DO NOT EVER BE A BABYSITTER
EXPLOSION AT THE POEM FACTORY
I had a great time at the American Library Association's midwinter conference in Boston this year. I saw old friends and new, talked to lots of editors and librarians and authors, and scoped out all the amazing books that are soon-to-be published. Now, not a lot of authors come to Midwinter, but luckily, I even got to meet three of my very cool clients for the very first time! [*waves to Emilie Boon, Raul the Third and Stephanie Oakes* -- Love you, gang!]
The most exciting part of Midwinter for me is the ALA Youth Media Awards announcements. This is like the Kids Book Oscars. I have been obsessed with the ALA awards (the most famous of which are the Newbery and Caldecott) since I was a kid; I remember loving a certain homework assignment where we had a poster on which we had to check off a certain number of Newbery books, because I smoked everyone else in my class. ["Oh, really Johnny? You only read five? AMATEUR!"] Now, I am happily part of the nerdy book crew that gets to the convention center at 6:30 am to be in the front of the line. Even in years where I know for a fact that I have nothing that is eligible for one of these awards, just being in the room where they are announced is a positively electrifying experience. [Well, if you are me, it's kind of a damp experience because you are crying most of the time from over-excitement, but hey. I mean, I love these books! I have friends who wrote and edited and repped these books! OF COURSE I'M CRYING! DON'T JUDGE ME!]
ANYWAY, I can now confirm that if you are an agent who has clients who win awards, it's EVEN MORE exciting.
Warmest congratulations to my authors Alex Gino, Stephanie Oakes and Don Brown. Now go buy these books, they are phenomenal -- and it's not just me saying it! THANK YOU, LIBRARIANS!
GEORGE is Alex Gino's debut middle grade novel. People are saying that it's "this year's WONDER" - and if they mean "a middle grade book that will be meaningful to a wide variety of readers" - well, I have to agree!
GEORGE is about a girl whom the world sees as a boy. When her class puts on a play of CHARLOTTE'S WEB, George really really really wants to play Charlotte. But nobody will let her audition because they think she is a boy. So she and her best friend figure out an audacious plan to let her come into her own, and step into the spotlight.
GEORGE is not a "transgender book" -- it's a book for EVERYONE. Everyone who has ever felt like they had to hide part of themselves, who has ever been bullied or been a bully, who has ever felt "weird" or alone... or, you know, everyone who is human. If you have empathy: You'll love GEORGE! (And if you DON'T have empathy: you need GEORGE.)
I do not say this lightly: This is a book that can change hearts and will save lives.
Some of the praise for GEORGE so far:
PW Starred Review: "Profound, moving, and—as Charlotte would say—radiant"
Kirkus Starred Review: "[D]eeply moving in its simplicity and joy"
SLJ Starred Review: "A required purchase for any collection that serves a middle grade population."
Booklist Starred Review: "[A] sensitive, insightful portrayal of a transgender child coming to terms with gender identity. George is an appealing, thoroughly believable character."
IndieNext Pick: "This is not just a story about a transgender child, but also a story for any child, teen, or adult who has ever felt uncomfortable in their own skin or out of place in this world. I'm sure anyone who has read and been moved by George would agree: Reading this breathtaking debut should be a requirement for living."
So. Do I think you should buy this book? HECK YES I DO. Buy two. Buy a classroom set. Buy it as a gift. Read it with your book club - kids OR adult. BUY IT so that the publisher will know that there is a MARKET for diverse books, including those by trans authors and with trans characters. Seriously, we can talk about "wanting Diverse Books" all day long - but the proof is in the pudding. If the books don't sell well, publishers are less likely to take a chance on more. SO BUY IT! Can't buy it? Request it from your LIBRARY! Yayyyy libraries! Libraries are the best. However you do it: Thanks for reading! I hope this book touches you as deeply as it has me.
GOG*GIVEAWAY INFO deleted 8/26*
Jenn is an...
Opinionated Agent and Children's Bookseller.
Oh the Places I'll Be
August 9-12: SCBWI-LA
September 28-29: SCBWI Houston, TX
December 6-8: Big Sur Children's Writer's Workshop, Big Sur CA