Tuesday, June 2, 2015

What I'm Reading: Gracefully Grayson Book Review

What if... Who you were on the inside was the opposite of who you were on the outside?

What if... Your secret was getting too heavy?

What would your story be?

Would you have the courage to be you?

It's been a while since I've posted about "What I'm Reading." I haven't stopped reading, just been pretty busy and haven't gotten around to writing book reviews for all of my favorites (there are so many).

Gracefully Grayson is one of those books that is hard to sum up in one word. If I had to, I suppose it would be COMPELLING.. No, EXHILARATING.. WaitBRAVE! After all, that's what it takes to live the life you want. I told you it wasn't going to be easy. 

This small miracle of a book is a coming of age tale about Grayson Sender, a sixth grader who grasps at your heart strings from the very first chapter.  The ups and downs, ins and outs of how "he"comes to know the girl on the inside. This book walks you through the discovery of self at one of the most crucial stages in life, middle school. Almost instantly, you feel as though you are seeing life through Grayson's eyes, but most of all through his soul.

Meet Ami Polonsky, debut author of this moving novel about identity, self esteem and friendship. Ami was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, where she now lives with her two children and husband. As a middle school teacher, she laid the groundwork for all of her characters from all of the books she'd read to her students over the years. The seeds were planted, like most seeds that have been nourished and cared for, there will be a harvest.

This story is tenderly and courageously told. Written simply and beautifully enough for middle school aged children to understand, yet deeply and gripping enough for any adult to grasp. Providing a different view into the life, mind, body and spirit of a person trapped by "gender." A deeper understanding of how one comes to know themselves, when the world so plainly sees something else. As humans we can all relate to feeling misunderstood, but perhaps none so deeply as those who feel that they were born into the wrong body. 

If ever there were a time for this book to come to harvest it was now. With all of the controversy surrounding public figures like Caitlyn Jenner coming forward and being honest about identity struggles, or the success and acknowledgement of television shows like Transparent on a major cable network like Showtime. Now is the time to have these conversations and create more awareness. Shame can only survive in the dark, only by bringing light to these subjects can we encourage acceptance and understanding instead of tolerance.

"Shame cannot survive being spoken... And being met with empathy."

Ami is becoming a part of that awareness by providing school presentations geared toward children ages 10-14 years old in which she facilitates a classroom discussion about her book and what is called Gender 101, discussing "What is gender, and how does the outside world shape our gender expression?" For more information about Ami Polonsky, her book, or to schedule a school presentation  and book signing you can visit her site HERE, or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

Essentially yours,


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