Protector of the Deeps
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.
Combining dialogue with songlike poetry, Sherman centers a young Black child named McKenzie who enjoys visiting the beach, donning a mermaid tail, and playing in the water with a seal buddy named Cocoa. McKenzie, also known as "Mermaid Kenzie, Protector of the Deeps," stages a beach cleanup after encountering plastic bags while snorkeling: "This mermaid cleans up for my sea pals." Digital art by Bowers renders glossy, big-eyed characters of varying skin tones against vividly colored, thinly outlined backdrops, while poetic lines ("Mist silver the water,/ briny taste on our tongue./ Seaweed perfume the air./ Gray, the heron, drift past,/ wing almost blocking the sun") lead to a feel-good ending with an inspiring message. Ages 4 8.