cover image Julián at the Wedding

Julián at the Wedding

Jessica Love. Candlewick, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5362-1238-9

Julián is back! He is going to be in a wedding, and he arrives, dressed in a sharp lavender suit and magenta shoes, with his abuela. “A wedding is a party for love,” Love (Julián Is a Mermaid) writes. Julián and flower girl Marisol, who attends in a ball cap with her own caretaker, meet each other, greet the brides—both clad in dazzling white and bright blue shoes—and walk down the aisle with dog Gloria, Marisol sprinkling petals as they go. The brides kiss, the party starts, and Julián and Marisol wander off, Julián having donned Marisol’s flower wreath. When Marisol’s fancy gown suffers from play with Gloria, Julián fashions her a new outfit from his dress shirt and a willow’s trailing boughs—for a magical moment, inside the willow’s arbor, the two become butterflies. “There you are!” the brides cry when the children rejoin the celebration, and an energetic dance party begins, the Statue of Liberty in the background. Artwork on brown paper allows warm, clear views of the characters, who appear to be Black and Afro-Latinx. The specificity of Love’s characterizations—the way the abuelas kick off their high heels, the brides’ enthusiasm, the children’s expansive gender expressions—offers vibrancy and immediacy, and under their community’s watchful eyes, Julián and Marisol find affection, acceptance, and room to grow. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)