Melissa (formerly published as George)
This slim volume holds a story of huge courage that is a timely addition to the growing awareness of transgender identification in children and young adults.
To the world around her, George is a boy. Her parents, teachers and classmates all know her as a boy. So when the school puts on a production of Charlotte's Web, it seems obvious that George would be reading for the part of Wilbur.
But George longs to be Charlotte, the wise and inspiring spider heroine of E. B. White's classic story. George finds strength in Charlotte's character, which gives her the courage to step out of the shadows and show the world who she really is.
This short, sweet story of embracing your true self and trusting those around you is a light read for such a heavy topic. Gino keeps the story simple and the voice friendly.
George is a relatable character to any child struggling with doubt, a lack of confidence and finding it hard to fit in. It also speaks directly to those dealing with the issues around gender identity. This is a topic that doesn't currently appear in much fiction for young people, but will certainly become more prevalent in society and should be reflected in diverse books like this.