Kate Pugsley‘s Mermaid Dreams (2019) is a sweet story about a young girl, Maya, who visits the beach with her family. When she asks her parents to play, they tell her they would like to relax instead and suggest she make a new friend. That’s easier said than done. Maya is too shy to approach one of the playing children. Instead she closes her eyes and imagines herself transformed into a mermaid and swimming freely under the ocean’s waves. In her fantasy, Maya meets many sea creatures as she follows inviting laughter that ends up belonging to a little mermaid just like her. Maya awakes from her fantasy when a child invites her to play in real life. She accepts with confidence. Continue reading
I am Jazz (2014) is an autobiographical children’s picture book co-authored by Jessica Herthel and the title character, Jazz Jennings. Jennings, now a young transgender woman with her own TLC show, first entered the spotlight in 2007 when she was featured on a 20/20 documentary about transgender children. This book is a significant contribution to LGBTQ* children’s literature, since it is co-authored by, and narrated from the perspective of, the transgender child protagonist.
The text opens with an image of Julián in a pool with five women; one of the women is his abuela. Julián and his abuela are then shown walking towards a subway, while three women with dramatically made up hair trail behind in mermaid attire. Continue reading