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It was so beautiful. The story is, of course, not without its conflict and hard moments. But I really appreciated that it was an uplifting story. And George really did feel like a 10 year old, so that was awesome. The writing just seemed effortless and I just wanted to swallow the whole book in one bite. Also, speaking of eating because somehow I always end up reviewing books like they're food omg , I highly appreciate the amount of delicious food that was consumed in this novel.
It's cute and totally snabbled my heart and it's one of the best written MG books I've gobbled for a while. It did take me a while to get into the story, but eh. View all 9 comments. This book is so lovely, well-done, and important! I wish I would have read this as a kid and I just adore the fact that it exists, especially as a kid's book.
George's story is so relevant and heart touching and I love the way that this one was done! I'm so happy that this book exists.
Before I get into my review of this story, I need to tell you a little bit about myself, because my own personal experiences heavily impacted my thoughts on this novel. When I was in elementary school, I did swim team and softball. In middle school, I gravitated towards martial arts and rock climbing. In high school, I played a lot of tennis, basketball and bowling. I went to college to go work in motorsports. Starting in middle school, I started wearing jeans from the boys' department, because I didn't like how tightly formed jeans from the girls' department were especially how useless the pockets were.
And you were likely to catch me in a t-shirt of my favorite sports team pared with it and NEVER with a purse, as I don't own one since I have pants that have usable pockets and thus don't need one. I even kept my hair cut short to help keep the sweat off my neck in the summer. As I got older, things didn't "improve" much. Instead of going shopping at the mall, I went to hockey games with my dad.
And instead of watching Dancing with the Stars with my mom, I would either be outside playing kickball or playing Around the World with the neighborhood kids or I would be sitting in front of the tube watching an IndyCar race with my dad. So now let's look at George. A charming fourth grader, George is struggling with her identity.
She knows she's a girl, even though she was born inside a boy's body. She has a secret stash of Seventeen magazines which I never personally read she has to keep hidden from her mother and her older brother, because she doesn't think they will understand. She has to deal with constant taunting from boys at school, one of which was kind of her friend for a while, and a school play dear to her heart that is not going the way she would like at all. I love little George, don't get me wrong. I can relate to little George, because in a lot of ways I struggled with some of the same insecurities as she does.
Luckily, I had a dad who embraced my love of sports, and not a mother who told me I needed to conform. I have two issues with this novel, and neither have to do with George herself, but more of the way Gino tries to send a message about transgender kids and kids alike. The first one being that I did not like that George resorts to bullying to counteract bullying. That is not a message I would ever send my kids.
I know sometimes you gotta fight fire with fire, but what George does sends the wrong message completely especially with how the adults deal with it. The second, and much more important, is how Gino treats gender stereotypes. This is a hugely personal topic for me, since I've always been labeled a "tomboy".
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While I understand the difficulties of being transgender in today's society, Gino makes George out to be transgender simply because he doesn't fit his own gender stereotypes. In addition, it's kind of offensive the way Gino portrays what it means to be a girl. To George, being a girl means she gets to wear lots of makeup.
First of all, I don't want my fourth grader wearing makeup. Second of all, I never wear makeup even now. It also means getting to try on high heels and wear a skirt. Because, and a character in this novel points out, "When girls dress up, they wear skirts. I have a lot to teach you about being a girl. My version of dress up is a button down blouse and a nice pair of black slacks. Over high heels, I wear a pair of very nice sneakers or flats. Another character makes the comment to George, "No offense, but you don't make a very good boy.
Because George would rather play Mario Kart and read Seventeen magazine over playing bloody first person shooter games with his brother, he doesn't make a good boy? Yes, I think it's important that we stop being so narrow minded and judgmental about transgender people. Yes, I love George with all my heart.
But I would not want a son or daughter, or even a niece or nephew of mine, to read this book and think that they ever have to act a certain way or do certain things or dress in certain clothes because that is what society has decided is "appropriate". I think Gino tries to bring one social issue - treatment of transgender people - to light by throwing another important social issue - gender stereotypes - completely under the bus.
