pearl is heartbroken. All of her patience is tested in this discovery of small changes, and how they make bigger ones.
Captain Monty Takes the Plunge by Jennifer Mook-Song
Captain Monty is a fierce pirate, unafraid of plundering the seas and enemy ships. His only fear? He’s scared of the water. He doesn’t know how to swim, and he doesn’t even bathe (it’s okay because pirates never bathe, har har har!). However, upon meeting a beautiful mermaid named Molly, he falls deeply in love. When danger comes and he is the only one who can save her, he must choose. Will his overwhelming fear of the sea stop him from jumping in and saving the love of his life?
The Mermaids by Jan Brett
This is the mermaid’s version of Goldie Locks and the Three Little Bears. Very rare that us land-dwellers find a fable told by the fishfolk! Little mermaid Kiniro finds a beautiful coral house with a perfect breakfast. She tries the three beds, none quite right. When the three Octopus come home to find their food eaten, their beds slept in, and a strange mermaid - they aren’t very happy!
Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love
Julian is a young boy obsessed with mermaids. He wishes to grow his hair out, to sprout a beautiful and sparkling tail in the place of his legs. More than anything, he wants to participate in the annual Coney Island Mermaid Parade. But what will Abuela think of his extravagant idea? Winner of the Stonewall Book Award, this book asks the question of what happens when we dare to be different from the expectations society has of us?
2. Mermaid Books for Young Readers:
Every mermaid will eventually grow out of being read to and want the freedom to read what they please. These next books are for our readers who are heading towards the end of their elementary schooling days, who are about to begin or are already sitting proud in their middle school years. For any reader who wants a mermaid story, here are some of your options!
The Tail of Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler
One of the most beloved mermaid series, this book is the first one to come up when beginning a search into mermaid books. Emily Windsnap is a girl who lives at the very edge of the city, on a boat with her mom. Despite living right above the water, her mother has always been determined to keep Emily out of the water. It’s soon revealed why, as in a school swimming exercise, Emily grows a tail! The discovery of her mermaid self gives way to solving a family mystery under the sea, and potentially a chance to reunite her mother and father. Beloved since it’s inauguration in 2003, the story continues well into 2020!
And then I turned into a Mermaid by Laura Kirkpatrick
Life at 13 is hard enough as it is - adding in the new family secret of a double life as a mermaid? Doesn’t exactly make it any easier! Will Molly sink or swim under the pressure of hiding her tail and being herself? It’s hard enough hiding a zit from the cute guy in class, but gills?!
Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk
Young Crow has lived her whole life on a tiny island with only her adoptive Uncle and their strange neighbor Maggie. Found as a baby on the shores of that very island, it is only when a series of mysterious occurrences cause Crow to explore beyond the shores of her home. A story about family, love, and finding our place in the world, you don’t want to miss out on this adorable read!
Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings
After an accidental drowning in their neighboring lake last summer, Jade feels adrift in the world without her mother. Summer vacation a year later doesn’t seem all that exciting, especially not with the arrival of (in this order); her first period, an old school crush, and the realization that she is a mermaid genetically. Talk about a lot on a girl’s plate! Her tail being revealed as genetic raises the question - if her mother was a mermaid, how did she drown?
Mermaids of the Deep Blue Sea by Gertrude Warner (Boxcar Children: Creatures of Legend 3)
Fans of the Boxcar Children will splash in joy for this excellent and informational adventure. The Alden Families have joined forces with Dr. Iris Perez on the hunt for the mysterious creatures rumored to be living off the coast in Puerto Rico!
Maybe a Mermaid by Josephine Cameron
Eleven year old Anthoni Gillis does not believe in fairytales. She doesn’t like fairies or unicorns - she even hates the word “maybe”. So when her family and her decide to spend a summer at Thunder Lake, where a rumored mermaid lives, she’s not amused. Afterall, all she really wants to focus on is finding a true-blue friend. It’s been hard with how her mother and her end up bouncing all over to sell her mother’s beauty products. But she has a plan this summer, and no scaly-finned creature is going to stop her.
Mermaid Tears by Susan L Reed
**Trigger Warning; Suicidal thoughs, suicide ideations, Depression**
Sarah has always been a perfect girl. Perfect grades, great friends, amazing family. Recently however, she’s been struggling to find joy again. Nothing seems to be fun anymore, even the things she wants to do. Her family doesn’t understand what’s happened to her, and neither really does Sarah. At her breaking point, she reaches out for help to a teacher who begins to give her the support and tools she needs to help pull her out of these mermaid tears. A great and loving story about mental health that encourages everyone to reach out whenever you feel like drowning!
