George wants to play Charlotte in the class play of Charlotte’s Web. But George’s teacher refuses to let her audition for the part, because she thinks George is a boy, just like everyone else, when George knows she’s a girl.
Why this book?: I’ve heard a lot about it, and my AP Lit teacher let me borrow her copy when I brought it up during a meeting!
Y’all. Y’ALL. This book–this book is SO important. This is a book that every kid should have access too, whether they are transgender or not. Because not only does it teach kids what being transgender is, but it also goes into accepting yourself and others. Maybe a kid wouldn’t have gleaned those messages clearly from the story, but it’s obvious from the storyline that Gino was going after a both meaningful and educational tale on being transgender.
George delves into a simplified version of what being transgender is, tackling points such as what’s in your pants doesn’t define who you are, what others think don’t matter, and accepting people for who they are. There was a clear difference between kids accepting Melissa and adults accepting her. Needless to say, this book has a lot of misgendering and deadnaming, mainly because Melissa just isn’t out yet. (As a title, George isn’t the best. It’s basically deadnaming her, but the author talked about that on their blog.) At spots, George get’s a little intense with Melissa’s depression and her feelings about constantly having to deal with being misgendered. I related so badly with Melissa’s struggles, and I almost put down the book with how heartbroken I was.
One of my favorite parts of George, while the characters were lovely, was Gino’s use of Melissa’s pronouns from the very start of the book. Not once did the narrative ever misgender Melissa, compared to the other characters not even bothering to try. You could tell that Gino wanted this book to be simple but special, and they definitely made that goal. I was crying hard in the middle of the night, clutching this book to my chest.
I just have to say: the ending of the book was so impactful for me. I don’t want to spoil anything, but it really hit home for me. This was a book I needed when I was a kid.
Final Rating: ★★★★★
It was a very hard read for me, emotionally. I was exhausted when I finished this, not because it was bad, but because it ended up meaning so much to me. (Plus it was 3 am.)
Would I Recommend?
To everyone. To kids, to adults, to senior citizens, and teenagers. Like I said, everyone needs this book. Everyone needs to understand this.
Published: August 25th, 2015
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Page Count: 195
Genre: Middle Grade/Contemporary
Synopsis: via Goodreads
BE WHO YOU ARE. When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she’s not a boy. She knows she’s a girl.
George thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte’s Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can’t even try out for the part. . . because she’s a boy.
With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte – but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.