By Melanie Hope Greenberg
Quick! Name one picturebook with a transgender character. Or with a joyous depiction of gender non-conformity.
Well, I've got one for you. For me. For us all.
I've decided to start a new category/label for books here at "I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell do I Read?"and it's:
"Picturebooks I Wish Had Been Read To Me When I Was a little Kid!"
"Mermaids On Parade" is a gem of a picturebook, written and illustrated by Melanie Hope Greenberg. It's about a real-life Mermaid Parade celebrating the start of summer every year at New York's Coney Island.
A little girl gets dressed up like a mermaid, and she and her parents join the parade of all the people dressed up in glittery fantastic outfits.
What I truly love is that in the midst of the carnival atmosphere, there are images of men in dresses and women in mustaches, and it's all just part of the amazingly vibrant fabric of the community - everyone's having a great time, and everyone just accepts the gender non-conformity without batting an illustrated eye!
Oh, for a world where we can all live-and-let-joyously-live together - and here it is, in picturebook form. "Mermaids on Parade" made my inner 5 year old soooo happy.
ps - the illustration I've shared above is actually a portrait of my friends, Eve, Robin and Jay, a.k.a. the amazing "Disco Mermaids," whose kidlit fame is spreading!