Title: Julián at the Wedding (Julián, #2)
Author & Illustrator: Jessica Love
Publisher: Candlewick Press, 2020
Themes: weddings, love, self-expression, friendship, community, celebration, acceptance, queer wedding, lgbtqia+, gender-nonconformity
This is Julián.
And this is Marisol.
Today They are Going to be in a wedding
Julián and his abuela are attending a wedding. Better yet, Julián is in the wedding along with his cousin Marisol. When wedding duties are fulfilled and with a new dog friend in tow, the pair takes off to roam the venue, exploring everywhere from underneath tables to enchanting willow trees to . . . muddy puddles? After all, it wouldn’t be a wedding without fun, laughter, and a little magical mischief.
Why I like this book:
This is a visually stunning sequel to the first Julián book, though the story arc is a little lighter in this one. The illustrations are richly detailed and tell a much larger story in this almost-wordless picture book. The pictures express a celebration of love. Love between Julián and his friend Marisol. The love the abuelas have for their grandchildren. The friendship shared between the abuelas. The love two brides have for each other. And the love the brides feel for Julián and Marisol. It’s a big circle of love!
I love how the story/art normalizes gender nonconformity and queer weddings, as well as general acceptance of differences. It is so celebratory, you want to get up and dance and play with all the characters on the pages. Once again, I am particularly enamored by the portrayal of the older women, so full of zest for life.
I do need, however, to point out as others have that the author-illustrator is a white cisgender woman who created a book about an Afro-Latinx MC gender nonconforming child. This raises the continued question we must wrestle with, who should tell these stories?
Candlewick has some great activity sheets for this.
Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and/or activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found sorted alphabetically and by topics, here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.
Thank you to the publisher for a copy of the picture in exchange for an unbiased review.