George by Alex Gino

georgeI’m so glad my library request for this book was fulfilled in time for me to post a review during Transgender Awareness Week!  Though there are many YA novels that focus on the GLBTQ experience, some of which include transgender characters — like Almost Perfect and Beautiful Music for Ugly Children — I cannot think of a single book for middle grade readers (aside from George) that even mentions transgender people, let alone talks honestly about what it means to be a transgender child. I appreciated the way that Gino brought readers into George’s mind in order to demonstrate how the often-rigid gender roles and expectations in our society might affect trans children/people.

Though the existence of GLBTQ people is nothing new, our society still has a long way to go before many people in the GLBTQ community will feel accepted, let alone embraced. In addition to activists working toward recognizing and providing equal rights and protections for people of all sexual orientations and gender identifications, it is also extremely important for children to have access to stories like this.  Not only so children can build an empathy for people who have different sexual orientations and/or gender identifications than themselves, but also so that ALL children can see themselves reflected in the literature they read.  #WeNeedDiverseBooks is about SO much more than ethnicity.

Happy Reading!

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