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Julián Is a Mermaid
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Julián Is a Mermaid

4.43  ·  Rating details ·  2,171 ratings  ·  495 reviews
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,
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published May 22nd 2018 by Candlewick
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Aug 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of mermaids
Recommended to Carol. by: Miriam
Julián makes me uncomfortable. I mean, the pictures are adorable and well done, and I would love to have one of him swimming with the stream of fish up in my bathroom. But every time you turn around, Julián is stripping down to his skivvies and putting on lipstick. I’m just not an au natural nudist kind of person, you know? But I'm not a glamour-girl either, so add lipstick, and I feel like I’m getting a very mixed message.


He seems to have confused water mermaids with land mermaids, which are tw
Whispering Stories
Jun 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Book Reviewed by Stacey on

There’s no getting away from the fact that Julian is a Mermaid is a gorgeous book filled to the brim with amazing watercolour style illustrations that capture what I believe is New York in perfect light.

The books, as you would imagine, is about a little boy called Julian. On his way home from swimming with his Nana they board a train. Onboard is three women dressed as Mermaids. Julian is mesmerised by them. They look so beautiful in their outfi
Jan 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When you walk into another person’s home, there’s always a distinct smell to the place. Homes absorb the lives of their occupants, and the end result is as much an olfactory experience a visual one. I love it when a friend moves house because when I walk into their new home it smells just like their previous place of occupancy, with just a twinge of difference. It is this experience of walking into a house and being overwhelmed by the sense of the place that I hope for in my picture books. When ...more
David Schaafsma
Each year my family reads all the Goodreads-award-nominated picture books, and we have been doing this for years. Everyone rates each book and adds a comment and it may (or may not) affect my overall rating. This is book #1 of 2018, and is one of my favorites of the year, but that view isn't widely shared with the fam.

Tara: 3 stars. Eh. Cute, but who are all the people at the end? Some festival?

Harry (13): 3.5 stars. I like the pictures.

Hank (12): 3.5stars. I like how he got to see the world of
Jun 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture
Really nice. Great illustrations.

Parent caveat: your kids will probably feel like making costumes out of household items after reading this. Keep an eye on the drapes.
This is one of the most beautiful picture books I have ever read. It is affirming and joyful. It is pretty and awe-inspiring. It is quiet and loud. It has movement and is loving. It is Black and Latinx and New York and Queer and intergenerational and wonderful. It is also funny and heartfelt. Enjoy!
Dec 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this is the most wholesome book I’ve read all year
Gorgeous illustrations and a beautiful message of acceptance and being true to yourself. I think this book should wind up on a lot of Caldecott prediction lists this year.
Unconditional Love within. Julian feels like a mermaid so his abuela takes him to a place to be around other mermaids.

I do love the art and the simple story of wanting to be who you are. This is so much fun and has the energy of Carnival to it.

