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Sharpie Activism

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 10, 2021

In 2015, Alex Gino published George, a children’s novel about a trans girl named Melissa — George was the character’s former name. Since its publication, many of the book’s fans have grown to dislike the title, saying that it elevated the deadname of the character instead of her actual name. Earlier this year, Gino and their publishing company announced that the title of the book is officially changing to Melissa.

No matter how many people have come to know it as George, we felt it was important to fix the title. What we call people matters and we all deserve to be referred to in ways that feel good to us. Calling the book Melissa is a way to respect her, as well as all transgender people. The text inside won’t change, so the name George will still appear to reflect the character’s growth within the novel, but Melissa will be the first name readers will know her by.

But even before that, readers began making their own modifications to the cover with Sharpies, crayons, colored pencils, and even entire dust jackets. On their blog, Gino explained why the book was called George in the first place and shared some of the amazing art that fans made to correct the title.

several book covers altered to change the name of a book from 'George' to 'Melissa's Story'

dust jacket for a book called 'Melissa's Story'

two book covers altered to change the name of a book from 'George' to 'Melissa's Story' or 'Melissa'

dust jacket for a book called 'Melissa'

two book covers altered to change the name of a book from 'George' to 'Melissa's Story'

Melissa will be out in April and is available for preorder now. (thx, caroline)