That part of this book I found highly offensive, through no fault of George's. And I realize perhaps I am reading too much into it and that a fourth grader or someone in the target audience for this book would not even realize what I saw, but I wouldn't give it to them to ever make that mistake.
View all 11 comments. This book is so important. I mean, so important. George explains what transgender means and how it's manifested in kids and what it feels like for kids who are trans so simply and in a way that is so easy to understand. The best thing that Gino did in George was to refer to George in female pronouns the entire novel This book is so important. The best thing that Gino did in George was to refer to George in female pronouns the entire novel. And that's what made this so wonderful. And this is a middle grade novel. Which is also just so wonderful that this book is out there and exists for kids to learn about what transgender is so they can grow into being good allies.
And for kids to read this book and see themselves in George. The principle instead used substitutes like "the star", because she sensed what might have been going on with George and didn't want to add to the possible agony of being referred to as the wrong gender. That was so great, I teared up. The point at which I actually cried, and is my other favorite moment, was when George dressed up in Kelly's tank top and skirt, looked in the mirror, and said something along the lines of "George smiled and Melissa smiled too" and for the rest of the book she was referred to as Melissa instead of George.
George became a person of the past and Melissa was finally able to come out and live as she always wanted. Kelly also referred to her as Melissa from then on, too. This was such a beautiful and incredibly important moment. It showed how things get better, from the bullying and her mom not listening, and how everyone reaches the point where the true self they were hiding finally reveals themselves. And it's a beautiful thing. This small yet critical moment really reinforces how George was a girl the whole time.
But for a younger reader, finally attaching a female name to her might help them grasp the concept of being trans better and give them that "aha! Just so wonderful. Oh, another thing that I really appreciated: George specifically stated that she does not know if she likes boys or girls. I love that she wasn't automatically straight because she's a girl. I love that she doesn't know who she likes. I love that it was actually said.
So many times in book, sexualities are kind of hinted at but never really talked about head on and I loved this. I love that she doesn't know and seems relatively okay about it. Love love love.
I can't say enough how important and so, so well written this book is. I'm so happy and just thrilled that a book like this, written as well as it is, exists for young readers.
More middle grade books need to be written about diverse topics just like this one was written, and hopefully they'll be written by Alex Gino who only has this one book and man I was disappointed when I read that. I cannot recommend this book enough. It doesn't matter your age: this story about a young girl who just wants to be herself will warm your heart till it melts.
George is the story of a child who's realized that she is a girl, even if she was born into a body that was assigned "male" at birth.
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Given the subject matter, it's already a heavy read at times, but when you add in the transphobia from many other characters—including George's own mother—it's downright heartbreaking in places. That said, I don't think it would be a spoiler to tell you that this children's story ends happily, and we g Assigned reading for MLIS Multicultural Youth Literature. That said, I don't think it would be a spoiler to tell you that this children's story ends happily, and we get to watch George blossom into Melissa, her true self, complete with frilly dresses and bows.
It's absolutely precious to watch her grow not only to accept herself, but also to start being accepted by her family, as well as her incredibly supportive best friend. I listened to the audiobook format of this story, of which there are two versions; the one I listened to is narrated by trans actress Jamie Clayton, and knowing that the voice telling the story belonged to a woman who had undergone so many of the same feelings that are detailed in the story added a tremendously touching layer of authenticity.
There are actually a couple of scenes in which you can hear the emotion in Jamie Clayton's voice, and those moments really drove the impact home of how important and powerful this story is. If you have the chance, I highly recommend Jamie's narration of the book. Words cannot express my love for this book.
Sep 24, Kelly and the Book Boar rated it really liked it Shelves: really-for-kidlets , i-read-banned-books , read-in , liburrrrrry-book. No time like the present. I have been reading at least one banned or challenged book during Banned Books Week for years now. This year I chose George - because it made this list.
The premise behind George is pretty simple. I thought it was wonderful and once you got to know George, it was hard not to support her. George is a children's book unlike any other and is much needed in today's ever changing, ever transitioning world. George looks like a boy on the outside, but on the inside she knows she's a girl.
