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Gracefully Grayson

by Ami Polonsky

Published by Disney Hyperion, 2014
243 pages
ISBN: 978-142318527Ė7

Ages 10-13

Sixth grader Grayson hides his desire to wear dresses and skirts and other girlsí clothes from everyone but is finding it harder and harder. Grayson has no friends until new student Amelia arrives at their progressive private school. But their wonderful weekend forays to Chicago area thrift stores come to an end after Grayson tries on a skirt; Amelia isnít amused. Then Grayson auditions for The Myth of Persephone at the urging of the wonderful Humanities teacher. Intending to read for the role of Zeus, at the last minute he decides to try out for Persephone. When Grayson gets the part, his aunt is furious, believing the teacher crossed a line (he did call their family first). Graysonís parents died in a car accident when he was four, but the discovery of letters written by his mom are a revelation: As a preschooler, Grayson insisted he was a girl, and Graysonís parents were trying their best to be supportive of Graysonís expression of identity. Grayson begins wearing a pink heart shirt underneath a sweatshirt, and hanging out at play practice with the girls, who love to braid Graysonís hair, all the while coming closer to speaking the truth once more: I am a girl. Threats from two older boys, and the ongoing anger of Graysonís aunt ó phobia cloaked in the guise of concern for Grayson ó are challenges, but Graysonís uncle is trying to do the right thing, while the teacher and the kids in the play take Graysonís identity in stride in a sensitive, emotionally compelling debut novel from Amy Polonsky.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center


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