Once Upon a Tide by Stephanie Strom
Princess Lana is the youngest ambassador to attend the Royal Festival on land. A festival celebrating the underwater world and the above land world’s continued alliance, Lana is feeling pretty nervous about it! Afterall, her mother chose to leave her to pursue a life on land. She's about to say goodbye to her tail for a clumsy pair of legs - all for a whole week! Still though, she can’t help but be excited to show off how great she is in the political world. During the meeting, an earthquake pushes Lana to stay on land for an even longer amount of time. In this twisting tale, Lana discovers what might be hiding the murky waters of politics, and what danger the undertow can bring.
A Princess of Wind and Wave by Melanie Cellier
A reimagining of the classic Little Mermaid, we follow Princess Isla. Isla may be a mermaid princess, but her heart is far above her on the land with the boy she once saved from drowning. She foresees a terrible tragedy upon her kingdom, and the fight to stop it even takes her above land. There, she will need more than just her sword to stop what’s plaguing her world, and win the Prince of her dreams.
Mimi’s Mermaids by Allen Balough
Three young mermaids find a mysterious pirate ship. Neither mermaid nor pirate have ever seen the other species before. Is this a recipe for disaster or a chance meeting waiting to be made? Find out in this beautiful story told in the style of Princess Bride.
The Mermaid’s Sister by Carrie Ann Noble
Forever enthralled by stories of magic, the two sisters Clara and Maren live with their Auntie and spend their days daydreaming with their friend O’Neil. However, when Clara discovers Maren is slowly growing some shimmering scales just under a thin layer of skin, she realizes her sister is turning into a mermaid and has to get to the sea. With the help of O’Neil, Clara attempts to send her sister into the water before she dries out forever.
A Mermaid’s Journal by Melissa Goodman
This is the totally true and real story of one mermaid living among land folks. No one believes her, except her best friend in the whole world. She gave her the idea to write her experiences as a mer-person living on land. This is a diary full of the most whimsical and mer-mazing stories. Don’t miss out!
Williamina Mermaid and the Quest for the Crystal of Light by J Kelly
A mermaid version of Rapunzel, young Williamina didn’t realize her “deformity” was actually a mermaid tail. Locked away for twelve long years in a bathroom by her evil aunts, her only company is a goldfish - it isn’t until a merman named Merlin rescues her that she learns her true fate. She is not only a mermaid, she is a princess. And it is up to her to find the Crystal of Light and save her kingdom!
TideSong by Wendy Xu
Sophie is a young witch who is pressured into attempting to join the Royal Magic Academy - even though her magic is shaky at best. In order to train, she is sent away to relatives she’s never met. Her Great Aunt Lan and cousin Sage are more interested in giving her chores than magic lessons. In a bout of frustration, she tries to practice her spells alone by the sea…and accidentally intertwines her magic with a young water dragon named Lir.
Really, Truly (A Pumpkin Falls Mystery) by Heather Vogel Frederick
The third in a series of a real girl who solves mysteries in her tiny little town, the third book is where she becomes a mermaid. Well, she attends a summer camp for mermaiding and learns the ancient art of how to swim like a mermaid, perform like a mermaid, and so on and so forth. A key component to solving the mystery currently on her plate - of a hidden pirate treasure on the island in the middle of the lake. This book is exciting as it actually mentions mermaiding as a sport!
3. Mermaid Books for Young Adults
Now we move into the next level - the YA, or Young Adult genre for mermaiding. These books can tend to be a bit more mature, leaning in heavier themes. Intended for ages around 12-17, checkout these fin-tastic finds!
Deep Blue (Book 1 of the Waterfire Saga) by Jennifer Donnelly
After a sudden uprising on the day of her coronation, young mermaid princess Serafina of the Mediterranean Sea must flee the kingdom and warn her other princesses of what is to come next to their kingdom. A quest of revenge and preventing war, Serafina is about to be tested in a way no arranged marriage could even dream.
The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall
Lost in her own disguise, young Florian is a woman disguising himself as a man aboard the Dove. A ship that disguises itself as a luxury cruise liner but is actually working to sell people for the slave trade. Florian doesn’t necessarily approve, but she has to do what she has to do in order to keep her younger brother alive and healthy on this ship of pirates and slavers. Everything changes with the arrival of Lady Evelyn, and the capture of a live mermaid. Their two paths cross in unlikely ways - in an epic tale filled with magic and the spirit of the sea.
In Deeper Waters by F.T. Lukens
A swoon worthy love story, young Prince Tal is on a tour of his kingdom when a mysterious prisoner by the name of Athlen interrupts in an unforgettable way. Prince Tal, thanks to his hidden magic, is tasked with guarding the prisoner - who promptly jumps overboard and presumably drowns in the sea. However, just a short few days later, Tal runs into Athlen again - alive and well on land. Before more can be discovered, Prince Tal is kidnapped by pirates. His only hope may be the mysterious boy who can survive drowning.
