We Are Proud to Present this year’s Reads Committee Selection for the Fox Cities Community Read!

2021 Author

Alex Gino

Alex Gino

Alex Gino loves glitter, ice cream, gardening, awe-ful puns, and stories that reflect the complexity of being alive. They would take a quiet coffee date with a friend over a loud and crowded party any day. A former LSAT tutor who never touched law school, Alex can still talk your ear off about sufficient and necessary conditions.

Born and raised on Staten Island, NY, Alex has lived in Philadelphia, PA; Brooklyn, NY; Astoria (Queens), NY; Northampton, MA; and Oakland, CA. In April 2016, they bought an RV and put their books and furniture in storage for what became an 18-month road trip through 44 states. They are now happily settled back in Oakland, where they enjoy level floors and indoor plumbing.

Alex has been an activist and advocate for LGBTQIA+ communities since 1997, when they became co-chair of what was then called the LGBA at the University of Pennsylvania. (It was renamed the QSA the year after they left.)

They are proud to have served on the board of NOLOSE, a fat-positive, queer, feminist organization dedicated to supporting radical fat acceptance and culture. Alex would like to thank the Black women and other amazing BIPOC folk of NOLOSE who raised their consciousness about race and how racism permeates our culture.

Alex is currently a part of We Need Diverse Books and a member of PEN America.

2021 Book

George

Winner of:

  • Lambda Literary Award
  • Stonewall Award (American Library Association)
  • Children’s Choice Book Awards Debut Author
  • Juvenile California Book Award
  • 4 starred reviews: Booklist, Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, and School Library Journal

BE WHO YOU ARE.

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!

Discussion

How to Discuss GEORGE :

(From Alex Gino’s website)

With GEORGE about to release, I am aware that many people are looking for ways to respectfully talk about this book and its author (that’s me!) Here are a few notes:

If you’re talking about the main character, go ahead and call her Melissa. She really likes it when you do. And if it sparks a conversation, great. Don’t worry about spoilers. Melissa uses that name for herself in the first chapter of the book. If you call her George from time to time, that’s understandable too. It is the title* of the book. All the same, calling her Melissa is great practice for calling folks what they want to be called. What’s never OK is using the pronoun he for Melissa. Her pronouns is she. Always.

Sometimes, you might want to talk about the fact that Melissa is transgender and that she’s the only one who knows it. Here are some ways you can say this:

Melissa is a transgender girl who hasn’t shared this part of herself with anyone else.

Melissa is a girl who the world sees as a boy named George.

Melissa is a girl who was assigned male at birth, and who hasn’t told anyone otherwise yet.

You’ll notice that I don’t say “Melissa (or George) identifies as.” I say “Melissa is … who is identified as…” This small difference has a huge effect, both on clarifying that you see Melissa for who she is, and in advancing language that recognizes and honors trans people. Melissa is who she is. The trouble is in how she is seen (and unseen) by the people around her. And please avoid language about how she’s “stuck” or that her body is “wrong”. These are tired tropes that rely on pity and “other” status.