Monday, December 19, 2016
by Alex Gino
Fourth-grader George is a girl.
But when everybody -- including her mom, who changed her diapers as a baby -- looks at George, they see a boy. It's a problem for George. She knows that there are other girls out there in the world like her, but she doesn't know how she will ever join them.
When her teacher reads Charlotte's Web aloud to the class, George wants more than anything to play the role of Charlotte in the school play, but she isn't even allowed to audition for the part ... because she's a boy.
Inspired by the literary character of Charlotte, George and her best friend Kelly take action that will change George's life forever ... hopefully, for better.
Publishing this book as a middle-grade story that clearly skews towards a young readership allows it forgiveness for the unrealistically large number of unreasonably reasonable people portrayed in it. Writers and storytellers know that younger audiences practically require a Very Happy Ending; however, very good writers and storytellers can provide that ending while simultaneously providing the seeds of knowledge about difficulties the characters may face after the last page. Alex Gino pulls off the trick very nicely.
George is a sweet book, and readers will rejoice at the end of the story, even though they know that the main character's struggles are not nearly over.
The events may not have happened; still, the story is true. --R. Silvern
Aarene Storms, youth services librarian
Richmond Beach and Lake Forest Park Libraries, KCLS