Books for Younguns, Young Adults and the Young-at-Heart

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Letter Q: Queer Writers' Notes to Their Younger Selves

If you had the opportunity to send him or her one message, what would you want your teenage self to know?

The Letter Q: Queer Writers' Notes to Their Younger Selves edited by Sarah Moon with contributing editor James Lecesne is my pick for Pride Month.

This might seem a somewhat strange review as I'm not going to recommend this book directly to teenagers.  I'm going to recommend it to their teachers.  This collection asks 64 authors and illustrators from across all genres what they would like to be able to tell their teenage selves.  Since all the contributors have had roughly the same professional fate, their letters can become monotonous when read sequentially.  However, as individual essays, they are perfect to pair with works that are being read in and out of the classroom.  After reading Wicked, read Gregory Maguire's message not to give up the things you love as a child just because you get older.  If you have a student who loves Bruce Coville, hand him or her his missive on the advantages of not being normal.  Regardless of the sexual or gender orientation of the reader, this volume can teach enormous amounts of empathy when paired with an existing love and respect for the authors' works.  

Authors represented are: LaShonda Katrice Barnett, Marion Dane Bauer, Lucy Jane Bledsoe, Amy Bloom, Paige Braddock, Melanie Braverman, Nick Burd, Jennifer Camper, Bill Clegg, Howard Cruse, Michael Cunningham, Stacey D'Erasmo, Michael DiMotta, Mayra Lazara Dole, Coleman Domingo, Paula Gilovich, Jewelle Gomez, Brent Hartinger, Lucy Knisley, David Leavitt, James Lecesne, Arthur Levine, David Levithan, Ali Liebegott, Malinda Lo, Gregory Maguire, Armistead Maupin, Richard McCann, Terrence McNally, Erika Moen, Sarah Moon, Martin Moran, Eileen Myles, Michael Nava, Jasika Nicole, Eric Orner, Erik Orrantia, Julie Anne Peters, Christopher Rice, Paul Rudnick, Rakesh Satyal, Brian Selznick, Susan Stinson, Lucy Thurber, Tony Valenzuela, Linda Villarosa, Marc Wolf, Jacqueline Woodson and Doug Wright.

The Letter Q: Queer Writers' Notes to Their Younger Selves is published by Arthur A. Levine Books and retails for $17.99 (hardcover).  I got my advance readers copy through the publisher (although this review was not solicited or otherwise compensated).  You can get yours at Left Bank Books today!

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