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#VelshiBannedBookClub: Featuring “Melissa” by Alex Gino

06:25

The first chapter of Alex Gino’s award-winning book, “Melissa”, is entitled ‘Secrets’. The reader becomes entrusted with some of our fourth-grade protagonist’s secrets – like a hidden stash of glossy fashion magazines and then another, bigger secret -- one that’s a little closer to the heart. Melissa, known to the world only as George, is a transgender girl. She reveals this with notably little fanfare, it’s a fact as real as the pages in the very book they’re written. Perhaps your child identifies as transgender and this book will help them feel seen, or perhaps this book will merely help them learn compassion and open-mindedness. Of course, “Melissa” has been subject to relentless bans and challenges since its publication in 2015. This is dangerous for so many reasons, most importantly because so many young people who need access to the book don’t have it – Gino says they “could have used this book when they were a child”.