Saturday, November 3, 2018

George by Alex Gino

I read George weeks ago, although admittedly not during Banned Books Week like I'd planned, but still forgot to blog about it.  I have to say, though, George was one of the most enjoyable banned or challenged books I've read for Banned Books Week in a long time.

From the point of view of someone who has a couple of transgender friends, I liked the fact that George addressed the gender issues very simply and straightforward: The narration referred to George as "she" throughout.  So there was never any question in the reader's mind about George's gender.  It was in the interactions with other characters where it became obvious that everyone else saw her as a boy.  And honestly, that way of dealing with it is probably what got the book challenged so much.  It probably made a lot of people's brains explode.

But honestly, I think that simple, straightforward way of addressing it is what makes sense for kids.  A few weeks ago, a girl I babysit for who was almost eight at the time told me that one of her friends has a sister and a brother.  Then she said, "She used to have two sisters but her other sister felt like a boy, so now she has a sister and a brother."  Like George, it was simple and straightforward, and she had utterly no confusion about it, despite what trans rights opponents would have you believe.  I think it's adults who muddy the issue, not kids.

In any case, I highly recommend George, for adults and kids alike.  I think it's a difficult book to recommend to kids, because I wouldn't want a kid to think I was saying something about what I thought of them, but maybe having it lying around in a classroom or a library would encourage kids to pick it up and read it without inadvertently seeming like you're implying anything.

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