Welcome to the blog of the Tasmanian branch of the Children's Book Council of Australia!

Saturday 28 November 2015

George - a review

For You, 
For When You Felt Different  

In Reading Time, May 2013, Alyssa Brugman, referring to Alex as well, (2013), wrote: “Why aren’t there more YA books about transgendered, cross-dressing or intersex teens?  I don’t know the answer so I wrote one.”  Since then, there have been many books, some so completely dominated by the theme that the story is left behind. And now there is George by Alex Gino (Scholastic), a wonderful, sensitive, and honest story for younger readers.   

George is a girl who - biologically - was born as a boy.  When the school is looking for players to take part in a dramatisation of Charlotte’s Web,George wants to be Charlotte.  Her best friend Kelly and Scott, George’s gross, funny and accepting brother, help George be the person she wants to be. The novel deals with bullying and the school system and how individual teachers and the system respond to challenging situations. This may be confronting for some schools.  

Why is the story so powerful? The third person narration introduces George in female pronouns; this is critical to the way we read the book. George is not a boy wanting to be a girl, but a girl in a world where no one else can see it. It's an essential distinction. The story transcends theme informing our understanding of how isolated the Georges of the world must feel while simultaneously telling other Georges that they are not alone and that there is support. 

This is a heart-warming and engaging book should be in every library and school – for children to see themselves and for readers (young and old) to understand what it is like to feel different.

Nella Pickup
CBCA Tasmania committee member and avid reader.

Editor’s note: Read and watch an interview with Alex in theguardian. 

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