My Cousin’s Mermaid: A Story from Poland

Barefoot Bks. Sept. 2023. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9798888590041.
K-Gr 4–A heartwarming and necessary story about building family connections across cultural divides. Natalia feels a mixture of nervousness and excitement about visiting her mother’s native Poland for the first time in two years. She has always wanted a cousin at home to play with, but when she sees her Polish cousin Karolina, she has trouble connecting with her. Natalia struggles to understand the language, jokes, food, and games. But with the help of a mermaid, Natalia and Karolina will discover their shared love of stories and strengthen their bond as “cousin-sisters.” Back matter includes synopses of traditional Polish folktales and an author’s note sharing her personal connection to the story. The illustrations are bright and crisply detailed. Among the pages are so many perfect little sights to feast on in the unnamed Polish city, from cozy streets and apartments to lush parks and beautiful sculptures.
VERDICT A worthy purchase for any children’s collection, especially those serving immigrant populations, but all readers will relate to the struggle and joy of finding connection in an unfamiliar place.

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