People think 10-year old George is a boy, but she knows she’s not. Her life is a series of endless intricate roles, as she acts the part of a son, a brother, a boy. She navigates bullies, boys’ bathrooms and everyone’s gender expectations on a daily basis. The problem is, that the acting is getting too hard. The acting she would like to be doing instead, is in the role of the spider, Charlotte, for her 4th grade class’ production of Charlotte’s Web, but her teacher says a boy can’t try out for the part. With the help of her best friend, she concocts a plan to take the role onstage, courageously showing the world her real self.
‘There is no typical trans story’ says author Alex Gino, ‘People who you expect to be accepting, sometimes have a hard time. And those you have a hard time coming out to, sometimes surprise you.’ George encounters both scenarios in her relationships with family, school friends, and authority figures, happily finding unexpected allies that buoy her. Uncomfortable and difficult conversations and George’s occasionally tormented inner dialogue are skillfully navigated, as she tries to please those around her while coming to terms with her identity.
Author Alex Gino has always loved children’s books, but has long recognized a hole in the genre. ‘Figuring out who we are is critical in late grade school to early middle school’. Yet there were no trans characters for kids to relate to in children’s literature. Twelve years and many revisions later, Alex has filled that hole with an amazing middle-reader story of a contemporary transgender child, on the cusp of becoming the person they are meant to be.
Join Alex Gino at the University Book Store (4326 University Way) this Saturday, March 26 at 3 p.m. for a book discussion and signing. University Bookstore Book Event.