Welcome to day Q in the A to Z Blog challenge where I’m swimming through the alphabet with the theme “Living in a Mermaid World.”
Q is for queen and here is a true story about a real life Mermaid Queen who is certainly an inspiration to water loving me.
The Mermaid Queen by Shana Corey (author) and Edwin Fotheringham (illustrator) picture book published by Scholastic Press 2009
Subtitled, The Spectacular True Story of Annette Kellerman, who swam her way to fame, fortune and swimsuit history, the book begins “Annette Kellerman loved to make waves.” She was born in Australia in 1886 with a medical condition that made her legs so weak that she had to wear heavy leg braces. Her doctors suggested swimming to strengthen her legs. She became an accomplished swimmer and since her dream was to be a ballerina, she began dancing in the water thus inventing water ballet.
She became an accomplished diver and she and her father took her abilities on the road. Soon known as the Mermaid Queen, she wowed the British by swimming the River Thames and trying to be the first woman to cross the English channel. When invited to swim for the Queen, she was told she certainly could not show her bare legs. She quickly improvised by sewing stockings to her suit. She made quite a splash! She traveled Europe and finally arrived in Massachusetts. Women at the time wore full heavy outfits to the beach. When Annette appeared in her sleek suit, she was arrested! She told the judge that swimming was healthy and asked how women could possibly learn to swim in such cumbersome clothes. He agreed and the Mermaid Queen was freed. Soon, brave women followed her lead and began to swim into the surf with stylish suits like Annette.
Annette Kellerman went on to star in ocean themed silent movies. She opened a health food store and wrote a number of books that promoted swimming and a healthy life style. In 1952, Esther Williams starred in Million Dollar Mermaid which was based on the life of the Mermaid Queen who changed swimsuit history and attitudes toward women swimmers.
This biography is informative, clever, and fun. The illustrations are bright and colorful and match the witty text. This is definitely a book to share with kids who love the water.
For the letter Q, I’d also like to share some mermaid quotes –
Q is also for Qipao which is a form-hugging dress with a high neck and buttions first made popular in 1920s Shanghai. Land locked ladies can channel their inner mermaid by wearing a Qipao.
Aren’t you glad that Annette Kellerman convinced people that women should swim in comfortable swimsuits?