Am I Blue?: Coming Out from the Silence

Am I Blue?: Coming Out from the Silence

by Marion Dane Bauer, Beck Underwood, Beck Underwood

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Original stories by C. S. Adler, Marion Dane Bauer, Francesca Lia Block, Bruce Coville, Nancy Garden, James Cross Giblin, Ellen Howard, M. E. Kerr, Jonathan London, Lois Lowry, Gregory Maguire, Lesléa Newman, Cristina Salat, William Sleator, Jacqueline Woodson, and Jane Yolen

Each of these stories is original, each is by a noted author for young adults, and


Original stories by C. S. Adler, Marion Dane Bauer, Francesca Lia Block, Bruce Coville, Nancy Garden, James Cross Giblin, Ellen Howard, M. E. Kerr, Jonathan London, Lois Lowry, Gregory Maguire, Lesléa Newman, Cristina Salat, William Sleator, Jacqueline Woodson, and Jane Yolen

Each of these stories is original, each is by a noted author for young adults, and each honestly portrays its subject and theme—growing up gay or lesbian, or with gay or lesbian parents or friends.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
Sixteen stories written by some of the most well known young adult novelists have been collected in this book by award-winning author Bauer. She opens with humor in the title story by Coville, which is about a fairy godfather who comes to grant three wishes to a sexually searching adolescent. Sleator's compelling futuristic story "In the Tunnels" describes a war-torn world where survivors live underground in a series of tunnels with little privacy. The story focuses on an adolescent boy who creates a tunnel and time to comfort and be comforted by his lover. There's futility balanced by the beauty of language in Block's "Winnie and Tommy" in which a young woman comes to accept the statement of her best friend and boyfriend's coming out. There is an enormous range of genre, tone, vantagepoint, situation, and voice within the book.
The ALAN Review - Michaeline Chance-Reay
Marion Dane Bauer has put together sixteen vignettes about gay adolescent experiences. Some are humorous and all are well written, compassionate, and insightful. She writes from personal experience, blending fact and fiction to illustrate how the self-discovery process of adolescence brings about an awareness of sexual orientation. Other well known contributors are Lois Lowry, William Sleator, and M. E. Kerr. Each piece is followed by the author's notes on what inspired the story. My favorite is Nancy Garden's "Parents' Night" because it shows the varied reactions to self-disclosure or coming out. Each selection is concise and meaningful and therefore ideal for class discussion. The collection would be appropriate for parents, educators, and students in grades eight through college.
Library Journal
This collection of 16 original short stories by as many young adult authors won the 1995 ALA Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Task Force (GLBTF) book award for literature. The diverse settings, characters, and styles will entertain a wide range of the readers.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
A Trophy Bk.
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.72(d)
760L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

Am I Blue?

By Bruce Coville

It started the day Butch Carrigan decided I was interested in jumping his bones.

"You little fruit," he snarled. "I'll teach you to look at me!"

A moment or two later he had given me my lesson.

I was still lying facedown in the puddle into which Butch had slammed me as the culminating exercise of my learning experience when I heard a clear voice exclaim, "Oh, my dear! That was nasty. Are you all right, Vince?"

Turning my head to my left, I saw a pair of brown Docksiders, topped by khaki pants. Given the muddy condition of the sidewalks, pants and shoes were both ridiculously clean.

I rolled onto my side and looked up. The loafers belonged to a tall, slender man. He had dark hair, a neat mustache, and a sweater slung over his shoulders. He was kind of handsome—almost pretty. He wore a gold ring in his left ear. He looked to be about thirty.

"Who are you?" I asked suspiciously.

"Your fairy godfather. My name is Melvin. Come on, stand up and let's see if we can't do something with you."

"Are you making fun of me?" I asked. After Butch's last attack I had had about enough of people calling me a fruit for one day.

"Moi?" cried the man, arching his eyebrows and laying a hand on his chest. "Listen, honey, I have nothing but sympathy for you. I had to deal with my share of troglodytes when I was your age, and I know it's no fun. I'm here to help."

