By Amy Wilkinson
Updated August 28, 2015 at 06:52 PM EDT

A transgender tale for readers too young to peruse a Vanity Fair profile or watch an E! reality series, this debut follows a tenderhearted fourth grader named George, who was born a boy but knows she is a girl—even if no one else does. When auditions for a class production of Charlotte’s Web are announced, George decides to try out for the role of the female arachnid, hoping her performance will convey about her gender identity what she has been unable to vocalize. Unfortunately, she’s met with resistance from both trusted adults and schoolyard bullies until her best friend, Kelly, encourages her to persevere.

George is a timely book for parents to share and discuss with their children, whether dealing with similar issues or simply to foster understanding. Though recommended for readers ages 9–12, preteens might find that their own experiences have surpassed prepubescent George’s. Hopefully that only encourages publishers to turn this thoughtful novel into a very necessary series. B+