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The Legend of the Colombian Mermaid

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The Legend of the Colombian Mermaid is based on the legend of La Sirena De Hurtado, in Valledupar, Colombia. It dates back to 1917 and tells the story of a young girl who defied her parents and went swimming in the river on Good Friday. According to the legend the girl turned into a mermaid because she was cursed for her disobedience and non-observance of Good Friday a tra The Legend of the Colombian Mermaid is based on the legend of La Sirena De Hurtado, in Valledupar, Colombia. It dates back to 1917 and tells the story of a young girl who defied her parents and went swimming in the river on Good Friday. According to the legend the girl turned into a mermaid because she was cursed for her disobedience and non-observance of Good Friday a traditional Catholic holiday. See the pictures of the monument of La Sirena De Hurtado located at the edge of the Guatapurri River in Valledupar, Colombia. Every summer, the swimming basin attracts hundreds of tourists who want to see the monument of the mermaid and swim in the crystal blue waters of this legendary river.


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The Legend of the Colombian Mermaid is based on the legend of La Sirena De Hurtado, in Valledupar, Colombia. It dates back to 1917 and tells the story of a young girl who defied her parents and went swimming in the river on Good Friday. According to the legend the girl turned into a mermaid because she was cursed for her disobedience and non-observance of Good Friday a tra The Legend of the Colombian Mermaid is based on the legend of La Sirena De Hurtado, in Valledupar, Colombia. It dates back to 1917 and tells the story of a young girl who defied her parents and went swimming in the river on Good Friday. According to the legend the girl turned into a mermaid because she was cursed for her disobedience and non-observance of Good Friday a traditional Catholic holiday. See the pictures of the monument of La Sirena De Hurtado located at the edge of the Guatapurri River in Valledupar, Colombia. Every summer, the swimming basin attracts hundreds of tourists who want to see the monument of the mermaid and swim in the crystal blue waters of this legendary river.

32 review for The Legend of the Colombian Mermaid

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lorraine Carey

    Since I love mermaid tales, and ethnic legends, I was most excited to discover The Legend of the Columbian Mermaid. The Guatapuri River holds a dark secret. Legend has it that a mermaid lurks in the deep ready to snatch young children who are out and about after dark. A brother and sister become victim to this mermaid and it will be up to a very loving and strong sister to rescue her brother when he falls prey to the legendary mermaid. Some surprising animal friends show up and hold the secret t Since I love mermaid tales, and ethnic legends, I was most excited to discover The Legend of the Columbian Mermaid. The Guatapuri River holds a dark secret. Legend has it that a mermaid lurks in the deep ready to snatch young children who are out and about after dark. A brother and sister become victim to this mermaid and it will be up to a very loving and strong sister to rescue her brother when he falls prey to the legendary mermaid. Some surprising animal friends show up and hold the secret that can assist in the rescue. I have to say the illustrations are very captivating. This tale is a wonderful addition to a child’s personal library.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lisa's Kids' Book Reviews

    This is a very lovely retelling of the La Sirena Mermaid. It takes place in a town called Valledupar in Colombia where Judith, a ten-year-old girl, and Tomas, who is five, go out on Holy Thursday during Holy Week of Easter to play. Judith was distracted and did not notice Tomas was missing. Being mindful of the legend claiming swimming in the river is forbidden on Good Friday, Judith assumes the worst. She fears her brother, if not found in time, may be captured by La Sirena, the Colombian Merm This is a very lovely retelling of the La Sirena Mermaid. It takes place in a town called Valledupar in Colombia where Judith, a ten-year-old girl, and Tomas, who is five, go out on Holy Thursday during Holy Week of Easter to play. Judith was distracted and did not notice Tomas was missing. Being mindful of the legend claiming swimming in the river is forbidden on Good Friday, Judith assumes the worst. She fears her brother, if not found in time, may be captured by La Sirena, the Colombian Mermaid. Judith portrays the perfect caring sibling toward her brother, Tomas, as an absolute panic engulfs her when she finds him missing. The most important thing in the world to her is finding her dear brother before sun up on Good Friday, else it could be too late. As the story portrays, she imparts faith, wisdom, and trust in her search to find Tomas. It is a tradition that swimming in the river is forbidden and as legend tells, a young girl defied her parents and went swimming in the enticing river waters on Good Friday. According to the legend the girl was cursed and turned into a mermaid as she was full of disobedience and did not observe the traditions of Good Friday, a holy day observed by Catholics. Banished to the river waters forever, La Sirena became menacing and used her beautiful singing voice to lure children into the waters so she could snatch them, change their human form into a merchild and forever hold them captives of the water. This is a very exciting telling and keeps you reading to find out every last detail. It's as if your eyes will become drawn to the words of this folktale much like the children are drawn to the river waters. It will be extremely hard to put this book down. Libraries everywhere should stock their shelves with this book, because kids will definitely flock to read it. ~Also available in Spanish~

