People have always been drawn to the ocean: its power, its beauty, and, maybe most of all, its mystery. We know more about the surface of the moon than we do about the bottom of the ocean. It’s easy to imagine creatures existing that we just haven’t discovered yet, and one of the most enduring myths about the sea is the idea of the mermaid.

These half-fish, half-humans have been recorded in stories for over three thousand years, showing up across the world in every culture near a coastline. Even after scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a recent statement that no evidence exists of aquatic humanoids, sightings and stories continue. People want to believe in mermaids. We want to believe that there’s something out there beyond the waves, something just as powerful, beautiful, and mysterious as the sea itself.

“Rescue Sirens” relies on a rich mythology, created specifically for this property but rooted in mermaid tales from Assyria, Turkey, and Ancient Greece. As our story goes, mermaids can “make legs” whenever they like and walk around on shore, but they’re still bound to the sea from which they came. After twenty-four hours without submerging in the water, a mermaid begins to feel sick; if she stays dry for three days straight, she loses the ability to change back into her tail… forever. Stranded merpeople, trapped on land in their two-legged form, are where the first humans came from, and that’s why mermaids are sworn to help humankind: they see them as family, as the descendants of their lost kin.

When a mermaid comes of age at around eighteen or twenty years old, she “studies abroad” by going up on land and posing as a human lifeguard, where she’s tasked to protect, learn, and teach. At the same time, she has to keep her identity a secret and get wet once a day — or risk losing her tail. Throw in the everyday challenges involved in navigating the hazards of young adulthood both above and below the waves, and “Rescue Sirens” always has something exciting going on.

Dive in now and learn more about the first book in the Rescue Sirens series, Rescue Sirens: The Search for the Atavist, written by Jessica Steele-Sanders and animation writer-director Chris Sanders ("Lilo & Stitch," "How to Train Your Dragon," "The Croods").