George by Alex Gino and other great titles for Transgender Awareness Week
By Jill Grunenwald, librarian and Collection Development Analyst with OverDrive
When it comes to George by Alex Gino, all I want to tell you is READ THIS BOOK. READ THIS BOOK NOW. Yes. Capital letters and all. That’s how emphatic I am about getting this book into the hands (and on the devices) of as many people as possible.
All George wants to do is play Charlotte in the fourth-grade class production of Charlotte’s Web. The problem is, when people look at George they see a little boy and only she knows that she’s really a girl. Told in the third person from George’s point of view, we see and hear George as the little girl that she is, which makes those moments when a teacher or fellow student refers to her as a boy so very jarring. The ending, when George is finally able to show on the outside who she truly is on the inside, is lovely and graceful and incredibly touching. Days after finishing I was still processing this story (and telling strangers on the street to read it. (Kidding. Kind of.))
The beauty of this book is that while Gino has written the book for a younger audience, it can be appreciated by readers of all ages. If anything, it’s the perfect introduction to transgender issues for children as well as teenagers and adults who may be unfamiliar with gender nonconformity.
“George” is a work of fiction, but her story and the challenges she faces are very real to the transgender men and women, boys and girls, who share their own struggles in the following non-fiction titles:
Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family by Amy Ellis Nutt
I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings
Raising Ryland by Hillary Whittington
She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders by Jennifer Finney Boylan
Transition: The Story of How I Became a Man by Chaz Bono
November 14th – 20th marks Transgender Awareness Week and this is only a small sampling of the transgender friendly titles, both non-fiction and fiction, that we have available. As a fellow librarian, I know the important task of providing your service population with the information they want and a safe space to read it. One of the benefits of providing content through OverDrive is that it gives your patrons access to titles and topics they may be too embarrassed to ask about or check out in person due to the sensitive nature of the subject matter.