In light of all the stupid, hateful bullshit that has been happening, this book has definitely been on my mind lately. George is a book, in short, about a child. A person. A kid who, like all kids, deserves happiness and love and acceptance. A kid who is curious and kind and a devoted friend.
George is about a transgender fourth-grader who longs to share who she is with the world. She wants to be known, to be accepted, to be allowed to be herself. It's amazing how easy it is to take our identities for granted. I wan't to wear lipstick or curl my hair or put on a skirt- NBD. I don't even think twice about it. But what if the trappings of femininity, which I so take for granted, where off-limits? What if, by slapping on some lip gloss, I was defying societal norms and expectations and subjecting myself to ridicule or worse? I truly can't imagine the struggle. I can't imagine the abject loneliness and shame felt by those who only want to be seen as they are.
In many ways, this book changed the way I relate to people. I had always thought of myself as empathetic, but I realized I only was so when I could identify with the other person. George's heroine, Melissa, gave me a new lens with which to view those around me. It's a super-quick read that will break your heart and make you feel both optimistic and like a total asshole- in a good way. In a "there's hope for you yet" way.
Here is a link to the Author's blog. Go there and feel fabulous!
Also, a great NPR Morning Edition link.
And last, mad ups to Scholastic! I know it's not cool to admire huge corporate juggernauts- unless they use their power for good! Scholastic marketed the heck out of this book and made it a mission to get it into as many hands as possible. So much good.
Gino, A. (2015). George. New York, NY: Scholastic.