When it's announced that George's class will perform Charlotte's Web for the school play, George yearns to be cast as Charlotte. But Charlotte is a girl's part, and George can't even tryout because everyone thinks she's a boy. George sets her sights on playing Charlotte and devises a plan to prove who George is a children's book unlike any other and is much needed in today's ever changing, ever transitioning world. George sets her sights on playing Charlotte and devises a plan to prove who she is -- to be who she is -- once and for all. Alex Gino's heart-warming book examines the subtle ways in which society inadvertently reinforces gender roles, bringing to light how harmful such behaviors can be.
Further topics covered include the importance of being open minded toward another person's perspective, what it's like to feel trapped in the wrong body, and the importance of practicing empathy. I absolutely love everything about this. I really felt for George's character, who I think is relatable to a lot of people whether they're trans or not. I'm happy to be living at a time where books like this are available to young people, and I really hope its message can help promote acceptance and understanding in everyone; teachers and parents included.
I don't want someone to see this one star rating and instantly write this off as someone who was offended by this book so they gave it one star. That is not the case at all. In fact I'm sure enough people are going to comment and share their opinions about the topics of this book that I'm not even going to bothering chiming in. The fact is it doesn't matter because there is a super tangible reason why no one should ever read this book. The writing is straight up terrible, like some of the worst I have ever read terrible. I couldn't stand how absolutely fake everything felt and I'm not sure if this author has ever had a conversation with a ten year old before.
It felt very detached from reality, like to the point where even if this book was not about a transgender student, the way things played out would not have happened. I'm guessing this author was on a mission to make a statement and didn't feel like they needed to actually find out what an average elementary school kid would be like. And to provide some justification to myself I'm an elementary teacher, so I think I kinda have a grasp on what they are like.
I also want to meet a parent who talks to their kids the way this mother does. Basically, the character felt forced and unrealistic, transgender aside, the book should be destroyed and never read due to its horrible writing! In my review of "Lily and Dunkin" I gave the author credit for writing a story that sheds light on the subject in a way that is more accessible to children who are struggling with this transition. Right off the bat, I'm not changing my 1-star rating.
Some of the comments I've gotten about "Geroge" was that I should consider the perspective of a 4th grader and I've read numerous reviews and I agree with myself that "George" is not appropriate for a 4th grader to read. If there was a 4th grader who was dealing with these issues I'd recommend "Lily and Dunkin" to them. Again another book that I don't think is appropriate for the age group, but if you're going to recommend one at least have it be good literature. After rereading this book an incredible feat in and of itself because I NEVER reread books I still found the overall lack of writing skills to be apparent.
Donna Gephart, author of "Lily and Dunkin" makes it a point in her author's note to address how much research went into the writing of her book. I'd venture to guess that Alex Gino's research involved sharing the experience that they had as a child. Super supportive "4th Grade" friend most 4th graders probably don't even know what transgender is, let alone would be willing to just completely buy into their friend telling them about it , a principal who shares the secret with the student, the bullying that occurs.
I feel like if anything the bullying that happened to George wasn't any more than the amount of bullying the average 4th grader encounters on a regular basis. It needed to be more extreme. There just was no connection to what the life of a 4th grader is really like and I think if any kid started reading this book they would instantly realize how unrealistic it is. I know I said in my initial review I didn't want to share my thoughts on the issues at hand in the book and instead focus on the choppy, disjointed, unrealistic writing, but I've dug the hole this deep I might as well chime in with a few other things that rubbed me the wrong way, help justify my thoughts: 1 This book starts out by just flat out spoiling the ending to the greatest book ever!!!!!!
If a kid gets their hands on this book before they've read "Charlotte's Web" it will literally take away one of the most magical moments an elementary school child can experience. The fact that chapter 1, boom, you find out what the climax of "Charlotte's Web" is, should, in my opinion, be punishable by law hence the reason I'm even beating around the bush in this review, I don't want to say what happens.
To me this book was all about "telling" a story, there were no "feelings involved. Regardless of the topic not appropriate for the elementary level. This is a conversation kids need to have with their parents and won't happen for most until middle school, 4th grade is way too young. Do some?