Mermaid Queen: The Spectacular True Story of Annette Kellerman, Who Swam Her Way to Fame, Fortune & Swimsuit History!

Illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham

If you love sports and people who aren’t afraid to swim against the tide, Annette Kellerman and her freestyle approach to life will make your heart swell. As a child growing up in Australia, Annette Kellerman was a frail ugly duckling who dreamed of becoming a graceful ballerina. With pluck and courage, she confronted a crippling illness—and countless naysayers—to become an internationally known record-setting athlete who revolutionized the sport of swimming for women; a movie star who invented water ballet; and a fashion revolutionary who modernized the swimsuit. Wow, thanks, Annette!

Click here for a downloadable Educators Guide. For additional resources and information on Mermaid Queen check out the Extras page! 

      • A Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Book

      • A New York State Reading Association Charlotte Award 

         Reading List Selection

      • A Pennsylvania Young Readers Choice Award Nominee

      • A Utah Beehive Award Nominee

      • A Cybils Nonfiction Picture Book Finalist

      • An ALA Amelia Bloomer Selection

      • A Parents Magazine Best Children’s Books of the Year

      • A Junior Library Guild Selection

What people are saying:

This rule-breaking, high-diving, early fashionista will inspire. . . . 

In the early 1900s, before women were allowed to compete in the Olympics, [Annette Kellerman’s] hard-earned athleticism drew more criticism than compliments. Eager to do something more artistic with her abilities, Annette invented water ballet, and her acrobatic feats drew crowds. Each event described is interesting, but what really shines is Kellerman’s persistent refusal to rest on her laurels. Fotheringham’s glorious artwork is filled with period details. The extensive back matter details Kellerman’s further accomplishments and includes citations. This well-written and brightly illustrated account is a perfect pearl.” —School Library Journal, starred review

“Little has been written about Annette Kellerman, the founder of water ballet and modernizer of the female swimsuit; Corey’s lively descriptions and powerful phrasing successfully fill this niche. Text and art blend in their celebration of this spirited athlete.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“In a presentation as splashy as its subject, this oversize picture-book biography introduces Annette Kellerman, swimmer and swimsuit revolutionary. Corey and Fotheringham combine their considerable talents to bring the largely forgotten Kellerman to the fore. The text is snappy and the art vigorous. For those who want to know more, the detailed author’s note does that job capably.” —Booklist

“Admirers of Corey and of Fotheringham will be eager for this picture book biography of another early feminist, the swimmer Annette Kellerman. As a child in Australia, Kellerman had to wear leg braces . . . to strengthen her body, she swam—and grew up to become an endurance swimmer, to invent water ballet and introduce the modern bathing suit to horrified Americans and Europeans (swimming before an audience that included British royalty, Kellerman was made to cover up her bare legs). As in her previous books, Corey includes the details that both humanize Kellerman and make her a legend; for example, trying to cross the English Channel, the swimmer ‘slurps’ soup or hot chocolate through a ‘long-snouted’ cup and eats sandwiches proffered on the end of a long stick. The art is equally powerful.” —Publishers Weekly

“A splashy account of a little known spunky Australian athlete, who created water ballet, invented the modern swimsuit, and fought for women’s rights to compete in sports. One of my favorite books of the year.” —Parents

“Annette Kellerman loved to make waves. In her own way she helped free women everywhere. There is a verve in Fotheringham’s visualization of Kellerman’s story that matches the vibrant telling . . . the book radiates excitement. There are extensive added notes on Kellerman and the period.” —Children’s Literature

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