Monday, August 18, 2008

Mermaids on Parade

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!

Note the guy in the goatee, mustache, wig, heels, and dress
on the left side of the stage! "Hi Jay!"

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.

Thanks, Melanie!


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!


Anonymous said...

I do love the gender free fun
of this book for sure for sure.
And not just the disco mermaids fame is spreading. So is yours.
I saw your name on another blog
and talk of you being on a panel at the NY conference. Say it's so!


Anonymous said...

Hi Lee,

I cannot thank you enough! How happy you have
made my day!

Peace on the planet, may all the wars stop that separate us from the true nature of life and that is LOVE. You really 'got it' in your review.

Now there is a book out there that kids young and old, gay and straight can read to feel empowered in their own joy.

Best, Melanie

Anonymous said...

Great!! The schoolteachers (like me) really need those picturebooks!!! Here in Brazil we have a translation of "The Family Book", but not the other books you have mentioned. I already offered myself, on the GLBTQ writers group, to translate for free the picture books of authors interested about publishing in Brazil... and I'm still waiting...
Bye, Ane (

By the way, we have a book from a Brazilian author (Georgina da Costa Martins) called "o menino que brincava de ser" ("the boy who played being"), about a boy who liked to dress up lilke a girl, didn't like soccer, and so on..