Julián Is A Mermaid

Julián Is A Mermaid

Book - 2018
Average Rating:
Rate this:
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?
Publisher: Somerville, Massachusetts : Candlewick Press, 2018
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780763690458
Branch Call Number: FICTION Lov
Description: 34 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ; 24 x 26 cm
Audience: Ages 4-8


Featured Blogs and Events

Youth Media Awards 2019

The 2019 Youth Media Awards were announced January 28 during the American Library Association's (ALA) Midwinter Meeting by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of ALA. Read about the winning and honored books below. John Newbery Medal Winner & Honorees The Newbery Medal is awarded annually to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature ... (more)

Julián Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love

By Jessie Farrow In Jessica Love’s Julián Is a Mermaid, Julián is a young boy with big dreams. When he spies three women dressed as mermaids on the subway, he knows deep down that he, too, is meant to be a mermaid. While his Abuela takes as shower, Julián seizes his chance: a potted fern and a vase of flowers become a stunning headdress, a flowing curtain transforms into a billowing tail,… (more)

View All Staff Blog Posts »

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
AnnabelleLee27 Oct 10, 2020

There are not enough stars to give this affirming, inspiring, loving picture book - I absolutely love it. The story is told mainly through the illustration which are amazing and mesmerizing. It celebrates uniqueness, creativity, acceptance, and love. (It may help to know there is a yearly mermaid parade on Coney Island...)

Aug 13, 2020

A beautiful book.
Julian sees some mermaids and wants to be one too.
When grandma sees this, she shows him where the other mermaids are, so community connections can be made.
This book has few words, and wonderful vibrant warm pictures.
Is Julian a transvestite or a transexual or, you know, a kid that likes to dress up as a mermaid? We probably don't need to know. What we DO need to know is that Julian will be accepted, loved, and supported by Grandma.
(Mermaids are a common symbol in trans kids.)

IndyPL_SarahL Jun 19, 2020

I was blown away by the beautiful illustrations in this book! The text is limited, but the message is absolutely lovely. Little Julian has a lovely imagination and it is wonderful how is abuela nurtures it. i recommend this for all ages simply because it will make you feel good no matter who you are.

Dec 20, 2019

It’s a beautiful story of the importance of been seen, affirmed, and loved just as we are.

forbesrachel Nov 22, 2019

When young Julián sees some women dressed as mermaids, he knows in his heart that he is a mermaid too. His imagination soars and at home he decides to dress himself. Using makeup and materials found at his Abuela's, he creates his own version. When she sees him, Abuela just accepts this and takes her grandson to the festivity where all the mermaids go. While text is limited, each pastel hued illustration speaks volumes about these characters. For readers, the near silence actually enhances the emotional connection as this family goes about a normal day with some special activities appended. Afterall Julián looks beautiful as a mermaid and is happy as one, and, they both have a wonderful time together. From pool to an above water party, it is a heartwarming display, and the endpapers are lovely additions to this. This adorable tale shines with its message of being oneself and accepting others for who they are.

Sep 21, 2019

Lovely art and a sweet story, would definitely share this with all/any kids but especially kids who are gender questioning or love costume play, etc.
Side note: illustration near end makes me want to dress up my pets as mermaids or fish :)

IndyPL_LindsayH Feb 06, 2019

This book is a an accurate and beautiful depiction of the African-American female form. I love the way the author portrays the grandmother and her friends in their colorful attire. in addition, her use of brown as the background color is soft on the eye and makes the bright colors of the characters pop.

Julian is a Mermaid is also a great LGBTQ choice for little ones. Julian wants to dress up as a female mermaid and instead of forbidding i,t as some might do, his grandmother lets him embrace it.

OPL_MichelleC Jan 16, 2019

Beautifully illustrated story of a child expressing themself and being accepted by his family.

KyCCL Nov 11, 2018

With lovely illustrations that follow Julian between his imagination and the real world, this is a beautiful story about being yourself, and letting those around you be themselves also.

SnoIsleLib_LindseyA Nov 06, 2018

Julián is fabulous! What a positive message of imagination, individuality, and acceptance this picture book brings to light. At first I was worried that Julián's abuela would crush his desire to dress as a mermaid, as she is very much a no-nonsense grandmother, but I felt ALL the warm snugglies by the end. Abuela brings Julián to a seaside festival with a diverse collection of mermaids, including some drag queens, and you get the sense that he has found his tribe.

The illustrations in this book are stunning, and the character designs are so unique. I could stare at Abuela all day!

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings

LibraryThing Series Information


Find it at CRRL

To Top