A girl born into a boy’s body, 10-year-old Melissa hasn’t yet confided this truth to anyone. Then she decides to try out for the part of Charlotte in the fourth grade’s dramatization of Charlotte’s Web. Melissa thinks the play will be a vehicle to let her mom know that she’s really a girl, not a boy. But she also wants the part of Charlotte because she loves the character. Melissa finally tells her friend Kelly the truth, and after Kelly is cast as Charlotte, she and Melissa conspire to have Melissa play Charlotte in the second performance. By then Melissa has told both her mom and her older brother. Both of them had assumed Melissa was gay, and while Melissa's brother looks at Melissa as if she finally makes sense to him, Melissa's mom is struggling. Alex Gino’s warm debut novel is a pitch-perfect story for younger middle grade. Substantial without a hint of heaviness, the almost lighthearted tone offers a matter-of-fact presentation of Melissa's identity, leaving room for the delightful development of characters and the plot around Kelly and Melissa's plan. The support Melissa receives from Kelly, from her brother, and from the school principal, as well as the range of responses of others, are all realistic. But all of the characters are more than their responses, just as Melissa is more than her gender. She’s Melissa, a girl with many interests finally able to outwardly express an elemental aspect of her identity. ©2015 Cooperative Children's Book Center (Note: This bookwas originally published as George).
CCBC Age Recommendation: Ages 8-11
Age Range: Grades 3-5 (Ages 8-10) Grades 6-8 (Ages 11-13)
Subjects: Acting and Actors Families Friendship LGBTQ+ Persons Transgender People
Diversity subject: LGBTQ Character/Topic
Publish Year: 2015
CCBC Location: Fiction, Gino