George

george-small

by Alex Gino
Overall: 5 out of 5 stars

George has all the trappings of an Issue Book, but manages to have a plot on top of it. It’s what I loved about The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher, too – that book wasn’t just about a family with two dads, it was a story of four brothers who were each going through their own stuff and how they learned and grew, and, oh yeah, they happened to have two dads. Similarly, George has her own stuff going on, part of which is her struggle to explain to her mom, her best friend, and others that she wants to be a girl. That is a big plotline and can take over a story, but Gino works in a related plotline of George aspiring to play Charlotte in the class play of Charlotte’s Web.

How this is pulled off is the magic of this story, and with transgender issues a hot topic right now, it can’t have come out (pun intended) at a better time. George is also in fourth grade; because she’s so young, it is made very clear that her gender identity is not connected to her sexual preferences, which ideally will help to clarify the issue for some readers. George’s family are also interesting in how they react to her identity, in ways I didn’t expect. I was prepared for them to be one-dimensional, that they would be either entirely opposed or entirely supportive, and that wasn’t the case. Her mother and brother are eventually won over, and explaining things to her best friend is pretty much a non-issue, which is thankfully realistic for some kids. Overall completely satisfying and a hugely important book.

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