10 Random Things About George by Alex Gino (Read with Pride Spotlight)

Summary from Goodreads

“When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she’s not a boy. She knows she’s a girl.

George thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her (4th grade) teacher announces their class play is going to be “Charlotte’s Web.” George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can’t even try out for the part …because she’s a boy.

With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte – but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.”

*Published by Scholastic*

 

10 Random Things About George by Alex Gino

1. I started writing GEORGE in 2004, but it wasn’t done and published until eleven years later, in 2015. Since main character Melissa is only ten years old, it took me longer to write her story than it took her to live it!

2. The moment in the book most drawn from my life is when Melissa cries in school over the death in E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web. I cried too, and the way I remember it, I was the only kid in class who did. It was one of my first major experiences with feeling different.

3. There were two bullies in my elementary school class, and one of them threw a pear at my stomach in second grade. The chapter “Some Jerk” comes from how I imagine that scene could have played out if it had been a fist instead.

4. The original reason best friend Kelly takes photographs is that in an earlier draft, she was an aspiring photographer who gave up the chance to be onstage in order to take pictures of Melissa up there. Once I realized there could be two performances, and also that I needed Kelly on stage to hold the ladder steady, I dropped that plotline, but Kelly’s love of photography remains peppered throughout the book.

5. I edit a lot when I write. I print out a copy of my manuscript, make handwritten notes, enter them into the computer file, and print it out again. Who knows how many versions of George ever existed, but when I was cleaning up one day, I threw out eleven and kept another eight.

6. While working on George, I hated the first page for years, no matter how much I worked on it. Once my agent and I realized we needed to flip chapters one and two, the problem disappeared.

7. George lost some minor characters along the way, including a school nurse that I added to give Melissa a supportive adult she could talk to, but the idea of a five-day-a-week school nurse is now sadly unrealistic, and that character morphed into Principal Maldonado. Her car had a great license plate though: B FREE.

8. I didn’t have a performing arts childhood, with two minor exceptions: In third grade, I was a French narrator in Les Trois Ours, (The Three Bears). We didn’t speak French, and neither did our parents, but my teacher did, so that’s what we did. And I played French horn in the band for the 8th grade performance of Oklahoma.

9. I don’t listen to music when I’m writing. I work best when it’s quiet. I don’t focus well when there’s someone else in the room. I don’t even like when there’s someone else in the house. I like to know I won’t be interrupted.

10. George takes place in a fictional town north of New York City, but some people have told me that they think it’s New Paltz, and I kind of like that idea. So the story now takes place in a fictional New Paltz.

About the Author

Alex Gino loves glitter, ice cream, gardening, awe-ful puns, and stories that reflect the diversity and complexity of being alive. They would take a quiet coffee date with a friend over a loud and crowded party any day.

Born and raised on Staten Island, NY, Alex has lived in Philadelphia, PA; Brooklyn, NY; Astoria (Queens), NY; Northampton, MA; and Oakland, CA. In April 2016, they put their books and furniture in storage and have been driving around the country in a motorhome.

Their work-in-progess is a middle grade novel about baby sisters, first crushes, Deafness, Blackness, and learning about your own privilege. While it has been and continues to be a challenge, Alex believes young people need tools to talk about and reflect on real issues in our world.

Alex is a proud member of We Need Diverse Books. All opinions on this site are their own.

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