Written by Alex Gino
There’s no denying the issues surrounding transgender individuals, aka born in the wrong body, are both topical and complex. Children may not understand all the nuances or possibly even the physical implications, but they will easily identify with the feeling of being different. In this celebrated and widely read story of a fourth grader born in a boy’s body, Alex Gino gently presents George’s many struggles and feelings. Even though George has heard all the news stories, she still feels isolated, as if she is the only person in the world who is called a boy and knows she’s a girl. Eventually, she finds the courage to share the fact that she is a girl. She is lucky to have many people around her who understand, once they recover from their initial shock. All of this is set in the realistic backdrop of an elementary school presentation of a play based on Charlotte’s Web. George wants to play Charlotte, but can’t because she’s a boy.
Third graders can handle the language and independent reading, but there are many reasons to read this with parents or well-informed teacher. Adults will want to discuss with kids what gender identity means and whether it is static. At any rate, George gives everyone a lot to talk about.