Local author’s love of water inspires book for young readers
It’s no surprise that Janet Lucy would write a book titled “Mermaid Dreams” (Seven Seas Press, $14.95).
“Water is my element,” said Ms. Lucy. “I was always swimming in the ocean or pools while growing up in Newport Beach. I earned a minor in coaching swimming at UCSB. I lived in fishing villages in Mexico and Costa Rica.
“The mermaid archetype is always with me.”
What is a surprise is that the main characters in the 46-page soft cover book written for 6- to 8-year olds are females of color.
“The stereotypical mermaid has blonde hair and blue eyes. I wanted to represent the women of color I saw in Mexico and Costa Rica,” said Ms. Lucy, a blonde with brown eyes.
Referring to herself as an “accidental author,” the local author said she was inspired to write the book after bonding with Milanie, the young daughter of her good friend, Erika Romer.
“Milanie dreamed of being a mermaid but had ocean fears and nightmares. I was familiar with Yemaya, the Ocean Goddess, and in the book, I have Yemaya come to Maya, the girl, in her dreams. She takes her on an incredible journey to show her the beauty beneath the ocean, and when Maya wakes up, she has lost her fears and becomes courageous,” said Ms. Lucy, who has her teaching credential from UCSB and a master’s degree in counseling psychology from Antioch University in Santa Barbara.
In addition to “Mermaid Dreams,” which won the Children’s Book of the Year Award for 2020 from Creative Child Magazine, she has written “Moon Mother, Moon Daughter — Myths and Rituals that Celebrate a Girl’s Coming of Age”; “The Three Sunflowers,” which won the Children’s Book of the Year Award in 2018; “Los Tres Girasoles” (bilingual version of “The Three Sunflowers”); and “Suenos de Sirena” (bilingual version of “Mermaid Dreams”).
Santa Barbara artist Colleen McCarthy-Evans created the illustrations for “Mermaid Dreams.”
“The book wouldn’t be as magical without Colleen’s watercolors,” said Ms. Lucy.
Last month, 173 girls who attend Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara received copies of the book, which includes a discussion guide and activities for its young readers.
“Mermaid Dreams” is published by Seven Seas Press, a local nonprofit that donates books and partners with organizations that offer direct services to children and families, locally and internationally.
Partners are Ms. Lucy, Ms. McCarthy-Evans and Ms. Romer, who also serves as executive director.
“I imagine the ‘Strong, Smart and Bold’ girls at Girls Inc. might empathize with the fears and dreams of the protagonist Maya in ‘Mermaid Dreams’ and find inspiration, comfort and joy in her beautiful undersea journey. I hope this book offers the girls and their families an additional resource this summer and beyond,” said Ms. Lucy.