Nina Leipold is the Mermaid of Hilton Head

A new, interactive children’s gift book, “The Mermaid’s Friends,” written and illustrated by local mermaid Nina Leipold, the Mermaid of Hilton Head, was released recently by Starbooks, a division of Lydia Inglett Publishing.

“The Mermaid’s Friends” teaches the importance of nature conservation and wildlife protection by highlighting what steps can be taken to help protect the sea and its creatures. This book, the second in the series, is primarily concerned with helping to keep dolphins wild and free.

Mermaid Nina and her friends fight against dolphin capture and show that a simple action can help change the lives of other captive dolphins.

“The Mermaid’s Friends” is based on the real-life story about Mermaid Nina, a dolphin named Lily, and the Mermaid Encounter Boat Tour at Hilton Head Harbor Marina.

Leipold is a children’s author and illustrator, conservationist, and international speaker. Originally from Pennsylvania, she now lives on Hilton Head Island.

She is a former dolphin trainer with a passion for educating adults and children of all ages on the importance of nature and marine conservation.

Leipold lives out her passion professionally as Mermaid Nina, the Mermaid of Hilton Head. Leipold and her husband, Rick, have turned their aquatic passion into a fun and educational business through children’s books and informative boat tours with live action drama.

Leipold’s inspiration for her newest book comes from her experience as a dolphin trainer. Since working closely with a dolphin named Lily at a marine mammal training internship, Leipold has made releasing dolphins like Lily from captivity her life’s work.

This book brings this issue to light and educates children about animal captivity in a simple, accessible way.

Readers can meet Pinky Plankton, Tony the Human, Capt. Rick, and Sammy the Sand Dollar as they learn about environmental issues and conservation.

The book features new augmented reality technology, where videos launch from the pages of the book. The reader can view interactive videos of Nina and her wildlife friends using a smartphone or tablet by downloading a free app.

The Mermaid’s Friends debuted in area stores mid-June and is available also from