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Celebrate a nation of diverse readers with these recommended books, authors, and teaching resources.
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Julian cover

Julián Is a Mermaid

After seeing three women spectacularly dressed up as mermaids, Julián makes his own mermaid costume from Abuela’s curtain and potted fern. What will she think of the mess—and of Julián the mermaid?
Julian cover

How to Teach This Book

The joy of pretend and dress up activates imaginations and exercises language skills. When kids pretend to be other people, they are experimenting with new ideas and behaviors and exploring the elements of identify.

This can be a strong lesson in empathy. Have students talk about the expression “walking in someone else’s shoes.” Ask students to think about how they can use their imaginations to learn about and understand the experiences of others. Have them generate a list of “shoes to walk in,” research a related issue, and come up with ways they can communicate their new understanding.  

Questions for Discussion or Reflective Writing

  1. How would you describe yourself? What makes you you?
  2. What makes you happy: What do you do? Who are you with? How do you feel?
  3. How do you like to or want to express yourself?
  4. Does what other people say about how you express yourself affect how you express yourself?
  5. How do you feel when you make your own choices without wondering what others will say?
  6. Do you have a special friend who you feel comfortable just ‘being yourself’ around? What
  7. are some of the things you like to do together?
  8. How do you describe yourself? How do your friends and family describe you?

Additional Resources for Teaching About Exploring Identity

Celebrate a nation of diverse readers with these recommended books, authors, and teaching resources.

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