A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that George is a book about a transgender fourth-grader who increasingly learns to be herself and to tell others about her secret. Along the way, she finds many supportive advocates, but her greatest ally is her best friend, Kelly. Some kids taunt George, and she's called a freak and gets punched by a school bully. Some people, such as George's brother, assume George is gay, but she says she doesn't "know who she liked, really, boys or girls." The book deals with sexual identity, but there's no sexual activity. George's older brother mentions looking at porn and "dirty" magazines as something boys do. Young readers who don't know what the word "porn" means may be inclined to look it up. Parents and teachers can use this book to talk about a wide variety of topics, including what it means to be transgender and to how to stand up for someone being bullied. Editor's note: In the story, George's older brother shows George how to clear the browsing history after using Mom's computer. George then does this after searching the internet for transgender information. In the Common Sense K-12 Digital Citizenship Curriculum we advise families and educators to empower kids to think critically about the websites they visit. However, families may choose to review their kids' browsing history to make sure they're making safe choices online.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
GEORGE is about a transgender fourth-grader. George may have been born in a boy's body, but she knows she's really a girl. For example, when her class stages Charlotte's Web, she wants to audition for Charlotte, not a boy's part. She gets teased by boys in class ("You're such a freak. You're a freak. Freak. Freak"), but finds amazing support in her best friend, Kelly, and in her older brother. But what will her mother say when Gorge gets the courage to tell her she's a girl named Melissa?
Is it any good?
Alex Gino's simply and tenderly written story will help kids -- and parents -- understand what it feels like to be transgender. George hates the body she was born with, gets teased at school, and worries her mother won't accept her if she learns her big secret. Readers will quickly understand that George is really a girl and cheer her growing ability to live as herself, even if her coming out seems a bit fast.
There's not a lot of new territory covered here, but there are some simple and lovely moments, such as when George's older brother simply says, "Weird. But it makes sense," when he hears George's secret, or when her supportive friend Kelly helps her pick an outfit so she can spend a day as Melissa.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what it means to be transgender. What would it be like to feel as though you were born into the wrong physical body?
Do you think George's story seems realistic? Is it getting easier for kids today to let their true selves shine through?
George gets bullied and even gets into a physical fight. What would you do if you saw one of your classmates being picked on?
- Author: Alex Gino
- Genre: Coming of Age
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Scholastic Press
- Publication date: August 25, 2015
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 9 - 12
- Number of pages: 240
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, Kindle
- Award: ALA Best and Notable Books
- Last updated: September 1, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.