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Am I Blue?: Coming Out from the Silence

Overview

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, Lesl?a 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 ...

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Overview

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.

A collection of short stories about homosexuality by such authors as Bruce Coville, M.E. Kerr, William Sleator, and Jane Yolen.

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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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780064405874
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/28/1995
  • Series: A Trophy Bk.
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 452,023
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 760L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.72 (d)

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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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?"

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 25 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 26, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Jennifer Wardrip, aka "The Genius" for TeensReadToo.com

    Written over ten years ago, AM I BLUE? is still as important today as it was then. A short-story collection dealing with GLBT (gay/lesbian/ bisexual/transgender) issues by some of 1995's top authors, this book is a true gem for teens searching for their identity--or just looking for a good read. With stories ranging from contemporary paranormal, to ones set in the 1950's, to one based during the Vietnam War, and even one in another world of Amazon warriors, there's something here for everyone. <BR/><BR/>Stories include: <BR/><BR/>AM I BLUE? by Bruce Coville <BR/>WE MIGHT AS WELL ALL BE STRANGERS by M. E. Kerr <BR/>WINNIE AND TOMMY by Francesca Lia Block <BR/>SLIPPING AWAY by Jacqueline Woodson <BR/>THE HONORARY SHEPHERDS by Gregory Maguire <BR/>RUNNING by Ellen Howard <BR/>THREE MONDAYS IN JULY by James Cross Giblin <BR/>PARENTS' NIGHT by Nancy Garden <BR/>MICHAEL'S LITTLE SISTER by C. S. Adler <BR/>SUPPER by Leslea Newman <BR/>HOLDING by Lois Lowry <BR/>BLOOD SISTER by Jane Yolen <BR/>HANDS by Jonathan London <BR/>50% CHANCE OF LIGHTNING by Cristina Salat <BR/>IN THE TUNNELS by William Sleator <BR/>DANCING BACKWARDS by Marion Dane Bauer <BR/><BR/>It's hard to pick a favorite from this collection, as each story has something different to offer. From allowing everyone in the world to see who is gay, to wondering what it would have been like to have two gay shepherds at the birth of Christ, to manning a booth about gays and lesbians at a school parents' night, each short story has an engaging story to tell. <BR/><BR/>The only thing that would make this book better is to have a part two--another AM I BLUE? published now with some of today's best GLBT authors like Julie Anne Peters, Brent Hartinger, David Levithan, and more.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2006

    Courtesy of Teens Read Too

    Written over ten years ago, AM I BLUE? is still as important today as it was then. A short-story collection dealing with GLBT (gay/lesbian/ bisexual/transgender) issues by some of 1995's top authors, this book is a true gem for teens searching for their identity--or just looking for a good read. With stories ranging from contemporary paranormal, to ones set in the 1950's, to one based during the Vietnam War, and even one in another world of Amazon warriors, there's something here for everyone. Stories include: AM I BLUE? by Bruce Coville WE MIGHT AS WELL ALL BE STRANGERS by M. E. Kerr WINNIE AND TOMMY by Francesca Lia Block SLIPPING AWAY by Jacqueline Woodson THE HONORARY SHEPHERDS by Gregory Maguire RUNNING by Ellen Howard THREE MONDAYS IN JULY by James Cross Giblin PARENTS' NIGHT by Nancy Garden MICHAEL'S LITTLE SISTER by C. S. Adler SUPPER by Leslea Newman HOLDING by Lois Lowry BLOOD SISTER by Jane Yolen HANDS by Jonathan London 50% CHANCE OF LIGHTNING by Cristina Salat IN THE TUNNELS by William Sleator DANCING BACKWARDS by Marion Dane Bauer It's hard to pick a favorite from this collection, as each story has something different to offer. From allowing everyone in the world to see who is gay, to wondering what it would have been like to have two gay shepherds at the birth of Christ, to manning a booth about gays and lesbians at a school parents' night, each short story has an engaging story to tell. The only thing that would make this book better is to have a part two--another AM I BLUE? published in 2006 with some of today's best GLBT authors like Julie Anne Peters, Brent Hartinger, David Levithan, and more.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2005

    This book helped me

    I found this book in the school libary at a time when i was confused. It helped me relize that i was not alone. I started coming out soon after i read it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2004

    Blue (da ba dee)

    Excellent stories. This book intrigued me from the moment I stumbled across it in the young adult section of my local library. I was really touched by each and every story within the book, and have continuously re-read them. Each time presents some new angle, some new theory or fact or emotion that anyone, gay or straight (or not quite sure if they're blue) can relate to, and should relate to. Titles like these make the world a better place.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2004

