Julian is a Mermaid
Author/Illustrator: Jessica Love
Publisher: Candlewick (April 23, 2018)
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 butter-yellow 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.
About Jessica Love
Children’s Book Podcast:
Big Ideas: Empathy
Questions & Talking Points:
- What is it like or what does it mean to walk in someone else’s shoes?
- Children explore elements of identity when they dress up. They “try-on” new ideas and behaviors. They learn about how others may live.
- Many of the spreads are wordless. What clues do you get from the illustrations?
- More talking points in the Classroom Ideas from Walker Books at http://classroom.walkerbooks.com.au/home/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Julian-is-a-Mermaid-Classroom-Ideas.pdf
Vocabulary: Abuela, Mermaids, Mijo,
- Word searches and memory matches FROM RIF at .
- I Can Do Anything lesson plan from Scholastic at https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/lesson-plans/teaching-content/i-can-do-anything/
- Identity Self-Portraits from Teaching Tolerance at https://www.tolerance.org/classroom-resources/student-tasks/do-something/identity-selfportraits
- Reflective writing and/or illustration. Have children describe themselves. What makes you—you? How do you express yourself?
- Song: What I am from PBS Sesame Street at https://nhpbs.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/sesame-what-i-am/song-what-i-am-sesame-street/ Will.I.Am and his muppet friends celebrate the things that make each person special! This song focuses on emotional challenges and learning to believe in yourself.
- A selection of mermaid tails to make on Pintrest at https://www.pinterest.com/pin/425730971009136315
- Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman; pictures by Caroline Binch (Dial Books for Young Readers, 1991)
- Be a Friend by Salina Yoon (Bloomsbury, 2016)
- Bee-Wigged by Cece Bell (Candlewick, 2008)
- Jamela’s Dress by Niki Daly (Farrar Straus Giroux, 1989)
- Lucia the Luchadora by Cynthia Leonor Garza; illustrations by Alyssa Bermudez (POW!, 2017)
- Sparkle Boy by Lesléa Newman; illustrations by Maria Mola (Lee & Low Books, 2017)
Other Links and Resources:
- Intellectual Freedom Brochure from American Association of School Librarians at http://www.ala.org/aasl/sites/ala.org.aasl/files/content/aaslissues/intellectual_freedom_brochure0212.pdf
- We Need Diverse Books at https://diversebooks.org/