Yasmeen Kamrani Sallam
Invitation to Create Julián Is a Mermaid
The story Julián Is a Mermaid written and illustrated by Jessica Love introduces children to a world of freedom of individual expression. Julián is so enamored by the glimpse of the three women dressed up in the subway, as soon has he gets home he is filled with the wonder of the magic he has seen by dressing up just like the ladies in his own fabulous way.
This book is such beautiful story to bring to life and invite the children to explore the concept of the book through a hands on experience such as recreating the imagery through loose parts play.
After reading a story with your child or in your classroom, integrating the story through another medium (art, loose parts, STEM, STEAM, etc.) to extend the experience strengthens literacy skills as well as fostering creative thinking. Books related to the concept explorations are motivating and appealing to children. Information can be gained from these books in context of a story. The pictures can impart a lot of meaning and information to help the children learn more about at topic, interact, relate their own experiences, and guide the children's inquiry. One of my favorite ways to extend a literacy experience is with loose parts.
What are loose parts? Loose parts are simply open ended materials that are perfect for limitless possibilities, fostering problem solving skills, creativity, exposure to new materials, and decision making through play. Through this kind of free play children are really creating: using what they have and what they already know, and combining that to create a whole that’s greater than the parts. Loose parts and free play in childhood develops the creative genius of the future.
To set up this invitation you can draw/paint/print out the characters, laminate them, and the provide a tinker tray full of loose parts. Read the story to your child and then invite your child to recreate the pages from the book or simply let them create.