A Dozen Books on African Mythology: The Significance of Black Mermaids and Sirens

By Desiree Cueto and Dorea Kleker, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

African diaspora folklore, myths and legends have been passed down through oral traditions from generation to generation. A prominent figure in stories told across different African nations is that of the mermaid. The half human/half fish water spirit is referred to by different names depending on the specific African nation and unique cultures within. For example, Mami Wata is a deity whose story is told throughout different parts of West Africa. She is known for bestowing wealth and power as well as destruction. A similar figure, called Yemoja is known to the Yoruba people of Nigeria to be a giver of life, and La Sirene is a Haitian spirit of the sea. Over time, the oral stories of mermaids and sirens have been written and published throughout the world and have become the inspiration for several recent picture books and novels. This set of books features twelve books that center on Black mermaids and African mythology.

WOW Dozen features a list of 12 global books for children and adolescents around a theme, topic, issue or personal favorites. Each Dozen consists of ten newly-published titles with two older “must have” books. Please share or recommend additional books that fit the theme in the comments section or on social media using #WOWDozen. Use the printer icon in the upper left corner of this post to print or save this list as a PDF.

array(12) {
  ["_edit_lock"]=>
  array(1) {
    [0]=>
    string(12) "1656528392:2"
  }
  ["_edit_last"]=>
  array(1) {
    [0]=>
    string(1) "2"
  }
  ["_thumbnail_id"]=>
  array(1) {
    [0]=>
    string(5) "42094"
  }
  ["_yoast_wpseo_opengraph-image"]=>
  array(1) {
    [0]=>
    string(88) "https://wowlit.org/wp-content/media/Rise-of-the-Jumbies-Tracey-Baptiste9781616209827.jpg"
  }
  ["_yoast_wpseo_opengraph-image-id"]=>
  array(1) {
    [0]=>
    string(5) "42684"
  }
  ["_yoast_wpseo_twitter-image"]=>
  array(1) {
    [0]=>
    string(91) "https://wowlit.org/wp-content/media/Mermaid-of-Black-Conch-Monique-Roffey-9780593534205.jpg"
  }
  ["_yoast_wpseo_twitter-image-id"]=>
  array(1) {
    [0]=>
    string(5) "42679"
  }
  ["_yoast_wpseo_focuskw"]=>
  array(1) {
    [0]=>
    string(14) "Black Mermaids"
  }
  ["_yoast_wpseo_metadesc"]=>
  array(1) {
    [0]=>
    string(153) "African diaspora stories have been passed down through oral traditions over generations. This WOW Dozen offers books featuring Black mermaids and sirens."
  }
  ["_yoast_wpseo_linkdex"]=>
  array(1) {
    [0]=>
    string(2) "80"
  }
  ["_yoast_wpseo_content_score"]=>
  array(1) {
    [0]=>
    string(2) "30"
  }
  ["_yoast_wpseo_primary_category"]=>
  array(1) {
    [0]=>
    string(4) "5239"
  }
}

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *