In George, Alex Gino tells a sensitive and enlightening story about how it feels to be a transgender* child.
Book Biscuit and I LOVE everything about this amazing book! From the pure white cover with ping-y kaleidoscopic letters to the awesome, moving story inside which is not only a story of hope for transgender children but also an incredible insight for the people in their lives.
George knows she is a girl. But the rest of the world sees her as a boy.
At home with her mother and brother, ‘trying to be a boy is really hard’ when you’re a girl. No-one seems to be able to see George for who she really is. And as a reader, each time her family, friends and other peers refer to her as a boy, it’s not only painful for George but it is jarring for us too. I know Book Biscuit, I really wished they would see her properly as well!!
George hates her body and is at times bullied at school. Her experiences are hard-hitting in their realism; she struggles with having to use the boy’s toilets and being grouped with and treated as a boy at school. And the gender boxes that society seems so tied to, just seem… well, wrong.
When things are beginning to come out into the open, her brother makes the assumption she is gay but that’s not something George has even thought about; this is about who she feels she is and nothing else—but it takes time for her to find the words as well as the right moments to let people know.
When her teacher announces that their class will be putting on Charlotte’s Web as a play, George does NOT want to play a male character—obviously—she wants to be Charlotte. But that is not going to be easy when everyone thinks she should be playing a boy’s role.
It is with the help and support of her wonderful best friend Kelly, that George’s wishes start to comes true and slowly, the people in her life begin to realize her truth. Me and Book Biscuit were SO rooting for her during these huge moments in her young life.
Part of the magic that is in the telling of George’s story is how it helps us to recognize how misgendered children must feel on a day-to-day basis. We were with George every step of the way; hoping that the people closest to her would accept her truth and support her to be who she is—and we’re glad to say we felt happy at the end of this story!
This is such an important book for transgender youth, a breath of fresh air and a welcome addition to children’s literature.
Book Biscuit’s best bit:
Book Biscuit loves Kelly and the way she learns how to treat her best friend! He thinks that it is through Kelly that we can all learn how to best support our friends when they need us most.
Way to go Kelly!
George is about—and for—middle-grade readers. Book Biscuit has been thinking hard about age appropriateness and feels that readers should be at least nine. Book Biscuit thinks this book will be super helpful to siblings of transgender children too.
Good thinking Book Biscuit!
I think it is worth noting that this book draws on other subjects such as bullying, sexuality and internet use which may bring about important discussions with children and so parents and carers may want to read this book too.
*Transgender is the word used to describe when a person’s gender identity is different than what society expects based on their sex assigned at birth.