What you are about to read is the very first paragraph of an uncorrected proof of a book that is scheduled for publication on August 25, 2015. Let’s see if you find anything strange about that paragraph:
George pulled a silver house key out of the smallest pocket of a large red backpack. Mom had sewn the key in so that it wouldn’t get lost, but the yarn wasn’t quite long enough to reach the keyhole if the bag rested on the ground. Instead, George had to steady herself awkwardly on one foot while the backpack rested on her other knee. She wiggled the key until it clicked into place.
It wasn’t really too difficult to catch, was it? Somebody named George was referred to as “herself,” “her,” and “she.”
The publisher of this book is Scholastic Press. As you probably already know, the target audience for Scholastic Press is young people; especially young people involved in public education.
The person who allowed me to borrow a copy of this book is both a public school teacher and a Christian sister. From both of these perspectives, she is appalled that anybody would publish anything like George for people of any age to read. I join with her in being appalled at the specific agenda and target audience for this book.
Enclosed with the book was a letter from The Editors at Scholastic Reading Club. I will reproduce below (without comment) almost all of the letter. The only information I am not including is the place to provide feedback and the thanks from the editors to those who have a “…commitment to getting books into your students’ hands…”
Please read the bulk of the letter very carefully. You will find both the message the book is sending and the target age group to whom it is being sent.
Dear Reading Club Teacher,
Our commitment at Scholastic Reading Club is to bring you books that open the world to you and your students–to help them find themselves and others in literature.
George by Alex Gino is scheduled for publication on August 25, 2015. It is s special novel starring an eight-year-old girl named Melissa, who was born a boy named George.
George, the middle grade novel, just like George, the character, faces head-on a complex subject that is very much in public discourse. We wanted you to have a chance to read it prior to publication.
Everyone who’s read George has been talking about it, in both the Scholastic offices and in the publishing community. Librarians and bookstores have said that there is a place for George on their shelves, and we would like to invite you to join the conversation. What do you think of George, and do you see a place for it in your classroom?
I had planned to write a letter to Scholastic Press, but could not find a physical address for them. I did find a place on their website where I could–and did–express my opinion about this book. If you would like to do the same, I sent my message to this location: http://scholastic.custhelp.com/app/ask
It is my opinion that the only appropriate place for a book of this nature is in the trashcan. What do you think?
Book cover photo via Scholastic Book Club