The Girl From the Sea by Molly Knox Ostertag
In this graphic novel, a young girl has been feeling ostracized since her family’s move to a small island town after her father divorces from them. Her friends just aren’t getting it, and these feelings only get worse with her discovery of a mysterious girl from the sea. This girl is a selkie - and also is awakening some feelings in Morgan that make her feel even more different than her friends.
To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
In a world with over 100 kingdoms, there are plenty of royal hearts for Princess Lira to steal and devour. Quite literally - she is a siren who loves to drown specifically Prince’s. Rivaling her, a Prince named Elian who hunts down the sirens who kill those unsuspecting sailors. Their fates are intertwined when after taking the fall from her friend, Lira is punished by turning human, and thankfully Elian is there with the blood of a siren on his hands to keep her from drowning. The two must join forces to overthrow Lira’s mother, the cruel queen of the ocean, without killing each other…or falling in love.
Lost Voices by Sarah Porter
**Trigger warning; Abuse, murder, sexual assault attempt**
Mermaids are the souls of young girls who have been mistreated so much that their souls melt into the sea. Fourteen year old Luce is one of those girls. After many years of being abused by her Uncle, the night that he attempts to rape her is the night that she melts away into the sea. There, she joins a mermaid pod who love to sing people to their deaths. Hopeful for the belonging she’s always wanted, Luce tries to keep to herself how she doesn’t want to kill anyone. Even with the most powerful voice in the pod making it hard to appease the pod leader’s wishes, Luce knows she can be different. Can Luce speak her mind without being cast out again?
Mermaid Moon by Susann Cokal
Sanna is a mermaid - well, sort of. She was cursed as a baby - making all of her people, including her own mother, forget who she is. In a desperate plea, she trains under a sea witch to learn the ins and outs of magic. To learn everything about her curse, she must travel to land - which brings its own dangers and curses.
Ice Massacre (Book 1 of Mermaids of Eriana Kwai) by Tiana Warner
Every year, the mermaids come. And every year, the warriors they send out to face them never come back. The island of Eriana Kwai is desperate, and so this year they send out 20 highly trained women who are supposed to be able to resist their demonic magic. Eighteen year old Meela has already lost her brother to these massacres, and her secret may be the only way she gets any justice.
A Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler
A loose retelling of The Little Mermaid, in this book we follow young Elyse after a boating accident takes away her future as a singer. Reluctantly accepting her friend’s invitation for a getaway in the Atargatis Cove, she meets the local heartbreaker Christine Kane. With her voice gone, but he seems to only see past that - can she find herself again?
Skin of the Sea by Natasha Bowen
Inspired by West African mythology, this book is an instant favorite! Simi is a Mami Wata, working for the sea goddess that saved her life - not that Simi can remember that particular event. Her job is to take the souls of those drowned off the horrible slavery ships and release them to the skies. However, she’s never encountered a soul who was still alive. Without thinking, she saves this human’s life; unaware that doing this breaks an ancient law. Now Simi must journey to land, to find the Supreme Creator and make some amends. But the more time on land she spends, the more her memories return. The journey is perilous in more ways than one, and Simi must find her path before she brings down the fall of the entire Mami Wata.
In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan
The Borderlands are a place unlike any other in the world. Nothing modern is allowed over the wall - no phones, no cameras, no GPS. And after a school field trip reveals him to be different, Elliot is sent over the wall to finish his schooling with the wild magics, mermaids, and all the amazing books he could ever ask for. A fun academic setting where mermaids rule!
Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser
For generations, Caroline’s family has been destined for the river. One by one, each member of her bloodline is picked by the river god; a deity that guides countless voyages through the Riverlands. Now 17, Caroline is beginning to wonder if she will ever be picked; despite her supposed destiny leading her there. But after her father is arrested for refusing to deliver a mysterious package, Caroline takes control of her own destiny - river god blessing or not. For her father’s freedom, an epic quest filled with politics, lies, and dangerous pirates begins to tear through what Caroline once thought she would become.
A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow
In a world where magic is common, Sirens face an extraordinary amount of discrimination. Their lovely voices are mistaken for treacherous, malicious lures. Tavia has just moved to this new town, already feeling left out due to her race - nevermind her siren abilities. Even with her bestie Effie - who has her own kinds of secrets. She knows she has magic, but what kind? When she was only a little girl, she accidentally turned her friends to stone. Some kind of fairy? It’s hard to say. Both girls are doing their best to keep their heads down, but with the arrival of a Gargoyle sitting atop their house - they may be in a world of danger.
Sea Witch by Sarah Henning
In this fairytale gone wrong, Evie is left without her best friend and left as a social outcast. Anna should be dead and drowned - but when a young girl looking just like her reappears on the shore, Evie is convinced. Somehow her best friend is still alive, even if this new Anna denies being her. Evie is desperate to prove her magic is not a curse, and if it means helping this new Anna find a way to keep her human legs and catching the eyes of two maybe Princes - so be it!