"What the hell are you talking about?"

"I told you, I'm your fairy godfather."

He waited for me to say something, but I just sat in the puddle, glaring at him. (It wasuncomfortable, but I was already soaked right through my undershorts, so it didn't make that much difference.)

"You know," he said encouragingly. "Like in 'Cinderella'?"

"Go away and let me suffer in peace," I growled, splashing muddy water at him.

He flinched and frowned, but it was a reflex action; the water that struck his pants vanished without a trace.

I blinked, and splashed at him again, this time spattering a double handful of dirty water across his legs.

"Are you angry or just making a fashion statement?" he asked.

I felt a little chill. No spot of mud nor mark of moisture could be seen on the perfectly pressed khakis. "How did you do that?" I asked.

He just smiled and said, "Do you want your three wishes or not, Vincent?"

I climbed out of the puddle. "What's going on here?" I asked.

He made a tsking sound. "I think it's pretty obvious," he said, rolling his eyes. "Come on, let's go get a cup of coffee and talk. All your questions will be answered in good time."

The first question I thought of was "How much trouble is it going to give me to be seen with this guy?" With Butch and his crowd already calling me "faggot" and "fruit," walking around with a guy who moved the way Melvin did wasn't going to do anything to improve the situation.

The first question I actually asked was "Do you have to walk like that?"

"Like what?"

"You know," I said, blushing a little. "So swishy."

Melvin stopped. "Honey, I gave my life to be able to walk like this. Don't you dare try to stop me now."

"Don't call me honey!" I snapped.

He sighed and rolled his eyes toward the sky. "I can't say you didn't warn me," he said, clearly not speaking to me.

We went to a little cafe on Morton Street called Pete's. It's mostly frequented by kids from the university, but some of the high school kids hang out there as well, especially kids from the theater group.

"Not bad," said Melvin as we entered. "Brings back memories."

Things were slow, and we found a corner table where we could talk in private.

"Okay," I said, "what's going on?"

I won't relate the first part of the conversation, because you've probably read a lot of things like it before. I couldn't believe what he was saying was real, so I kept trying to figure out what this was really about—Candid Camera, an elaborate practical joke, that kind of thing. But after he instantly dried my puddle-soaked pants by snapping his fingers, I had to accept it: Whether or not he was actually my fairy godfather, this guy was doing real magic left and right.

"Okay, if you're real," I said, lifting my coffee (which had changed from plain coffee to Swiss double mocha while I was drinking it), "then tell me how come I never heard of fairy godfathers before."

"Because I'm the first."

"Care to explain that?"

"Certainly. Once you buy the farm, you get some choices on the other side. What kind of choices depends on the usual stuff—how good you've been and so on. Well, I was going up and not down, and it was pretty much expected that I would just opt to be an angel; tracking system, you know. But I said I didn't want to be anyone's guardian angel, I wanted to be a fairy godfather."

He took a sip of coffee and rolled his eyes. "Let me tell you, that caused a hullaballoo! But I said people had been calling me a fairy all my life, and now that I was dead, that was what I wanted to be. Then I told them that if they didn't let me be a fairy godfather, I was going to bring charges of sexism against them. So they let me in. You're my first case."

"Does that have any significance?" I asked nervously.

"What do you mean?"

"Me being your first case. Does that mean I'm gay?"

Meet the Author

Marion Dane Bauer was awarded a Newbery Honor in 1987 for her book On My Honor. She has been publishing award-winning books since 1976, including Rain of Fire, which received the 1984 Jane Addams Children's Book Award, and the 1993 ALA Notable Children's Book What's Your Story? A Young Person's Guide to Writing Fiction.

She conceived of the idea and gathered the authors for this collection out of a conviction that those who write for young people have a responsibility, whenever possible, to speak out on subjects such as homosexuality that society attempts to shroud in silence.

Ms. Bauer lives in Minneapolis with her partner, Ann Goddard.

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