The Thing About Georgie by Lisa Graff. (Grades 4-6.)
The thing about Georgie is that he's a dwarf. The thing about Georgie's mom is that she's having a baby - a baby that will eventually be taller than him. The thing about Georgie's best friend Andy is that he's making a new best friend and leaving Georgie out. And the thing about the meanest girl in Georgie's class is that she's going to be Georgie's partner for their history project. Could fourth grade get any worse??
The thing about The Thing About Georgie is that even though the main character has dwarfism, the story's about a fourth grade boy who is facing changes in his family and his friends. Of course, his dwarfism affects his life in some ways, but this isn't a story about a boy dealing with dwarfism. It's a story about a boy who's dealing with changes happening in his life and learning that things will still be okay. And this boy happens to have dwarfism.
Besides the fact that this is a character with a disability in a book that's about more than dealing with disability, I loved that all the supporting characters were well-developed. The reader gets a real sense of Andy's Italian family and Georgie's supportive, musical parents. I also felt like Georgie's relationship with Jeanie the Meanie happened organically. She's definitely an oddball, but I believed everything that happened with them. Georgie himself is a great character - imperfect, but likeable.
Hand this one to fans of realistic fiction and school stories. This first novel of Lisa Graff's isn't quite as spot-on as Andrew Clements, but I think it will appeal to his many fans.
Read more reviews at Shelf Elf, Big A little a, MotherReader, and kidsreads.com. Read interviews with Lisa Graff at Bildungsroman, Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, The Longstockings, Miss Erin, Fuse #8, Cynsations, and MotherReader (whew!). Lisa blogs with her writing group at The Longstockings.