JULIÁN AT THE WEDDING – Perfect Picture Book Friday

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.

Posted in children's books, Children's literature, diversity, LGBTQIA, Perfect Picture Book Friday, Picture Books | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

INTO THE LIGHT OF A NEW YEAR – 2021

After ten years of a (mostly) weekly blogging schedule, I am taking a wee break to focus on my writing and my own story. May you own musings lead you on some wonderful journeys.

And my ten words for this year ahead are:

WRITE

LAUGHTER

TRAVEL

BLM

BOUNTY

SIMPLICTY

CONNECTION

BOUNDARIES

LISTEN

WONDER

Posted in Blog hiatus, Musings | 2 Comments

Two Many Birds – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Title: Two Many Birds

Author & Illustrator: Cindy Derby

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press, 2020

Ages: 4-8

32 pages. 

Genre: fiction

Themes: power of community, standing up for yourself, birds, inclusion, empathy, rules, resistance

Opening:

Synopsis:

A lone authority-bird monitors the number of birds with access to an old tree. There’s a 100-bird limit. – there’s a limit of 100 birds. As more and more birds gather, rules multiply. No nesting, no running, no parrots on Tuesdays, no feather fluffing, no diapers, etc. During one of the authority-bird’s lunch breaks, one of the birds’ eggs hatches and suddenly there are TWO MANY birds. The authority-bird tries to enforce the rules and evict the extras, but the bird community resists.

While thus far in the story we have seen the authority-bird as the antagonist, he has a beautiful story arc. His grumpy rule-enforcement had a sincere motivation. He cares about trees. He starts to plant fields of acorns. This solo endeavor is soon joined by the birds he but soon he’d rejected until soon the acorn-sowing is an entire community endeavor. The final spreads show a small forest with trees for everyone to enjoy.

Why I like love this book:

First off, the art is dreamy. This dumpling-shaped quirky birds with long legs and some with funky hair, are hilarious. I spent a long time appreciating all these bird characters. And the textual humor is as strong as the visual. The arbitrary rules are side-splitting and the subtle play on TWO(TOO) many birds, with a mid-book reveal of the significance of TWO, will appeal to the astute listeners.

I love how the Authority rule-enforcer is not as black as you think, and people can change from authoritarian rule-enforcers to community-embracers and conservationists. Also Cindy shows us the power of united resistance and looking for creative solutions for finding other and/or expanding local resources so all can benefit. This is a beautiful, funny multi-layered picture book.

Resources/Activities:

If this is read with a class, I think the whole class could create a tree display on the wall with each kid making 3 or 4 of their own birds to stick onto the branches.

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 author for a copy of the picture in exchange for an unbiased review.

Posted in children's books, Perfect Picture Book Friday, Picture Books | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments