Julián Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love

Julián Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love
Published by Candlewick Press
Purchased at Barnes & Noble in NYC
I bought Julián Is a Mermaid last June while visiting NYC, only a week after the 36th annual Mermaid Parade on Coney Island. I wrote about this amazing, joyful, beautiful book on my Instagram feed last year, and again in January when it won the Stonewall Book Award but I never actually wrote a review of it. After reviewing two amazing picture books about gender identity (Who Are You? The Kid's Guide to Gender Identity and It Feels Good to Be Yourself: A Book About Gender Identity), rereading and thinking about this book, gender non-conformity, and the wondrousness of understanding and acceptance, I feel ready to review Julián Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love.
With sparse text and magnificent illustrations, Love tells the story of a boy who loves mermaids. A swim with Abuela and a ride home on the subway with mermaids headed to the Mermaid Parade feeds Julián's imagination. While Abuela is changing after their swim, Julián gets experiments with things he finds around the house and designs his own mermaid costume. Love builds tension as readers delight in Julián's creativity while also worrying about what quiet and seemingly stern Abuela will say when she emerges from her bath.

A moment of suspense turns into what I love  most about It Feels Good to Be Yourself - acceptance and love and normalizing gender nonconformity. Not only does Abuela accept Julián, she leads him out the door and down the block to the Mermaid Parade. Love's story of the power of being seen and accepted, seen and affirmed, works on many levels and for many experiences. Julián is a Mermaid is a gift and reading it is truly uplifting. 

You can hang a little bit of this beauty on your own wall!
Click here to order this print and others by Love!

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