    Best Book EVER

    When I first got the book it was just something that I picked up off the shelf, I had no idea what I had in store for me when I read the first page where people where saying it was such a good book and I saw the words 'gay or lesbian' and I was sort of taken aback by it. Because someone had asked me what the book was about and I didn't know myself and it wasn't like I could tell them. Well so anyways, this book was awesome, I'm an open-minded person and I love reading about REALISTIC things, I want something that is real. Well the book has so many different stories from gay or lesbian writers and even straight ones that were just looking and writing about it in a totally different light/way! I for one don't see what the big deal is, I mean hey if you¿re gay that's your business but I¿m not going to bash you for it! I feel that I can be more open with a gay person any day! This book was so inspiring! I love this book and I recommend this book to everyone, whether your gay/straight/bi or just curious of just learning about the people! There was just so much understanding in this book! I love it! Thanks guys for writing this book and I look forward to the other ones that you will write in the future!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2004

    Recommended for those that are confused about themselves!

    This book is one of the best that i have read and believe me it has helped both me and my mother. I came out to her a while back and now she has a total different view on GLTB's.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2004

    helpful and good

    I liked this book alot. every teenager should read it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2004

    i only have read 1 story so far. am i blue?

    i am not really sure if i am blue but i loved this book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2004

    I AM NOT BLUE!!!!!!

    This book is really good. I loved the first story best though. Am I Blue? Where all the people were blue. I am not blue but I know people who are. It was funny how the guy that bullied the main character was blue. That was the reason the guy attacked the main character like that.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2003

    Am I Blue?

    This book really shows what it is like on the 'otherside.' If you are interested in learning this is the thing for you. There are many different authors and many different styles of writing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2003

    What a wonderful book!

    I was first given the book by a very close female friend who knew I was gay in a small rural country college. It not only helped me come to terms of my sexuality, but also gave me the strength to stand up to biggots. Later on in life I changed colleges and became my new college's student's union & college LGBT officer. The stories will make you laugh, smile, cry and think... But the best part was the actual story in the book about being blue... If you've read it, you will understand. It's one of those books that you always go back to read again and again and help you navigate through life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2003

    absolutely wonderful

    this book was awesome! i love how the stories in it really make a person think and feel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2003

    Amazing, funny and sweet.

    I loved the book. it's full of wonderful unique short stories. I'm 17 and possibly lesbian but deff. Bi. 'Am I blue?' was my 2nd book on the topic. It's really great some of the stories will have you rolling with laughter on the floor, Some will have you to tears and others will have you smiling all day.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2003

    I am a mebium blue myself heh

    I read checked out this book my sophomore year [i'm now a senior] and read it. i told a few of my friends about the story in it, 'Am I Blue?', and suddenly everyone was asking me about this book. That book actually helped me come out to more people, because they heard I had it and.. figured i was blue? heh. It's a wonderful book and I recommend it to everyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2003

    Am I Blue?

    I am heterosexual and I wish I would have known about a book like this when I was in high school. The information provided by peers, bullies and basically anyone else during a high school experience about homosexuals, and what it is like to be homosexual just isn't accurate. It is uninformed, stereotypical, and hateful. If I could do it over again, perhaps with knowledge of this book, I would have been more accepting and understanding of my homosexual peers. A book like this is a long time coming. My favorite stories were Am I Blue? and Holding (because I love Lois Lowry!). This book provides all aspects possible of gays portrayed in YA literature, whether the main character is gay him/herself, or the main character has friends or parents who are homosexual. The only story I didn't like at all was Blood Sister. I just thought that it was stupid. Adolescence is such a crazy experience, I think that for me it would have been less crazy if I had known about this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2002

    Truthful and Honest

    This was a great book that helped me through a tough time. It is a good book even if you are not homosexual. This book really makes you see past the normal stereo-types that the media and movies have portrayed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2002

    Outstanding Book for any teen to read

    I like the Am I Blue story the best I feel any and all teens should read it to help understand more and open there eyes. Loved it

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2001

    Courtney, 16 yr old girl from WA

    My friend recommended this book to me right after I came out and it helped me to understand what was going on. I would strongly recommend this book to Homosexuals and hetrosexuals alike. It is very educational and helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2001

    FINDING THE DOOR OUT OF THE CLOSET

    This particular book, assisted me in finding out who I really am... and who I really love. I would strongly suggestest this book to hetrosexual persons, so maybe they may gain more exceptence for people like me

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2001

    A wonderful book to come out to

    This is one of the very few fiction books I've read about gay teens. It's not that i don't want to read more, it's just that there aren't any. It's wonderfully put together and I would recommend it to anyone.

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