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ann Morris

    I love this legend! And I am glad that there is a Spanish version available for those that read Spanish. It is a lovely legend, but one never knows if legends have a base in truth or not. In this story, one can see that it is a real legend and that a mermaid really exists that steals children in the river on Good Friday. Also Judith luckily found herself among some magic creatures that helped her solve the disappearance of her brother Tomas and be able to save them both. It is a sweet and wonder I love this legend! And I am glad that there is a Spanish version available for those that read Spanish. It is a lovely legend, but one never knows if legends have a base in truth or not. In this story, one can see that it is a real legend and that a mermaid really exists that steals children in the river on Good Friday. Also Judith luckily found herself among some magic creatures that helped her solve the disappearance of her brother Tomas and be able to save them both. It is a sweet and wonderful story and the children learned to obey their parents. Hats off to Judith for her love and bravery in not leaving her brother when she did not find him. One can see the love and dedication that she had for him. Love is also magic. If we believe in miracles, we can also believe in magic and learn about the power of the imagination.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Maritza Mejia

    The author captured the legend of the mermaid Colombian with beautiful illustrations and nice narrative. The legend keeps alive the traditions and family value. Excellent reading for Easter or anytime if you have the passion for legends. I recommend The Latino Book Awards winning legend. for children 5-10 years of age. DISPONIBLE EN ESPAÑOL El autor capturó la leyenda de la sirena colombiana con bellas ilustraciones y agradable narrativa. La Leyenda mantiene viva las tradiciones y valor familiar. The author captured the legend of the mermaid Colombian with beautiful illustrations and nice narrative. The legend keeps alive the traditions and family value. Excellent reading for Easter or anytime if you have the passion for legends. I recommend The Latino Book Awards winning legend. for children 5-10 years of age. DISPONIBLE EN ESPAÑOL El autor capturó la leyenda de la sirena colombiana con bellas ilustraciones y agradable narrativa. La Leyenda mantiene viva las tradiciones y valor familiar. Excelente lectura para Semana Santa o en cualquier momento si tienes la pasión para las leyendas. Leyenda ganadora del Latino Book Awards. Recomiendo este libro para niños de 5-10 años de edad.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Melanie Rodriquez

    I highly recommend this multicultural book to parents with young children. My son was enchanted by this extraordinary story that teaches an important lesson with vivid illustrations. The writer has creatively captured the themes of family, culture, religion, and tradition into this magical mermaid tale. Parents and children will be inspired by Judith's bravery in her quest to rescue her brother from the legendary Colombian Mermaid. A delightful children's must read book!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    Wonderment and Life Lessons This book is a retelling of the La Sirena Mermaid Legend. The writing and illustrations will draw children into the story. Wonderment fills this little book and will jump off the pages into your children's imagination. .As they are lured into this legend but it's story line, words and illustrations they will learn many life lessons about family, loyalty, life, forgiveness, culture and obedience. I highly recommend this book to be read to and by your children

  7. 4 out of 5

    Janet Balletta

    I love stories about mermaids, that's why I wrote it. This was my favorite bedtime story as a child and I must have asked my mother to tell it a hundred times. It was the beginning of my fascination with mermaids, legends, and Colombian traditions and culture. The setting takes place on Good Friday, but this legend can be enjoyed throughout the year.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Saba N Taylor

