I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.Mermaid Kenzie by Charlotte Watson Sherman
Illustrator: Geneva Bowers
Published by Astra Publishing House on January 18, 2022
Genres: Juvenile Fiction / Diversity & Multicultural, Juvenile Fiction / Family / Parents, Juvenile Fiction / Science & Nature / Environment
Format: eBook, Hardcover
Buy on Amazon, Buy on Bookshop
Kenzie turns her fierce love for the ocean into action, resourcefully cleaning up the beach after her mermaid-tail swimsuit tangles in floating plastic bags.
When Kenzie slips on her mermaid tail, she becomes Mermaid Kenzie, protector of the deeps. One day as Kenzie snorkels around a shipwreck, she discovers more plastic bags than fish. Grabbing her spear and mermaid net, she begins to clean up the water and the shore--inspiring other kids to help.
Beautifully written in African American Vernacular English, this poetic picture book includes back matter with information about how plastic winds up in our oceans and examples of people--some of them kids, like Kenzie--who have worked to protect the sea. Mermaid Kenzie celebrates the ways that all of us, no matter how small, can make a difference.
A Children’s Book on Environmental Awareness and Activism
Environmental activism, kid activists and black mermaids are the power of three for me! I loved this gorgeous book, Mermaid Kenzie: Protector of the Deep by Charlotte Watson Sherman. It is about a little girl named, McKenzie, who studies the oceanic environment with her Mom. This is a great book for learning about taking care of the ocean and environment. You could also read it with your little one before you take a trip to the beach.
I’m sorry, let me rewind. It is actually Mermaid Kenzie! Because when Kenzie is in the water she has a mermaid tail that she uses to navigate the ocean world. This beautiful little Black girl gets to go on daily adventures with her mother to explore the wildlife and environment of the ocean and beach. The illustrations are absolutely beautiful! There are rich blues that compliment every page.
Representation & Dialect
I’m so happy to see this representation, because one of the top career choices I’ve often heard little girls express is being a marine biologist. Now Black girls have representation to help them see themselves in that role!
Mermaid Kenzie goes on adventures both during the day and night to explore. I love this line, “We read the ocean like other folk study books.” I loved the language in the book. It is written using African American vernacular. Exposure to different dialects and speech patterns is important for readers both young and old.
Call to Action
This book is also a good example for how young people can engage in environmental activism by participating in beach cleanups. Mermaid Kenzie doesn’t just get upset about the trash she encounters in the ocean, she organizes her friends and does something about it! If you are doing a read aloud with children, this is a great opportunity to explore a call to action!