Gino, Alex. 2015. George. New York: Scholastic Press.
“You’re one tough cookie. But the world isn’t always good to people who are different. I just don’t want you to make your road any harder than it has to be.”
“Trying to be a boy is really hard.”
Mom blinked a few times, and when she opened her eyes again, a teardrop fell down her cheek. (page 170)
In this beautifully written middle grade novel, a young girl summons the courage to reveal her authentic self. George is a 4th grader that everyone thinks is a boy. She knows people won’t understand, so she keeps her true gender a secret. But when she finds out that the class play is going to be Charlotte’s Web, George can’t stand the idea of playing Wilbur. She wants to play Charlotte, and she wants everyone to see who she really is.
I loved this book. George is a strong and sympathetic character that starts out timid and becomes brave. Her family is a bit confused but ultimately loving and supportive. Her best friend accepts George’s disclosure quickly, as many children do, and helps her plan her triumphant stage emergence. While there is some mild bullying from peers and disappointing pushback from the teacher, in the end George is accepted and celebrated, as she should be.
With sensitive portrayals of George and her family, authentic and poignant dialog, and an important narrative theme, I highly recommend George for school and public libraries. This book is accessible for children in grades 3-7.
George won the 2016 Mike Morgan and Larry Romans Children’s Stonewall Award and was on the 2016 Rainbow List. Author Alex Gino is genderqueer and a member of We Need Diverse Books. They are passionate about trans voices telling trans stories.