Mermaid By Cerrie Burnell & Laura Ellen Anderson

MermaidLuka lives by the seaside and is fascinated by the ocean but his family don’t share his interest at all. He really wants to learn to swim but he doesn’t have anyone to teach him so instead he watches the waves and wonders what it might be like.

One day he spots a girl having fun in the water and she moves so gracefully that he thinks it must be a mermaid. He watches her for a long time until she swims up to the pier and is pulled gently out of the water by her father. He is so mesmerised by her that he barely notices the fact she uses a wheelchair on land – all he can see is her smile.

She tells him that her name is Sylvia and she offers to teach him to swim. By the end of the next day Luka is able to float on the waves all by himself and his family are very proud of his achievement.

That night he dreams that Sylvia is a mermaid and they have an exciting adventure under the sea – but we are left wondering if it is really just a dream. Then the next day there is a wonderful surprise waiting for him at school. What could it be?

It’s shocking how few books there are out there which depict children with disabilities so I have a lot of love for this one. Sylvia shines as a talented swimmer, competent teacher and good friend, showing children that a disability is something that you have, not something which defines who you are.

However this book isn’t just about disability, it also carries a great message about personal growth and strength. By following his dreams, despite the initial lack of understanding from his family, Luka opens up a whole new world for himself and also opens the eyes of those around him.

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