George is in fourth grade, and while everyone sees a physical boy – George knows she’s really a girl. She would like her outsides to match her insides, but she doesn’t know how to even talk to anyone about how she’s feeling. Then her class is putting on a play of Charlotte’s Web. George sees her chance to show people how she’s really a girl by auditioning for the part of Charlotte. The teacher refuses to even consider George for the part and wants her to consider the roles “for boys”. Deeply upset, George finally confides in her best friend and the two of them come up with a plan to show George’s truth.
What an incredible book. This is perfect for middle grade readers who are questioning their own identity or feel like they don’t belong. It also demonstrates great ways to support a friend who may be questioning their identity in any way, while also showing how hurtful non-supportive comments and actions can be. Conflicts do arise for George – who I should mention would prefer to be called Melissa – in the form of a blatantly closed off mother who has a hard time accepting the thought that George is gay not even thinking that George is really Melissa. There are also classroom bullies to contend with and the teacher previously mentioned. Aside from her best friend, Melissa does find some allies that surprise her and completely warmed my heart.
I love that this book is out there. Librarians and teachers, I urge you to read and know this book so that you are ready to hand it over to the readers in your community who need this.
by Alex Gino