by Jessica Love.
Julián is a Mermaid is, for me, a book about why I love picture books. It’s a book about the innocence and imagination of children. It’s a book about love. Julián sees something beautiful on his way home and feels the urge, the need, to be as beautiful and magical. I’d say more but in case one of the 4 people who read this post actually want to read this book one day, I wouldn’t want to give anything away. I promise you it’s gorgeous on so many levels.
The artwork alone is enough to release you from reality and bring you to a better place. I love Julian and his imagination and innocence, and the art takes me right to him. Sometimes I think I should have pursued art rather than writing because I am always so drawn towards the artwork in picture books. Even some of the stories I’d like to share are wordless. However as much as my heart is drawn to art and beautiful things, my head is full of words. I do enjoy creating art but it’s stringing words together and plucking thoughts out of my head that makes me feel good. I don’t care if it’s a time suck or “silly”. I don’t care what people will think (anymore). Like Julián, I “have a good idea” and following through makes me feel like me.
I think it was Garrison Keillor who said something like. “As children, we see the world so clearly. Then we spend the rest of our lives trying to remember what it was we saw.” Picture books can help us remember. I think the creators of picture books sometimes get moments of clarity and paint them for others to see. Picture books are not only for children. They are for adults, specifically adults who like to remember the power of innocence and imagination. Julián is a Mermaid brings back all that confidence and hope I had as a child in the most beautiful way imaginable. I see something, it turns into a story in my brain, and I must write it. I think all creatives are a bit like Julián and I love him for that.