As I sit and look at my shelves for what book to read next, I am constantly asking myself about the authors and the characters represented in what I read. I don’t think it is enough to simply say that a reader chooses to read good books or excellent books, I think as a reader, I have to make choices that broaden my horizons, serve as mirrors of my life and windows into others. I want my son and his friends to peruse the books on my shelves one day and see themselves reflected in the authors and the characters that they find. This means that I must make a conscious effort to seek out books that represent diverse voices. I was very excited to read George by Alex Gino. From the start, George, who is biologically male, refers to herself as female. This book doesn’t resort to tropes or clichés, but clearly shows from the beginning that George is a girl who everyone perceives as a boy. She wants to tell her family and friends, but lacks the confidence to do so. Her best friend, is supportive and helps her have a chance to play the traditionally female role of Charlotte in the school play against the wishes of the teacher. George’s brother is supportive, after first assuming that George is gay, and with time George’s mother becomes supportive as well. Although, if there is one thing that this books demonstrates over and over again, it is how often the adults fail George. Gino treated the topic of gender identity with grace and realism that is often missing from middle school novels on such topics. This is the kind of book that when I finished it, I wanted to be able to make it required reading for everyone. More people should have empathy for kids everywhere whose stories are being written with the wrong pronouns, kids who also deserve a happy ending, kids who are isolated.

 

Published by Sarah BooksBeforeBandaids