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Annette Feels Free

The True Story of Annette Kellerman, World-Class Swimmer, Fashion Pioneer, and Real-Life Mermaid

Illustrated by Katie Mazeika

About The Book

Discover the incredible true story of “The Original Mermaid,” Annette Kellerman, a girl who wanted to dance, swim, and feel free—and who grew into a woman who fought for the right to do just that!

Annette loved to dance and twirl and pirouette. But when she got sick and had to start wearing braces on her legs, Annette stopped dancing. Until, one day, her dad took her swimming. Annette could finally dance again—in the water! She water danced her way to England, where she performed water ballets, attempted daring dives, and competed in swim races. When she competed against men (and won!), she realized it wasn’t fair that women had to swim in full skirts, so she made her own swimsuit, and fought for the right to wear it.

Experience the journey of an independent and determined young woman, who swam, danced, dove, and designed so she could live her life feeling free.

About The Author

Photo courtesy of the author

Katie Mazeika is an author and illustrator with a BFA from the Columbus College of Art and Design. When she isn’t in the studio, she likes to spend time at the theater, in her garden, or getting lost in a good book. She is the creator of picture book biographies including Annette Feels Free and Beulah Has a Hunch!. She lives in Ohio with her family and two dogs.

About The Illustrator

Photo courtesy of the author

Katie Mazeika is an author and illustrator with a BFA from the Columbus College of Art and Design. When she isn’t in the studio, she likes to spend time at the theater, in her garden, or getting lost in a good book. She is the creator of picture book biographies including Annette Feels Free and Beulah Has a Hunch!. She lives in Ohio with her family and two dogs.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Beach Lane Books (September 13, 2022)
  • Length: 40 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781665903448
  • Lexile ® AD800L The Lexile reading levels have been certified by the Lexile developer, MetaMetrics®

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Raves and Reviews

A sweeping biography of an influential woman.... Annette’s legacy in competitive, artistic, and recreational swimming is undeniable, and Mazeika’s text deftly balances her subject’s varied career. The illustrations have soft edges and strong, textured colors—perfect for depicting so many water scenes.... Swim-pressive!"

– Kirkus Reviews, 06/15/2022

"It’s an enthralling introduction to a remarkable woman, and the splashy, stylized illustrations bring her vividly to life with a real sense of movement and play, while detailed endnotes and fabulous photographs round out the already intriguing story."

– Booklist, 09/01/2022

Awards and Honors

  • CBC/NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book

Resources and Downloads

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More books from this author: Katie Mazeika