Julián is a Mermaid. And that’s a great thing! But will his Abuela agree?
Thanks to Candlewick Press for the review copy!

Title: Julián is a Mermaid
Author and Illustrator: Jessica Love
Rating: 9
Source: Candlewick Press for review

 Description from Goodreads:

In an exuberant picture book, a glimpse of costumed mermaids leaves one boy flooded with wonder and ready to dazzle the world.

While riding the subway home from the pool with his abuela one day, Julián notices three women spectacularly dressed up. Their hair billows in brilliant hues, their dresses end in fishtails, and their joy fills the train car. When Julián gets home, daydreaming of the magic he’s seen, all he can think about is dressing up just like the ladies in his own fabulous mermaid costume: a periwinkle curtain for his tail, the fronds of a potted fern for his headdress. But what will Abuela think about the mess he makes — and even more importantly, what will she think about how Julián sees himself? Mesmerizing and full of heart, Jessica Love’s author-illustrator debut is a jubilant picture of self-love and a radiant celebration of individuality.

What I Thought:

This enchanting book takes us through a city and under the sea with a little boy named Julián and his wonderful Abuela.

I really love when books break through gender stereotypes. And while it seems there are a growing number of books with girls being engineers, computer programmers, and doing other awesome stuff, I’ve come across few books that show boys similarly being happy doing what they want to do outside of society’s expectations. Julián is a Mermaid does this in a way children can easily relate to – what will Grandma think?

Julián’s Abuela’s reaction is perfect. Rather than getting upset about him pulling down curtains and tearing up foliage (which I think I would have a hard time not getting my kids in trouble for!) she marches him right over to something that he will love – a mermaid parade! The unconditional love and acceptance shown by the Abuela is a shining example of how we need to treat our children. Just let them be kids! Mermaids are awesome, and what kid wouldn’t love dressing up and being in an ACTUAL PARADE. I’m a grownup and that sounds awesome even to me!

After reading more about this book I discovered that there is an actual mermaid parade in New York like Julián goes to at the end of the book. Who knew??

This stunningly illustrated story is a fabulous addition to any collection. We love it.

What’s your favourite book about kids being who they want to be?