George by Alex Gino

george-small

I diverged a bit by reading this latest book, as it is a children’s book – but it is on a subject that is utterly important and I was very curious.

George feels she’s been fighting the feeling for so long — that she is truly a girl, in spite of what she has between her legs.  Everyone has so many expectations of her – she’ll grow into a man, she’ll be comfortable in the boys’ bathroom, she’ll play the role of Wilbur when her class performs the story of Charlotte’s Web.  Well, what if she really wants to play Charlotte?  Her best friend, Kelly, becomes her ally as she slowly finds a voice for her feelings and gradually comes to terms with who she really is and what will make her happy.

I believe that this book is important, even while it may not be utterly realistic.  While George is definitely teased by the class bully for being “girlie,” there is also general acceptance of who she is on the whole.  George’s brother (who’d assumed George was gay, which is a common mistake), was almost instantly accepting, as was her mother (once she “got it”), and her best friend.  I appreciate that this is a positive light in which to introduce the concept, hopefully promoting the idea that revealing one’s true gender identity is safe.  Sadly, this is not always true.

And while the writing is a bit drab and the humor attempts fairly lame, the book is so important that I pray it is used in classrooms to promote discussions among children.  Hopefully, this will normalize transitioning and create safe places for children and adolescents to do so.

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