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Dan Versus Nature
Don Calame
The Compassionate Instinct: The Science of Human Goodness
Jason Marsh, Jeremy Adam Smith, Dacher Keltner
Progress: 25/316 pages
George - Alex Gino

"George" is the simple story of a child named George who wants to play Charlotte in "Charlotte's Web" and the more complicated story of a transgender child protagonist and the expectations and identity struggles that come with it. The author presents their case with both sincerity and affection, albeit some moments of didactic exposition that sound more like they came from a pamphlet than actual people. Classroom bully is a hateful jerk to everyone, best friend is endlessly understanding even when George takes her frustration out on her, mother is understanding enough not to villianize but not understanding enough to remove conflict, wash, rinse, repeat.


Let's be honest, these are untested waters and it's a wonderful thing that "George" is there to be a talking point for a conversation that should be broached. However, this falls under the struggles of many trailblazers in that it feels more like an issue book rather than a full fledged story with characters that happen to have an issue in it. It clocks in at not even two hundred pages so I think the author decided they would prioritize the important talking points but neglected a lot of details that would better compliment a multifaceted issue with characters that had more to them.


For a different comprehensive children's book of transgender subject matter I would go with "I am Jazz" before "George." It comes from a real transgender child whose experience is not universal, but genuine in its presentation.