Happy book birthday to “George” by Alex Gino

George by Alex Gino

I just heard about “George,” a new middle grade novel featuring a transgender main character. It was released today by Scholastic The book is Alex Gino‘s debut, so congrats to Alex and happy book birthday!

Here’s the description of “George” from Alex’s website:

“When people look at George, they see a boy. But George knows she’s a girl.

George thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte’s Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can’t even try out for the part … because she’s a boy.

With the help of her best friend Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte – but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.

GEORGE is a candid, genuine, and heartwarming middle grade about a transgender  girl who is, to use Charlotte’s word, R-A-D-I-A-N-T!”

Hopefully I can get my hands on this soon. If you read it first, let me know what you think.

For a picture book and young adult titles featuring transgender main characters, see this post from June.

P.S. I heard about “George” from the “All the Books” podcast, a weekly show about great new releases. Children’s books aren’t talked about much on the show, but it’s a great listen for avid adult readers.

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Hurricane Katrina 10th anniversary: 5 children’s books about strength through the storm

Hurricane Katrina children's books

This month is the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. A number of children’s books related to Katrina have come out in the last ten years, ranging from nonfiction on the storm itself to fictional stories of how kids and their families were affected.

The five books below focus on survival and recovery after the storm, but news coverage of the 10th anniversary this month also has highlighted ongoing gentrification, education reform debates and other issues. I wonder what types of children’s stories about New Orleans we’ll see in the future as the rebuilding and reinvention of the city continues to play out. Continue reading

My diverse reading for April through July

From April through July I read 27 total children’s and YA books. Compare that to March alone, when I read 29. Yikes! I definitely lost some focus in recent months, though I did read many more adult books (9) than I had earlier in the year. Among those, more than half were by or about diverse people.

Of the children’s books I read from April through July, 37% were diverse. (It’s worth noting that books that don’t qualify aren’t necessarily un-diverse. Several featured animal characters, and some were about nonfiction topics.)

In sum, over the last four months, my reading was about 42% diverse, which is pretty good, especially when compared with the rates at which these types of books are published. Also, it puts me one book away from my year-long goal of 50 diverse books!
Here are the diverse books I read for this period. I’ll put asterisks next to my favorites.

April thru July mosaic

Row 1: (All children’s fiction) “Drum Dream Girl” by Margarita Engle, “Red Knit Cap Girl and the Reading Tree” by Naoko Stoop, “The Red Pencil” by Andrea Davis Pinkney (middle grade), “None of the Above” by I.W. Gregorio (young adult), “Firebird” by Misty Copeland

Row 2: (All children’s nonfiction) “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” by William Kamkwamba, “The Mangrove Tree: Planting Trees to Feed Families” by Susan Roth, “Wangari Maathai: The Woman who Planted Millions of Trees” by Franck Prévot, “Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America” by Carole Boston Weatherford, “14 Cows for America” by Carmen Agra Deedy

Row 3: (All books for adults) “Fun Home” and “Are You My Mother” by Alison Bechdel (both graphic novels), “The Tusk that Did the Damage” by Tania James, “Above Us Only Sky” by Michele Young-Stone, “Boy, Snow, Bird” by Helen Oyeyemi