Title: Julián is a Mermaid
Author/Illustrator: Jessica Love
Reviewed by: Michaelene M.
Julián is a Mermaid is a charming look into self-discovery that tells the story of a young boy named Julián. He’s sitting next to his abuela when a group of mermaids walks in. They’re confident, vibrant, and full of laughter. Julián knows instantly that he’s meant to be a mermaid, too, one wearing colorful and flowing fabrics just like them.
But even as Julián knows who he is meant to be, is it safe to show his abuela?
This is the debut picture book of author and illustrator Jessica Love. The story is told mainly in illustrations. There are a few words here and there, but it’s in the illustrations that each moment of Julián’s transformation is captured, from the absolute joy as he discovers his true self to the fear that he won’t be accepted for it. Family is an important thread in the story, as well. Though there are moments of uncertainty, ultimately, the picture book celebrates and encourages young readers to explore who they are.
Julián’s story is beautifully illustrated and it offers a genuine, unfiltered, and most importantly, joyful look into identity, self-love, and acceptance.
Julián is a Mermaid won the Stonewall Book Award in 2019. The book can be checked out as a physical book in the library, as a read-a-long on the Hoopla Digital Library, or as an eBook on the Oklahoma Virtual Library.