    The Legend of the Colombian Mermaid combines Colombian cultural and religious traditions surrounding the Good Friday holiday. The legend follows that a young girl disobeyed her parents and went swimming in the river during the holy observance of Good Friday, something that was strictly forbidden. The young girl disappeared into the river and was said to have turned into a mermaid. Now, La Sirena, lonely, wants playmates to keep her company. So she steals children who come to swim in the river du The Legend of the Colombian Mermaid combines Colombian cultural and religious traditions surrounding the Good Friday holiday. The legend follows that a young girl disobeyed her parents and went swimming in the river during the holy observance of Good Friday, something that was strictly forbidden. The young girl disappeared into the river and was said to have turned into a mermaid. Now, La Sirena, lonely, wants playmates to keep her company. So she steals children who come to swim in the river during the Holy Week of Good Friday. Judith and her brother are like most children, they love the outdoors and they live near a river and love to go swimming. While they know well the legend of the mermaid, La Sirena, they still proceed to go playing at the edge of the river, despite their parents warning not to. The minute Judith turns away from her younger brother, he goes missing. Frantic, she gets help from the animals native to the river. They help her come up with a plan to win her brother back from La Sirena before it is too late and she turns him into a mermaid forever. This story is nice in that children and students are introduced to a legend from another country and culture. They are introduced to a religious holiday practiced among many Christians and Catholics. Teachers and parents have the opportunity to help their students research a new culture with different traditions. Children can learn about Colombia, the Guatapuri River, animals that live in that area. While the story did feel a bit didactic and did a lot of 'telling' as oppose to 'showing', it is nice to see stories that promote religious and cultural morals and values such as obedience, faith, honesty and courage, values that are universally shared around the world. While I could appreciate the story, I was not a huge fan of the illustrations. There was one illustration though that really stood out, it looked like it was done in oil paints on canvas, drastically different from the other illustrations. It was really pretty.

  9. 4 out of 5

    D.G. Driver

    This book is a bit too short to be a chapter book and isn't quite a picture book either, so I've decided to rate it as an illustrated story. To that end, I give it a 3 1/2 star rating because it is a cute story about children in Columbia encountering a mermaid from a legendary folktale popular in their culture. It reminds me of the kind of story one might find in a 3rd grade textbook of folktales from around the world. I see it as a good choice for 3rd grade girls to use for a book report or 3rd This book is a bit too short to be a chapter book and isn't quite a picture book either, so I've decided to rate it as an illustrated story. To that end, I give it a 3 1/2 star rating because it is a cute story about children in Columbia encountering a mermaid from a legendary folktale popular in their culture. It reminds me of the kind of story one might find in a 3rd grade textbook of folktales from around the world. I see it as a good choice for 3rd grade girls to use for a book report or 3rd grade teachers to use as a highlight with a unit they might be doing on South American culture. I think a good idea for Ms. Balletta might be to consider writing several of these kinds of stories, combining children from a countries throughout South America (or the world) with a folktale or legend, and putting them together in one full book. I'd also recommend finding a professional illustrator. The illustrations aren't consistent in style or quality, and some of them repeat.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ann Morris

