I truly enjoyed the perspective of this novel because it helped me gain insight into the thoughts and feelings of a trans-gendered middle grade student. Alex Gino's characters come to life and the protagonist (George/Melissa) has a strong voice. I have a better understanding of some trans-gender issues among the tweens after reading this novel. I now have a more questions to ask and it got me thinking about equity and inclusion in schools.
I also reflected back on my teaching and realized that I often grouped my students by gender out of convenience. I had no idea that I might be making a student uncomfortable. After reading this novel and reading the thoughts of George/Melissa I will now group my students differently to be more inclusive.
I sensed that this might be an honest depiction of what a trans-gendered person might feel. So I asked my friend-a parent of a newly trans-gendered 8 year old- if she and her daughter would read the book. Her feedback was all positive. She and her mom decided to buy a copy of the book for their school library and as a gift for a relative. They also thought that the book would be okay to read to a class to create more awareness and understanding of some transgender themes.
It is a warm and respectful book that shows a family's acceptance of their daughter and I think it is a great way to introduce and start the conversations of equity and inclusion in middle grade classrooms.