Posted by: Kathy Temean | September 4, 2022

Book Giveaway: Annette Feels Free by Katie Mazeika

Katie Mazeika has written and illustrated a new picture book, Annette Feels Free, published by Beach Lane Books on September 13th. They have agreed to send a copy to the one lucky winner in the US.

Just leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Let me know other things you did to share the good news, so I can put the right amount of tickets in my basket for you. Sharing on Facebook, Twitter or reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. So, thanks for helping Katie.

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and I will give you an extra ticket. If you want to make sure you don’t miss seeing that you won, please click “Notify Me of Follow-Up Comments by Email” box. I will leave a comment in reply if you win the book. Thanks!


Discover the incredible true story of “The Original Mermaid,” Annette Kellerman, a girl who wanted to dance, swim, and feel free—and who grew into a woman who fought for the right to do just that!

Annette loved to dance and twirl and pirouette. But when she got sick and had to start wearing braces on her legs, Annette stopped dancing. Until, one day, her dad took her swimming. Annette could finally dance again—in the water! She water danced her way to England, where she performed water ballets, attempted daring dives, and competed in swim races. When she competed against men (and won!), she realized it wasn’t fair that women had to swim in full skirts, so she made her own swimsuit, and fought for the right to wear it.

Experience the journey of an independent and determined young woman, who swam, danced, dove, and designed so she could live her life feeling free.


I first came across Annette Kellerman’s story in the summer of 2017.  At the time, I was looking at interesting women from history for a series of illustrations––her resolute determination captured my attention, as did the swim records she broke, her grace and showmanship in and out of the water, and her steadfast belief in women being able to compete fairly against men I did my piece on Annette and moved on to the next image. Well, that was the plan anyway. But Annette’s story stuck with me and begged for a longer exploration.

When Annette was very young, she was diagnosed with a childhood disability and had to wear leg braces. When I was a toddler, I lost my right eye to cancer. I understood all too well how having a disability (especially at such a young age) can change the trajectory of one’s life. Yet it wasn’t just that connection that drew me to her. The more I researched, the more there was to love about Annette! She was a champion swimmer who set world records when she was a teen (some of which remain unbroken today), fashion pioneer, fierce feminist, spunky heroine, and one of America’s first movie stars. What’s not to love? I admire her tenacity and refusal to conform to the expectations of her time. Brave women are often underestimated.

I was lucky; although her swimming career started more than one hundred years ago, I found dozens of photos, newspaper articles, and even videos of Annette swimming and performing. I even found stills from a film where she appeared nude, (she was the first movie star to do so, although that didn’t make it into the book!). ANNETTE FEELS FREE is about determination, disability, girl power, and the birth of a sport!

I am thrilled to share with readers this story that I fell in love with and have so enjoyed researching! Thank you again, Kathy, for helping me share Annette.


Once upon a time, in Mrs. Hershner’s kindergarten art class, Katie Mazeika painted the perfect butterfly. Then she accidentally stuck her thumb in the middle of its right wing. To fix the problem, she stuck her other thumb in the other wing. Mrs. Hershner announced that Katie was a “Little Artist.” She decided to go with it.

Many years after kindergarten, Katie went on to The Columbus College of Art and Design, where she graduated with a BFA in illustration. She moved to Northeast Ohio, where she eventually settled down with her husband, two kids (Lillian and Jack), and two dogs.

Katie still likes to paint butterflies, but now she works primarily in Photoshop on a Wacom Cintiq. When she isn’t in the studio, she likes to spend time at the theater, in her garden, or getting lost in a good book.

Katie is a member of the SCBWI.

Katie, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. I so happy your found Annette Kellerman and shared her story with us. It so nice to learn about Annette, and see how she lead the way for other woman swimmers like Ester Williams. She sounded so interesting that I did some of my own. It’s ashame so many of her films have been lost. I also saw that she designed a swimsuit that look like a wet suit and in 1900 that was scandalous. since women swimmers were wear pantaloons. So many more interesting things about her. Thanks for writing a book about this ground breaking, determine woman. Love your illustrations. Good Luck with the book.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. This is history everyone needs to know. Thank you for the post today and chance to win a copy. I’m an email subscriber and shared on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and tumblr.


  2. I follow you and shared on twitter, FB, and Pinterest. Looks awesome!


  3. This story looks wonderful! Congratulations on creating a wonderful book.


  4. I want to read this book! It sounds wonderful! Thanks for sharing with us, Katie! Congratulations!

    I follow by email and I tweeted this post. 🙂


  5. Thank you so much for offering a copy. This book looks so fun and inspiring. It proves the power of women can do anything. No boundaries. I will post on FB and Twitter.


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