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Explore Melissa's Story (George) by Alex Gino

Welcome to Book Explorers! It’s like a book club for kids that you can do anytime, anywhere. This month we’re talking about Melissa's Story (George) by Alex Gino.

Join our Kids' Virtual Book Club on August 17 at 4 p.m. or stop by your local library branch in the month of August for a free copy of the book and take-home activity kit (supplies limited).

This book is about a girl named Melissa. When people look at Melissa, they see a boy. But, she knows she’s a girl. The book has the name George on the cover, but that’s not the name she wants to use. The author, Alex Gino, calls the book Melissa's Story because that’s the name the main character wants to use. Even though George is the name on the cover of the book, we can call the book Melissa's Story because then we're using the name the main character Melissa wants us to use.

Melissa wants to play Charlotte in her school’s theater production of Charlotte’s Web. She wants to be a good friend to her best friend Kelly. She wants her mom and her brother to understand her. Most of all, she wants to be who she is. If you like books about school, theater, friends and being who you are, then this might be the book for you!

Check out the book, the eBook, or the audio eBook from any Denver Public Library location. Register for a library card online to begin checking out eBooks right away.

Before You Read

On the back of the book, it says, “Be who you are.” Who are you? What makes you special? What makes you unique? Are there things about you that people can see from the outside? What about things that you only know from the inside?

Discussion Questions

  • On page four, the main character thinks, “My name is Melissa.” Throughout the book, though, she is referred to as George. What was it like for you as a reader to read these mismatched names? What do you think it would be like for Melissa to be called George when she knows her name is Melissa? Has anyone ever gotten your name wrong? How did it feel?
  • In the book, some things about going to school are hard for Melissa, like going to the bathroom and getting a part in the school play. What else might be difficult for her at school? What might make school easier for her? 
  • Melissa makes a big decision when she chooses to perform as Charlotte in the school play. Have you ever felt like you had to be brave in order to be who you are?

Make It: Self-Portraits

What is a self-portrait? It's how you imagine yourself. It can be what you see when you look in a mirror. But it can be other things, too. What makes you, you? 

Artist Alex Benitez shares how to explore your feelings through paint:

Image depicts Amina's Voice book cover with a girl with light brown skin and dark brown hair looking down, smiling slightly

What To Read Next

Resource List for Kids and Families


  • Gender Spectrum - Learn more about gender identities and connect with other people navigating gender.
  • Trans Families - Support and connection for transgender people and their families.

Local Connection


  • It Feels Good to Be Yourself by Teresa Thorn - A straightforward explanation of different gender identities.
  • The Gender Wheel by Maya Christina Gonzalez - A warm, inclusive book about gender identity for all bodies and all genders.

Immediate Support - Get Help When You Need It


Join Book Explorers every month for more book discussions and activities for kindergarten through fifth grade!

Image depicts The Pants Project book cover with a pair of legs in black pants standing in the middle of a row of black skirts

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