Review by Becky Essery, Intermediate school teacher
Gracefully Grayson
Polonsky, Ami. (2016). Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
A novel about identity, self-esteem, and friendship shines with the strength of a young person's spirit and the enduring power of acceptance.

Many of us will never know the feeling of being born in the wrong body. Gracefully Grayson is a book that explains with humour and honesty what it feels like, from the perspective of Grayson, who is a trans girl in a boy’s body. 

The details of Grayson’s journey and those she shares it with are very real and the book deals head on with societal prejudice both from Grayson’s family and friends from peers at school in a more direct and physical form. 

A strength of this story is that it is simple yet complex at the same time and this does justice to the trans experience, which is complicated solely by society’s reaction. The key message of the book is we all deserve to be seen for who we really are, and if that message is universally agree upon, can’t more people be like Grayson’s uplifter - her teacher, Mr Finn?

It can often take just one special person to believe in us and give us the courage to take the next step. Following Grayson’s story while she courageously took these steps was a pleasure.  You are left with the feeling that being true to who you are is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, even if others set out to thwart you along the way. There are allies everywhere and once you find them, they can change your life.

This was a real page turner, set a few hours aside as you’ll read it in one go! I was left with a firm resolve to help others who need an ally.

Disclaimer: Please note these reviews are not intended as endorsements or recommendations from the Mental Health Foundation. This feature introduces resources that may be useful for individuals with an interest in bullying prevention, mental health and wellbeing topics.

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