Jessica Love
Julian is a Mermaid

Walker Books (4+)

9781406380637 (hardback)

While riding the subway home from the pool with his Abuela one day, Julian 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. But what will Abuela think about the mess he makes — and even more importantly, what will she think about how Julián sees himself?

This exuberant debut picture book overflows with tenderness, charm and humour. Sparse text works alongside the vivid and imaginative illustrations, to allow the reader the opportunity to explore their identity without the boundaries of gender or body image. The watercolour style reflects the watery mermaid theme perfectly, whilst the blurring and blending of colours fits the message of blended genders and individual uniqueness. The choice of brown paper confidently adds to the power of the images and subtly suggests that white is not always best or most aesthetically pleasing. This is a joyous holiday in a book.


Jessica Love is an author-illustrator and a New York based actor. She has a BA in studio art from the University of California, as well as a graduate degree from Juilliard. Julian Is a Mermaid is her first picture book.

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