Can we talk about this book?
When I was at BEA this spring, I received a copy of GEORGE by Alex Gino. Actually, the young man from Scholastic who was presenting the book to us gave an emotional appeal for people to read it and love it and support them as they felt the story would come under controversy.
GEORGE is about a 4th grade named George who, while a boy on the outside, is a girl on the inside. George wants to be Charlotte in the class’ upcoming production of Charlotte’s Web, but only girls can audition. George hides the fact that internally she is female, especially from her family, but ends up telling her best friend.
This is a very touching and sensitive story about a child struggling with their gender identification. I absolutely loved George. I felt the story was written from the heart and sensitively portrayed a young person in the midst of establishing their identity.
My challenge with GEORGE was when I think about what age to recommend it for. It is written for middle grades (3-6) but I’m not sure that age could appreciate and understand it (reading it on their own) unless it is something in their own experience. It’s more of a middle school read in my opinion. That said, I have several adults that I will recommend it to.
I’m sure some will take issue with this story. I’m sure some won’t like it. But I think it’s a lovely and sensitive portrayal that deserves to be read and shared.