Award-Winning Picturebooks

February was a month filled with award-winning picturebooks suitable for the primary English language classroom. Our picturebook of the month was Stonewall Book Award and Flugge Prize winner Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love. We felt this book deserved our attention and Gail expresses her appreciation for Julian is a Mermaid by stating ” I love the realism that is portrayed in the artwork which tells so much more than the words.” The many positive comments we received, confirmed our choice. Here is a very good interview with Jessica Love by CritterLit and one more by The Children’s Book Podcast. We feel this book is suitable for all primary aged children so have a look inside – check Jessica’s website for some pages. And of course, watch our videos to find out more about our teaching tips and how primary student teachers feel about this book. Finally, if you want read more about the various picturebook-awards and what they represent, check this page..

Sandie: Peritextual Features

Awards: Point out the award out on the front cover.
Front cover: Predict what the story might be about
Front endpapers: Show Julian’s grandma and friends in their swimming session;
Back endpaper: Completes the visual, with Julian becoming his dream

Tatia: Teacher Education

Using open discussion as a tool to :
1 – express different interpretations of the story
2 – air student teachers’ concerns or doubts about the content of a story
3 – elicit feedback and teaching ideas


Gail: Multiliteracies

Emotional: Reading facial expressions, posture and body language; sketching out main character’s emotional journey
Gender: Questioning traditional expectations around gender roles

Annete: Notes from the Classroom

Explaining the different meaning between “sex” and “gender”.
Discussing colours, toys/games, clothes, generally associated with girls and boys – brainstorming to prepare a poster
Discussing gender stereotypes.
Finding out about the Coney Island Mermaid Parade