The kids had fun with this book.
I had not yet reviewed this fabulous children's book, which I read in June 2018, other than to rate it a fantastic five stars. However, I recently read a review by a goodreads acquaintance, that seems to have completely missed the point of the book, viewing little Julián as "disturbing." This upset me. We live in a troubling world, and I live in the current Trump Bigotocracy. I stand for equality for ALL. Period. No exceptions, no caveats. I wish that many of my friends and acquaintances, both o ...more
Prediction: 2019 Caldecott winner
Monica Edinger
Jan 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What Betsy said. (Can't imagine anything beating this for the 2019 Caldecott.)
Cheriee Weichel
May 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The art in this one nearly made me swoon. I read this to groups of grade 3/4 students this week and am happy that the only thing that made a few of the boys uncomfortable was seeing Julián in his underwear. We have come a very long way since I first started teaching.
Kari Percival
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Swimming in the pool with his Abuela and her friends during aquatic aerobics, Julian dreams of being a mermaid among mermaids. On the subway, seeing women dressed up on their way to Coney Island's Mermaid Parade, he is inspired to dress up like a mermaid when he gets home, improvising with his Abuela's curtains and plants. Will Abuela be angry? In that magical way that only grandmas sometimes can, she SEES him, and in the moment, choses what is important. She brings him to join the Mermaid Parad ...more
May 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I don't often mark picture books on Goodreads or count them toward my yearly reading goal just because I read so many of them. I definitely don't take the time to review them. That being said, this is one of the most beautiful and intentional books I've read in a while about identity and the importance of being affirmed by your loved ones. Jessica Love's expertise in capturing facial expressions makes this book really tug on the most tender parts of my being and I just want to read it over and o ...more
Michele Knott
I was fortunate to receive this book early. I read it and put it aside. I needed time to process its beauty and message. I came back to it again and appreciated it even more. It is hard to put into words how important I think this book may be.
May 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-book
Sweeping illustrations and simple text about a young boy believing he is a mermaid.
May 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens, fiction
A fabulous book about a fabulous boy who dreams of dressing up like the fancy mermaid ladies he sees around town. A beautifully illustrated and simply told story of self-discovery, dreams, and love. While this is absolutely appropriate for discussions of LGBTQ issues with children, it is also just a simple story about a unique little boy who discovers he can be himself and be loved. Please don't limit this book to a Pride Month-only read.
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love love love love this book. The illustrations are gorgeous and the character of each person is spot on. Julián is adorable and his abuela is beautiful. This really makes you feel good. There are very few words but the story is rich and full. A great book about acceptance and celebrating the self. Wonderful.
Kristina Jean Lareau
Holy sh--! This book is incredible! 10 stars.

But really, an inclusive, diverse and gorgeously rendered picturebook in watercolor and gouache that needs few words to display its magnificence. Truly.

All the awards.
Jun 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I LOVE THESE ILLUSTRATIONS SO MUCH AAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. Not only is the style and overall look really lovely, but there are so many subtleties in depictions of poc bodies and I am obsessed w that and also really grateful.

I wish it were 5 or six pages longer!
Rebecca Honeycutt
A stunner, right down to the endpapers. There's broad appeal in the imaginative play/dress-up angle, plus very specific, vital appeal for gender-nonconforming kids who see themselves in Julian (and who may not have families as supportive as Julian's abuela). Read it and share it widely!

Also: PLEEEEASE let this be on the 2019 Caldecott roster. I wanna see photos of everyone at that awards banquet dressed in glorious mermaid finery.

PS Don't miss the tiny dogs in lobster costumes on the second-to-l
May 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely love this book. I'm crying. I have never read a picture book quite like this. The beauty, the femmeness, everyone in this book is so beautiful. I feel like this book is really important because not only does Julian's grandmother really support them in their beauty and femmeness, but while society provides so many negative images of WOC / FOC, this books is really focused on the beauty some of the characters really put into their looks in such a positive light. My heart was glowing t ...more
Taylor Holt
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
Love. Love. Love.
Jess Love is the consummate artist - a talented storyteller, illustrator and actress. I had the rare pleasure of reading a final proof of this book, and could not have been any more blown away by her talent. Love has crafted a story that every child (and parent) should read; it celebrates individuality with a unique take that can only be found in NYC. Long story short, you should run out and buy this beautiful book for the child in your life!
Jan 07, 2018 marked it as to-read
Recommends it for: readers to small kids
It's crazy when a childhood friend gets published--and wonderful when their book is as beautifully conceptualized and drawn as this is. This review has some pictures of the colorful and evocative watercolor art.
Favorite. Just give it the Caldecott now.
Mar 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, picture-book
Beautiful illustrations and sweet reaffirming story about curiosity, identity, and love.
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children, favorites
I loved this book. The story, the characters, the brevity. Pictures spoke so much louder than words here. The most beautiful illustrations. You could frame every page and hang it on your wall as fine art. I hope there are more adventures with Julián to come.
Jun 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Gorgeous children's book about a young boy who wants to be a mermaid and his Abuela who makes it happen. Stunning illustrations. Sweet simple story of love.
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Jessica Love is an illustrator and Broadway actress. She has a BA in studio art from the University of California, Santa Cruz, as well as a graduate degree from Juilliard. She lives in New York.