Amele's Corner - Celebrating Our Children’s Independence
Hey there, fellow book lovers! Are you looking to add a new title to a child's library? Have you ever read "Julián is a Mermaid" by Jessica Love? If not, you're in for a treat! This charming picture book tells the story of a boy named Julián who dreams of becoming a mermaid and joining the Coney Island Mermaid Parade.
From the first page, you'll fall in love with the beautiful illustrations, which are full of vibrant colors and gorgeous details. But it's the story itself that will really capture your heart. Julián is a creative and imaginative child who loves everything about mermaids. When he sees three women dressed as mermaids on the subway, he imagines himself slowly transforming from a curious boy to a mermaid full of adventure and the freedom to explore. Can you imagine how much better your morning commute would be if adults still had this super power?!
But Julián’s grandmother doesn't quite understand his fascination with mermaids, and back at home when she goes to take a bath, she simply tells him to behave. When she emerges from the bathroom, he's wearing a homemade mermaid costume, complete with a crown of flowers and a long, flowing tail (her window curtains). What strikes me here is the juxtaposition between the gorgeous costume he made through incredibly inspirational inventiveness and the look of shame on his face. The feeling of having let someone down, especially someone you love, is infinitely relatable and the thought of seeing the look on Julián’s face mirrored on Amele makes my heart ache.
Luckily, regardless of whether she understands his desires or motivations, his grandmother loves him. Julián’s yearning to become a mermaid is never questioned or criticized. The rest of the book follows Julián as he takes a journey to the Mermaid Parade, encountering many other people dressed up in all sorts of sea-inspired costumes. Julián’s joy and self-expression is infectious, and the story is a beautiful celebration of the importance of embracing who you are, and supporting those you love as they do the same. Look at Julián’s posture, how he holds his head up high, the look of unfettered pride on his face as he walks down the street arm and arm with a woman he knows loves him unconditionally. I'm sure my parenting goals will change over time, but if there's one I hope I never forget, it's to help Amele feel that dignity and self-worth as often as possible.