    ¡Me encanta esta leyenda! Y me alegro de tener la versión en español disponible para los que lean español. Es una leyenda bonita, pero nunca se sabe si las leyendas tienen un fondo auténtico o no. En este cuento, se ve que sí es una leyenda auténtica y que existe una sirena que roba a los niños que nadan en el río el Viernes Santo. También por suerte Judith se encontró con unas criaturas mágicas que la ayudaron a resolver la desaparición de su hermano Tomás y así salvarlos a los dos. Es un cuent ¡Me encanta esta leyenda! Y me alegro de tener la versión en español disponible para los que lean español. Es una leyenda bonita, pero nunca se sabe si las leyendas tienen un fondo auténtico o no. En este cuento, se ve que sí es una leyenda auténtica y que existe una sirena que roba a los niños que nadan en el río el Viernes Santo. También por suerte Judith se encontró con unas criaturas mágicas que la ayudaron a resolver la desaparición de su hermano Tomás y así salvarlos a los dos. Es un cuento muy lindo y tierno y aprendieron los niños a obedecerse a sus padres. Le saludo a Judith por su cariño y valentía en no dejarle a su hermano cuando no lo encontraba. Se ve el amor y la dedicación que le tenía. El amor también es magia. Si creemos en milagros, también podemos creer en la magia y aprender del poder de la imaginación.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    This spellbinding tale gives the reader an idea of the importance of religious cultures, values, and traditions. The 'Legend of the Columbian Mermaid' is a well written and entertaining story of a young girl who disobeys her parents. The Colombian legend originating from years past tells of a little girl who was turned into a mermaid due to her being disobedient. I believe people young and old will be impressed by Judith's bravery as she is determined to rescue her brother from the legendary Col This spellbinding tale gives the reader an idea of the importance of religious cultures, values, and traditions. The 'Legend of the Columbian Mermaid' is a well written and entertaining story of a young girl who disobeys her parents. The Colombian legend originating from years past tells of a little girl who was turned into a mermaid due to her being disobedient. I believe people young and old will be impressed by Judith's bravery as she is determined to rescue her brother from the legendary Colombian Mermaid. The 'Legend of the Colombian Mermaid' will lead readers on an enchanting adventure through the rainforests of Colombia. The book has a wonderful storyline and vibrant illustrations as well as moral lessons to be learned. I highly recommend this entertaining and educational book. Well deserving of 5 stars!

  12. 4 out of 5

    John

    A story based on the tale of the Colombian mermaid, told to the author as a child by her mother. The river was where the mermaid resided, waiting to lure young children in to join her. In the story, a young girl named Judith realizes her little brother is missing and begins to worry the mermaid could have lured him away. She goes on a journey to find him and bring him back with a little magical help along the way. The story is not your typical child's bedtime story, but it's quite intriguing and b A story based on the tale of the Colombian mermaid, told to the author as a child by her mother. The river was where the mermaid resided, waiting to lure young children in to join her. In the story, a young girl named Judith realizes her little brother is missing and begins to worry the mermaid could have lured him away. She goes on a journey to find him and bring him back with a little magical help along the way. The story is not your typical child's bedtime story, but it's quite intriguing and beautiful along with an added bit of scariness. It may get the little ones thinking and asking questions, but can be a good way to teach. An excellent story not like anything I've read before

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sheila Craan

    A spell bound children’s book that teaches children the value in obeying parents. It keeps you in dire suspense when Judith’s little brother is stolen by a lonely mermaid. She had to find a witty way to get her brother back or face her parent’s punishment. The book is well written and contains a vocabulary builder with thoughtful questions for discussion in a class room setting. I loved it and can't wait to give this fabulous mermaid book to my 8 year old granddaughter.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Janet Balletta

    Me encantan las historias sobre las sirenas, por eso la escribí. Esta era mi historia favorita cuando era niña y le pedir a mi madre que la contara mil veces. Fue el comienzo de mi fascinación por las sirenas, leyendas, tradiciones y cultura colombiana. El escenario es el Viernes Santo, pero esta leyenda se puede disfrutar todo el año.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Carol Ann

  16. 5 out of 5

    Janet Balletta

  17. 4 out of 5

    Pam Schoeff-groth

  18. 5 out of 5

    MaryLou Smith

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kei Medina

  20. 5 out of 5

    Daniela Delgado Valencia

  21. 4 out of 5

    Christine

  22. 5 out of 5

    Natalia

  23. 5 out of 5

    CZ

  24. 4 out of 5

    Maretha Botha

  25. 4 out of 5

    Angelica Linder

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tanya

  27. 4 out of 5

    Igrowastreesgrow

  28. 4 out of 5

    Chrisoula Panagoulia

  29. 5 out of 5

    Krista

  30. 5 out of 5

    Geraldine De la hoz

  31. 5 out of 5

    Salo

  32. 4 out of 5

    Velia

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