The Lake Michigan Mermaid
A Tale in Poems
Linda Nemec Foster and Anne-Marie Oomen
Illustrated by Meridith Ridl
Printed Paper Cased
Pages: 64 Size: 7x8
Illustrations: 30 color illustrations
The Lake Michigan Mermaid is a new tale that feels familiar. The breeze off the lake, the sand underfoot, the supreme sadness of being young and not in control—these sensations come rushing back page by page, bringing to life an ancient myth of coming of age in a troubled world. Freed from the minds of Linda Nemec Foster and Anne-Marie Oomen, the Lake Michigan mermaid serves as a voice of reason for when we’re caught in the riptide.
This is a gripping tale in poems of a young girl’s desperate search for guidance in a world turned upside down by family and economic upheaval. Raised in a ramshackle cottage on the shores of Lake Michigan, Lykretia takes refuge in her beloved lake in the face of her grandmother’s illness and her mother’s eager attempts to sell their home following her recent divorce. One day Lykretia spots a creature in the water, something beautiful and inexplicable. Is it the mythical Lake Michigan mermaid, or an embodiment of the stories her grandmother told as dementia ravaged her mind? Thus begins a telepathic conversation between a lost young girl and Phyliadellacia, the mermaid who saves her in more ways than one.
Accompanied by haunting illustrations, The Lake Michigan Mermaid offers a tender tale of friendship, redemption, and the life-giving power of water. As it explores family relationships and generational bonds, this book is an unforgettable experience that aims to connect readers of all ages.
When a young girl who fears she is losing everything stands along the shore of Lake Michigan she senses a presence hidden beneath the waves. As her grandmother did before her, she has faith in her intuitions, and in a moment of despair is met by a mysterious healing power. This lovely series of poems, beautifully illustrated in quiet watercolors, tells a tale of grief and longing healed by grace.
– Patricia Hooper
Deft storytellers, Foster and Oomen bring wit, empathy, and a precise eye for detail as they write of the rituals of family and the sorrows of the dispossessed. A richness of metaphors and a fascination with language pulse in work that deserves an enthusiastic audience.
– Colette Inez, author of The Luba Poems
When a girl knows too much already about loss and longing but keeps her heart open, anything is possible. A beloved lake may reveal one of its great secrets. The girl may discover she’s not as alone as she feared. Through poems written in two, alternating voices, The Lake Michigan Mermaid is a story that seems at once both classic and modern; it offers no fairy-tale ending, yet it captivates us with its mysteries, magic, and hope.
– Meg Kearney, author of When You Never Said Goodbye
Readers who love Franny Billingsley's The Folk Keeper and Susan Cooper's The Selkie Girl will be delighted with The Lake Michigan Mermaid. It is a lyrical story for lovers of mermaids and water, for dreamy detectives, for wanderers and artists, for word-lovers and shell-collectors.
– Laura Williams McCaffrey, author of Alia Waking, Water Shaper, and Marked
An earthy, bittersweet fable, told in shimmering glimpses, of four hearts searching for connection -- with each other, and with what is beyond their understanding. Oomen and Foster weave their magical tale out of beach grass and ribbon, out of sorrow and joy, out of water, sand, and ice.
– Lynne Rae Perkins, Newbery-winning author of Criss Cross
No matter how many times we reach for it, The Lake Michigan Mermaid continues to open us into a world where water is always speaking and implores us to listen to the many voices flowing through its currents. This important and timely work, lyrically told and lovingly illustrated, has been honored as a 2019 Michigan Notable Book.
– Mary Ladany, Presence: A Journal of Catholic Poetry 2019
2018 Foreword INDIES Book Awards - Result: Finalist in the Poetry category
2019 Michigan Notable Book Award - Result: 1 of 20 selected annually
2019 da Vinci Eye from the Eric Hoffer Awards - Result: Finalist
Interview with Mary McSchmidt (March 4, 2020)
Linda Nemec Foster interviewed on WGVU Public Radio with Shelley Irwin (May 31, 2019)
Linda Nemec Foster interviewed on WBLV-FM (Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp’s public radio station) by Foley Schuler (March 5, 2019)
Linda Nemec Foster interviewed on WYCE's Electric Poetry with KT Herr and Kelsey May (September 11, 2018)
Linda Nemec Foster and Anne-Marie Oomen on WMUK's Between the Lines with Zinta Aistars (May 30, 2018)
Linda Nemec Foster and Anne-Marie Oomen on Michigan Public Radio's Stateside with Cynthia Canty (May 21, 2018)
Linda Nemec Foster and Anne-Marie Oomen on WGVU Public Radio with Shelley Irwin (April 2, 2018)
Linda Nemec Foster and Anne-Marie Oomen on Up North Media Center's Up Front Fridays (April 2018)