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George Hardcover – August 25, 2015
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From School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—Before her mother and older brother Scott come home, George has a few, treasured moments to experience life as she's always wanted to live it. She looks in the mirror and calls herself Melissa, combs her hair over her forehead to mimic the appearance of bangs, and reads glossy magazines full of ads for lipstick, perfume, and tampons. Once her mom and brother come home, however, the magazines must go back to their secret hiding place. While George has no doubt she's a girl, her family relates to her as they always have: as a boy. George hopes that if she can secure the role of Charlotte in her class's upcoming production of Charlotte's Web, her mom will finally see her as a girl and be able to come to terms with the fact that George is transgender. With the help of her closest ally, Kelly, George attempts to get the rest of the world to accept her as she is. While children can have a sense of their gender identity as early as the age of three, children's literature is shockingly bereft of trans* protagonists, especially where middle grade literature is concerned. George offers more than the novelty of an LGBTQ coming-out story, however. Here, what is most remarkable is the use of pronouns: While the world interacts with George as if she is a boy, the narrator only refers to her with female pronouns, which gives her girl-ness a stronger sense of validation. In addition, George comments on the fact that, in past years, gays and lesbians have achieved a certain amount of visibility and acceptance, while the trans* community is still largely ignored and misunderstood. George's mother remarks that while she can handle having a gay child, she simply can't accept her as "that kind of gay." For George, as is the case for many LGBTQ youth, coming out is a process that she must repeat until she is properly recognized. There is pain in George, but not without the promise of a better tomorrow, even if tomorrow doesn't arrive as soon as it should. VERDICT A required purchase for any collection that serves a middle grade population.—Ingrid Abrams, Brooklyn Public Library, NY
* "Profound, moving, and—as Charlotte would say—radiant, this book will stay with anyone lucky enough to find it." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review
* "A required purchase for any collection that serves a middle grade population." -- School Library Journal, starred review
* "Pair this important addition to the slender but growing body of transgender fiction with Ami Polonsky’s Gracefully Grayson." -- Booklist, starred review
Top customer reviews
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I read George for Week 2, Category 2 of the #ReadProud Challenge.
What a delightful, lovely, fun read. It was heartwarming and lovely. We see the struggles of not just transgender youth but the way lower education enforces such strict binary gender roles on children.
The audition scene reminded me of being in third grade when I wasn't permitted to audition for Romeo in "Romeo and Juliet." I remember being devastated then, and still now it bugs me with the whole, "You can't do that!"
Every child and adult should read this book.
Siblings and parents should read this book.
There's not one person who couldn't benefit from this story.
“George stopped. It was such a short, little question, but she couldn't make her mouth form the sounds. Mom, what if I'm a girl?”
George is a middle-grade book and I think this might be a first for me, but I heard about it on NPR and couldn't pass it up. I was afraid this story would be a soul-crushing experience and while it has sad moments, it's genuinely hopeful. And by sad moments, I mean George’s mom and her inability to see George for who she really is. That's all any child wants and it’s to be seen.
All George wants to do is be in the school play. She desperately wants to be cast as Charlotte from Charlotte's Web and the story follows her journey in the endeavor. I won't give too much else away because there's so much to experience with this book and I loved every minute of it!
The storytelling is expertly done and delivers a powerful message about acceptance without being preachy or heavy-handed.
“She looked in the mirror and gasped. Melissa gasped back at her. For a long time, she stood there, just blinking. George smiled, and Melissa smiled too.”
George is definitely worth reading.