George by Alex Gino (Scholastic; Scholastic Inc. Audio; OverDrive Sample) is one of IndieBound’s Autumn ’15 “Inspired Recommendations for Kids from Indie Booksellers” and was part of The New York Times story on transgendered children’s books. Trade reviews are glowing, using words such as “inspiring” “radiant” and “required purchase.”
Today’s NPR’s Morning Edition joined the bandwagon in a wide ranging story that includes how Scholastic is marketing George as a book for everyone.
In a seemingly odd comparison, Scholastic sees the marketing strategy along the same lines as their approach to The Hunger Games. Editorial director David Levithan told NPR, “It’s kind of crazy to remember now, but that book was initially seen as a potentially difficult sell. After all, it’s about kids killing each other.”
But like Suzanne Collins’s breakout, Levithan knew that readers would relate to the story once they gave it a chance, and believed they just needed to get George in front of people who would hand-sell it. Scholastic sent it to 10,000 teachers and librarians and Gino appeared at major book fairs to get booksellers behind it.
That strategy is in keeping with the author’s goals. “I want it to be a book that someone passes to someone and says, ‘You have to.’ ” Gino told Kirkus.