If you’ve been near a school in recent decades, you are likely familiar with the Scholastic publishing brand. From Harry Potter to Pete the Cat, the Scholastic books catalogue has popularized countless books and become an influential driving force in education in the United States.
What you may not have heard is that Scholastic is selling what could be its most controversial and problematic book yet. Called George, the children’s book tells about a fourth grade boy who thinks he is a girl.
“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,” says the book promotional page.
The Scholastic website goes on to say, “George thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that 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.”
George was authored by a transgendered person, Alex Gino, who on Twitter, is a self-described “Fat queer trans activist.” The book is mass-marketed to children as young as 8 years old and is categorized as the following interest areas on the Scholastic site: “Middle School, LGBTQ Experiences.”
New York Times book reviewer Tim Federle wasted no time to praise the book.
“School librarians will run to you at conferences, thanking you for writing a story that speaks to students like George,” he said.
Federle also said, “George may be the most right-now book imaginable. How do you talk to children about Caitlyn Jenner? Give them George (and watch ‘I Am Cait’ together),” he said. “Also, trust that when you tell a contemporary child that some people are born into a body they don’t identify with, most will blink, say, ‘OK, cool,’ and ask what’s for dinner.”
Well, this book is very “right now.” As in, what’s wrong with us right now. What we have in America is a crisis of sexuality on an epic scale. A book like this, just 20 years ago, would have been run out of town on a rail. Today, books like these are readily available to any teachers and schools.
As the Body of Jesus Christ, we must not panic about this. We must see it as our mission field, as we speak with confidence and kindness. Yes, parents should warn their schools against this book. Taking it a step further, we don’t just react to works like George. We point to better options to read, and classic books, like C.S. Lewis’ Narnia books.
Even more, as Christian grown-ups, we must take every opportunity to speak into the lives of boys and girls, young men and women who are growing up in a post-sexual revolution age. Take time to affirm boyhood and masculine attributes in the boys you know; likewise, affirm femininity with young ladies.
As Walker Moore said, it is to be expected that boys and girls each will occasionally reflect masculine and feminine attributes. This does not mean a boy is a girl if he feels caring. No, in the Christian worldview, we know what gives us our sexual identity is our God-given sexuality, our biology.
So when a book like George comes along, the Church more than anyone should understand human sexuality and be able to speak order into chaos. We should be able to say to boys like “George” that, no matter how you may feel, God made you a boy, and through Jesus Christ, can make you into a godly man. And God doesn’t make mistakes.