Jessica Love, Julian Is A Mermaid
Published 2018 by Walker Books, 32p
We all experience moments of confusion and anxiety but as a parent and as an employee in a school I think one of the essential duties is to control emotions and find the inner balance so as to be able to build strong and confident characters. We still live in times of extreme bullying and prejudice so every time I come across a well-written, kind book that speaks about acceptance, creativity and celebrates individuality, my heart thrills.
Julian Is A Mermaid is Jessica Love’s debut picture book, a warm story about a little boy that spends his time with his Nana and secretly wants to become a mermaid. One day, on their way back home from the pool, in the train, Julian sees three women wearing long dresses and looking just like mermaids. He is instantly captivated and his imagination goes wild. An aquatic world opens in front of his eyes, him becoming a mermaid swimming with colorful fish.
At home, while his abuela is taking a bath, Julian creates his own costume.
Looking at the grandma, an old, firm looking lady we would be tempted to say that she would be upset with Julian’s decision to have the things done his way. But Nana will become an advocate for the boy’s individuality and creativity, giving Julian the final accessory for his costume: a necklace.
Holding his hand, Nana will take Julian to a vivid, joyful place, full of mermaids: The Coney Island Mermaid Parade in Brooklyn, a festival held in celebration of the beginning of the summer season.
With or without connecting the story to the LGBT community, Julian Is A Mermaid is a lovely book that focuses on the importance of individuality; there is no perfect recipe to build a strong personality but empathy, support and the encouraging of creativity are definitely on the list.
Complement Julian Is A Mermaid with Christine Baldacchio’s Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress, a story about identity and the courage to be different and Michael Hall’s Red. A Crayon’s Story, a precious book about dreams and our need to be accepted as we truly are.