By Zoey and Kelly Allen Illustrated by Tara O’Brien

Molly’s brother George tells funny jokes and has the best laugh! When they are together, they have all sorts of adventures, whether that’s on the beach, climbing trees or snuggling on the sofa at home. Sometimes other children laugh at George and don’t understand that his long hair and clips are just part of who he is and how he is.  

My Brother George is an uplifting story about daring to be different, but finding our place as part of loving, happy families. Here, Kelly Allen – one of the books authors – tells us about the power of sharing your story. 

When George experienced bullying at school, I felt very lost and alone. I just wanted to fix everything, help him feel safe, and show him it was okay to express himself. He would wear cute clips in his hair and borrow Molly’s school cardigan, which caused a stir in itself. Most of the children would ridicule him, but then one day one of his best friends said he wanted to wear a cardigan too, and they did. 

They went into school, extremely proud, smiling and laughing, but it didn’t make a difference. 

I even tried to encourage other families to shake up society’s ‘gender norms’ and send their children in with alternative drinks bottles or bags. This caused the biggest stir at the school, with one teacher telling me. ‘But blue is for boys and pink is for girls’. 

If this is a teacher’s attitude, what hope do we have of changing the narrative around gender stereotypes and assumptions? 

Regardless of the negativity, many parents felt passionate about it. George continued to be himself, but he continued to be misgendered on a daily basis. It starts to become pretty exhausting because as a parent, you’re trying to help your child in a moment of stress and also educate the other person involved (usually adults). However, as a family, we look after each other, and George has a lot of strength in who he is and what he stands for. 

Myself and his sister always supported him when people would touch his hair or comment, and then one not particular day, he spoke up. We were buying our groceries and the cashier remarked, ‘You are too beautiful to be a boy’. She kept referring to George as ‘her’ and finally he calmly turned to her and said, ‘I think you should get to know someone before you find out their gender’. 

In that moment my heart swelled with pride. We’d supported him to such a point he’d found his voice and decided to use it. It was a brave moment. One I’ll never forget, and one that lead to the book’s existence. 

My Brother George is definitely a book many people (adults and children alike) can relate to. We live in a world full of boxes and if you don’t fit, you’re kind of left to be ridiculed. There seems to be no tolerance for differences, and in a world full of unique identities and presentations, we need to cultivate understanding and open-mindedness. 

My Brother George allows for conversation around identity, gender norms and smashing gender stereotypes. It also gives people a chance to talk about kindness, the importance of being kind and treating other humans with dignity and respect. 

There will be children out there who will relate to George’s experiences, and hopefully his story can give them strength and guidance for dealing with their own battles. 

George never faltered in his identity, and even now (aged 13) he has long hair and rocks it. He is proof that you can be yourself despite society’s sometimes narrow-minded attitude. His story hasn’t always been easy, he’s experienced highs and lows and will no doubt continue to. But he finds strength in his friends and family, but mostly he finds strength within himself. 

There is so much power in sharing your story with the world, and I really hope George’s story gives others their power too. 

Kelly Allen’s new picture book, My Brother George is available in all good bookshops from 1st June. Kelly’s website is effervescentkelly.com and she can be found on Instagram instagram.com/effervescentkelly and Tiktok tiktok.com/effervescentkelly 

A picture book about daring to different. 

About the Authors… 

Kelly and Zoey both live in South Wales, where they co-parent their two children and two dogs. Together they run KelZo Jewellery, a small LGBTQ+ polymer clay jewellery business.  

Kelly Allen is a queer autistic writer, often found with her head buried in a book or getting lost on a long rambling dog walk…  

Zoey Allen is a transgender singer songwriter who loves being creative. She also runs the blog and social channels for Our Transitional Life, an insight into the life of transgender woman and her family, challenging the misconceptions of society.  

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