4. Mermaid Books for Adults
In this section, we’re going to be talking about some books for more mature audiences. If you need a good mermaid book to curl up with on your land bed; we recommend some of these titles below!
The Deep by Rivers Soloman
In this novella, we follow Yetu, the keeper of memories for her mermaid people. They are the daughters of those who drowned off the edge of slave ships sailing from Africa to North America. Every year, it is Yetu’s burden to share these memories with all of her people - but outside of that, they are hers alone to bear. One year, she refuses to hold them all again, and thus shares the burden with the children the whales cared for in the human stead.
The Mermaid by Christine Henry
A historical fantasy in which a mermaid follows the love of her live onto land - only to find herself the newest attraction in P.T. Barnum’s circus. Amelia has lived as a human and entered the circus willingly, though leaving now may seem harder than leaving the sea ever did. A stunning fiction that will take your breath away!
Daughter of the Deep by Lina C. Amarego
Four years of endless slaughter, brought to the end only by a contractual wedding that if fails; more blood shall be spilled. Keira Branwen knows her duty well. The first mate of a pirate family, she must marry her childhood friend and father’s alleged killer in order to keep her family safe from the Council’s looming banishment. Ronan Mathowny is determined to prove his innocence, however this task forces both Keira and himself into the depths of water neither are prepared for.
The Mermaid of Black Conch
A mermaid who would give anything for the fisherman who sang her from the sea. A man who feels more for his mermaid than anything that the world of the land has given him. After his mermaid is captured by American tourists, the fisherman is determined to win back her love. But the deeper into their love they fall, the more the world around them changes. Nominated for a whole shell-full of awards, this story is beautiful and worth a read!
Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama
A family that is cursed if they fall in love faces yet another tragedy with the seventeen year old Hester meets Ezra. Desperate to find a way to avoid this curse, Hester and Ezra research into Hester’s family’s past. Together they uncover the secret of Hester’s ancestor, a mermaid who gave up everything to be with a human. The sea is a jealous keeper of her secrets - how can they possibly overcome her wishes?
The Siren by Kiera Cass
Kahlen has heard the rules a million times over, and for all of her life she was willing to listen to them so she could become a siren. However, upon meeting the human Akinli; suddenly the rules she was so willing to listen to for the life she was meant to live no longer feels like enough. The sisterhood of Sirens are very firm - to avoid bonding with humans in general. It’s a lonely existence, but one that Kahlen believed she was meant to have. How can she choose between her present and her future?
Tempest Rising by Tracy Debbs
Tempest has a very firm foot on land. She works for her family, loving her little brothers and her hard working father. She’s deeply in love with her long term boyfriend, Mark. But her other foot? She can’t deny how it sits in the sea. Her secret that she wanted to take to the grave just won’t stay buried - that she is half mermaid. Her mother returned to the sea years and years ago, and now it is Tempest’s turn to feel the pull of the tides.
The Pisces by Melissa Broder
*NSFW* *Trigger warning: Death of a dog*
After the breakup of who was supposed to be her forever lover, Lucy falls deep into a depressive cycle. One so bad it culminates in her falling asleep behind the wheel and smacking said ex lover in the face. With her dissertation on the works of Sappho still impatiently waiting for her inspiration to return less she lose her job, it seems fitting that this is when she meets a charming merman to give her lessons on physical love vs. real love. A twisted story describing love in all its ways, this book is not for our younger readers or our easily disturbed readers!
5. Books For Mermaids to Read to Children
With that huge list ending, we wanted to just list three stories that we think are great to read for any performing mermaids who want another fun activity to do! There are so many more amazing stories that children have fallen in love with time and time again, you can find one for any event. If you’re unsure, try these three!
The Brave Mermaid by Mermaid Kariel
Written by one of the biggest Mermaid Performers of our generation, this picture book holds a lovely story about a mermaid learning to never give up on her dream. Alongside gorgeous illustrations and real-life mesmerizing photos of Mermaid Kariel herself, this is an inspirational story to read a loud!
Mabel: A Mermaid Fable by Rowboat Watkins
We talked about this beautiful little book earlier in this post, but we also have it nominated for one of our read-a-longs! Mabel’s story is filled with fun rhymes (you can even sing it!), beautiful pictures to wow any child, and inspirational to boot. It’s cute, short, and will help spread positive messages of fitting in and who you are!
Pearl by Molly Idle
Pearl has the beautiful message of caring for the environment with big, puffy illustrations! We recommend Pearl thanks to it’s important story; and how easily the rhymes fly off the tongue! A great story to end your performance and leave the children wanting to make a better change in the world - we can’t recommend enough!
We could list a million more books and stories to check out - but we’ll leave you with your very wide pool of choices here for now! We hope you find your favorite mermaid read!