Total Pageviews

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

George, written by Alex Gino. Scholastic, 2015. $20.99 ages 10 and up

"George walked her bike from the shed in the backyard, along the cracked cement path, and up to the street. It was Sunday afternoon, and Kelly had invited her over to practice for Monday's auditions. Kelly said they would take turns playing Charlotte, and George's stomach danced at the idea of reading the spider's words aloud. George biked to Kelly's house ... "

This book will be a window for many readers - a window into the world of a transgendered child. It is a chance to see that being who you are is all that you can be. It will be a mirror for others - for those struggling to understand who they are and to help them know that there are other children just like them who struggle every day to be who they are meant to be.

GEORGE is a book that should be shared. I know that it will not always be so.  Of course, there will be classrooms where reading a story about a boy struggling with his gender identity will prove too uncomfortable for sharing.  That is sad, but it is a fact. In those classrooms where GEORGE is read, young listeners will learn so much more than they knew before hearing it; just as I did when I read it.

George is in fourth grade, was born a boy but is aware that he is really a girl. Her story is told in third person and George is called 'she' from the first page. It is a particularly fine way of allowing the reader insight into her stream of consciousness and the many daily things that remind her that everyone else sees her as a boy. It has nothing to do with sexual attraction; she identifies herself as the girl she feels she is. She cringes at the many assumptions made and stated about her future as a successful young man.

We can only hope that transgendered young people will find some support, just as George does. Her best friend Kelly reacts with barely a blink, due to her accepting and enthusiastic nature. She is instantly supportive of George's wish to try out for the part of Charlotte in their class dramatization of Charlotte's Web. When her teacher is unwilling to cast a boy for the part, the two find a way to give  George the chance to show her stuff. Her older brother is there for her. Her mother, of course, has some difficulty understanding. Ultimately, she is able to get past her own worries and offer support for an uncertain future. George's principal is also a stellar character whose understanding and actions provide just what George needs. There is such power in awareness and empathy for all.

Powerful, important and touching, George is a character you want to know. She shows us what life is like for the transgendered kids who deserve honor and recognition in our homes and classrooms. Her voice is strong and honest, while also being painful but promising.  Timely, and essential. I repeat, this a book that needs to be shared. 

No comments:

Post a Comment