Today’s world can often seem extremely anti-LGBTQ, with society feeling oppressive toward people who fall outside the line of heterosexually. But there is still a lot of good news, especially with the recent news about the book called Julian Is a Mermaid.
The book is a children’s picture book that tells the story of a young boy called Julian who comes to terms with his queer identity, showcasing his attempts at dressing in woman’s clothing and how his nana reacts to his attempts to embrace his new identity. The author and illustrator Jessica Love, who was partly inspired by a trans friend, never expected it to be published. After all, many U.K. and U.S. imprints are yanking books off shelves who have gay or trans protagonists, with children’s work a big victim of this unfortunate practice.
Image via Amazon
On Sept 11, Jessica Love was proven wrong when her book won the much coveted Klaus Flugge prize. The prize goes to the most exciting newcomer in children’s book illustration and on Wednesday night, Jessica Love took it home. The judges called the book ‘astonishingly beautiful’ and were further quote as saying:
‘Julian Is a Mermaid reminds us that picture books can make us understand the world differently and better; that they are for everyone. It is a groundbreaking book.’
Love went onto note that the recaption had been mostly positive but there was some hostility toward her work for supposedly spreading the ‘gay agenda.’ She noted Julian is a Mermaid was drawn from her own personal life, with Julian’s nana based off her own queer role modes, her aunt and her aunt’s wife. She wanted a book that could provide the support she received to millions around the world.
Image VIa Letstalkpicturebooks.com
She is extremely humbled to win the prize and is now working on a sequel, again featuring Julian and his nana. She found the book’s success totally gratifying and paralyzing at the same time. She hopes to continue to give her characters further life, while hoping the success doesn’t overwhelm her. But with the amount of joy and praise she has received from the LBGTQ community, she is likely to continue to soar upward much like Julian himself.
Featured Image Via The Guardian