Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Parrotfish by Ellen Wittlinger

(image via goodreads.com)

Wittlinger, Ellen. Parrotfish. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2007. Print.

  •       Finalist, Lambda Literary Awards, 2008
  •       NYPL Books for the Teen Age list, 2008
  •       Nominated: ALA Stonewall Awards, 2008
  •       Advocate Top Picks for Trans YA Fiction
  •       ALA Rainbow List, 2008
  •        Nominated: Cybils, 2007


Grady, a high school junior, begins to live his life openly as a transgender boy, and deals with the response of his friends, family, and community.

What does it mean to be a transgender teen? To go through puberty and feel like your body is changing, but not in the way you had hoped? To have to explain to everyone else what it means to be transgender when you are figuring it out yourself?

Grady has cut his hair, has a wardrobe of boy's clothes from the thrift store, and has been binding his chest with Ace bandages. Now he's ready to take the next step - asking his friends, family, and school to stop thinking of him as Angela and start calling him Grady. While his dad has no issue with the change, not everyone takes the news as well. His principal thinks it's a phase and won't change his records, his mom is avoiding him, and his best friend and her new mean girl clique are openly calling him a pervert and trying to make his life hell. 

Despite the obstacles, Grady is feeling good about his decision to be himself. What does the future hold for Grady?

*Be sure to check out the back of the book for transgender resources.

(video by pritchwitt at youtube.com)

Teen Perspective
“[It’s my favorite book] because I don't think there are enough books about transgendered people in circulation.” – Liam, 17.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Misfits by James Howe

(image via goodreads.com)

Howe, James. The Misfits. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001. Print.

  •          ALA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults
Four outcast friends run for student council as the No Name Party as a protest against bullying in school.

Loser. Fatty. Dweeb. Geek. Fag. What names have you been called?

Middle school is tough, especially when you aren’t popular. Bobby Goodspeed lives in a trailer with his dad, and even though he is only 12, works as a tie salesman at the local department store to make ends meet. Addie, Joe, and Skeezie have been his best friends as long as he can remember. Even though there are only four of them, they call themselves the Gang of Five – it sounds cooler. They are used to being outcasts, but when student council elections come around, Addie decides that it’s time for a change. In order to start a third party, they have to prove that they are representing a group of students that isn’t covered by Democrats or Republicans. Bobby thinks of the names he gets called every day for being fat – Lardo, Fatass, Dough Boy. The others quickly join in. Joe’s been called Faggot, Sissy,Twinkle Toes, Fairy; Skeezie gets Retard and Slimeball; Addie is Beanpole, Know-it-all, Big Mouth. Combined with the usual Loser, Geek, Dweeb, and Nerd, they fill a page in no time. This is their angle. They will be the No Name Party. Will the rest of the school stand behind their push to eliminate name calling and bullying?

“Sticks and stones may break our bones, but names will break our spirit.” (142)