Author: Becky Albertalli
Title: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Narrator: Michael Crouch
Publication Info: Harper Audio, 2015
Simon is a closeted gay teenager living in the Atlanta suburbs and finding himself falling in love for the first time. The problem is that the boy he loves he only knows through anonymous email exchanges. Over the course of this novel, both Simon and “Blue” end up coming out and eventually meeting in real life. But what’s great about this novel is that it explores the changes and complications of life in Simon’s circle of friends and family. The book has a lot of heart, romance, and humor.
Every Day by David Levithan and George by Alex Gino
Author: Alex Gino
Narrator: Jamie Clayton
Publication Info: Scholastic Audio (2015)
This novel tells the story of George, a fourth-grader coming to terms with identifying as a girl when presenting as a boy. It’s set against a class performance of Charlotte’s Web in which George desperately wants to portray Charlotte. There are a lot of stock characters in the novel, including the school bully, and the former friend who now hangs with the bully. And there’s a temporary falling out between George and her best friend Kelly, as much over Kelly getting cast in the staring role as George outing herself as transgender. But the novel shows even how people with good intentions can hurt – from George’s mother who doesn’t want George to put herself at risk of discrimination, to George’s older brother who was more ready to accept a gay sibling, and George’s teacher who hides behind the idea of fairly parceling out roles in the play to boys and girls. At the end of the novel, George and Kelly get to enjoy a perfect day out with George presenting as a girl for the first time, which is a delightful outcome for the fictional character, and one I hope real life transgender children get to enjoy.
“My point is, it takes a special person to cry over a book. It shows compassion as well as imagination…Don’t ever lose that.”
“The play will begin at six sharp. Parents and family, I hope you’ll stay for the PTA meeting that will follow.” A few parents coughed in response. George knew that coughing was the adult equivalent of groaning.”
Recommended books: Every Day by David Levithan, Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, and Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White