Reviews for Annette feels free : the true story of Annette Kellerman, world-class swimmer, fashion pioneer, and real-life mermaid

Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

A sweeping biography of an influential woman. Annette Kellerman (1887-1975), a White woman from Australia, had a varied career that spanned the globe. When she was young, she loved to dance, but a physical illness made her legs weak, and she had to wear restrictive braces. In an attempt to lift her spirits, her father taught her to swim. Annette flourished in the freedom of the water, and her legs got stronger. She went on to swim competitively, breaking records even in coed races. However, she still felt restricted in the elaborate and cumbersome swim costumes women were expected to wear, so she created her own swimsuit, which matched the men’s. Arrested in Boston for indecency, Annette won her case for functionality and fairness, later selling her creation to the public. She also pioneered the dancelike moves of artistic swimming as she performed in international shows and several movies. In an author’s note, Mazeika observes how Annette’s physical disability led her to her life’s passion, setting her on the path of success and breaking boundaries. Annette’s legacy in competitive, artistic, and recreational swimming is undeniable, and Mazeika’s text deftly balances her subject’s varied career. The illustrations have soft edges and strong, textured colors—perfect for depicting so many water scenes. People depicted in historical scenes are light-skinned; those in the last spread, depicting modern times, are more diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.) Swim-pressive! (biography, sources) (Picture-book biography. 4-8) Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.