Wednesday, April 13, 2016

MG Realistic Fiction: George by Alex Gino

24612624George by Alex Gino
Format:  Ebook
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Number of Pages: 208
Published:  August 25th 2015

Source: Library
Genre:   MG Realistic Fiction
Opening Lines: "George pulled a silver house key out of the smallest pocket of a large red backpack.  Mom had sewn the key in so that it wouldn't get lost, but the yarn wasn't quite long enough to reach the keyhole if the bag rested on the ground.  Instead, George had to steady herself awkwardly on one foot while the backpack rested on her knee."

In those opening lines we can see that George's story begins with the use of the pronouns "she" and "her,"  George is seen by everyone else as a boy, but knows that she is a girl.  It's a secret that George has chosen not to share with anyone.   But, as the school is about to put on a production of Charlotte's Web, it becomes increasingly more important for her share, especially since George really wants to tryout for the role of Charlotte.  The only problem is that George's teacher refuses to even consider casting a boy for that role, even if she would be perfect for the part.  After George's best friend, Kelley gets the part, she suggests the two switch places during the final production and give George the chance that she has been waiting for to take on the starring lead.  

I'm doing a pretty good job of keeping up with my reading goals for this year (to read widely and diversely),  and I'm pretty happy with my selection this month of George by Alex Gino.  I can see this book being used to spark all kinds of conversations about transgender and it's refreshing to have a book who's overall message was supportive.  With George, Gino appears to realistically portray the types of feelings that transgendered children might be experiencing.  Though, it isn't just a book for transgendered children, as the dedication brilliantly states, "to you, for when you felt different."  Who hasn't had that moment when they felt different?  For George it was constantly being referred to as a boy, when really she is a girl.  Just look at this quote which really got to me: 

"The word man hit like a pile of rocks falling on George's skull. It was a hundred times worse than boy, and she couldn't breathe. She bit her lip fiercely and felt fresh tears pounding against her eyes. She put her head down on her desk and wished she were invisible."

 Gino seemed to take great care in presenting George's story in a way that young children could understand, even giving George a supportive brother, friend and mother who eventually began to understand what George had been feeling.  And I loved that things end on a hopeful note for George, with a lovely trip to the zoo dressed as Melissa with her best friend Kelley.   

1 comment:

  1. I remember hearing of this one when it first came out, but I haven't heard much about it since. I liked hearing your thoughts and I am curious about the story. Thanks for sharing!