JULIÁN AT THE WEDDING – Perfect Picture Book Friday

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Title: Julián at the Wedding (Julián, #2)

Author & Illustrator: Jessica Love

Publisher: Candlewick Press, 2020

Ages: 4-8

32 pages. 

Genre: fiction

Themes: weddings, love, self-expression, friendship, community, celebration, acceptance, queer wedding, lgbtqia+, gender-nonconformity

Opening:

This is Julián.

And this is Marisol.

Today They are Going to be in a wedding

Synopsis:

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?

Resources/Activities:

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.

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7 Responses to JULIÁN AT THE WEDDING – Perfect Picture Book Friday

  1. Wendy Greenley says:

    Thank your review. The palette looks so joyful and happy. I never researched the author of Julian is a Mermaid, and I’m surprised by what you shared.

  2. Jilanne F Hoffmann says:

    I loved the first one, and this one appears to be just as inspired. A wedding is a perfect place to explore gender “norms” and bias. Who should tell which stories is such a difficult issue. I know nothing about the author, but she appears to inhabit Julián’s world completely. Maybe the question to ask is, does it feel authentic to those being represented, (knowing that no “group” is a monolith), and is it done respectfully, sensitively, and with the idea that the creator has in some way done their homework?

    • Joanna says:

      I loved the first one too, and agree with your rephrasing of the question. It feels sensitively represented to me, but this remains a tricky issue.

  3. I loved the previous book. I knew this one was coming, but have not seen it yet. Those illustrations are delightful. I have it on hold at the library. Thanks for highlighting it!

  4. I’ve heard about this second book, but haven’t read it! It sounds like it was written and illustrated with a lot of sensitive. The illustrations are gorgeous! Thanks for sharing!

  5. I’m so glad you shared this lovely PB Joanna! The entire story sounds fantastic, but like you I’m always thrilled when older women are portrayed so vibrantly! It’s truly important to show kids, along with other kinds of diversity.

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