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

( 4 )


Life-saving letters from a glittering wishlist of top authors.

If you received a letter from your older self, what do you think it would say? What do you wish it would say?

That the boy you were crushing on in History turns out to be gay too, and that you become boyfriends in college? That the bully who is making your life miserable will one day become so insignificant that you won't remember his name until ...

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The Letter Q

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Life-saving letters from a glittering wishlist of top authors.

If you received a letter from your older self, what do you think it would say? What do you wish it would say?

That the boy you were crushing on in History turns out to be gay too, and that you become boyfriends in college? That the bully who is making your life miserable will one day become so insignificant that you won't remember his name until he shows up at your book signing?

In this anthology, sixty-three award-winning authors such as Michael Cunningham, Amy Bloom, Jacqueline Woodson, Gregory Maguire, David Levithan, and Armistead Maupin make imaginative journeys into their pasts, telling their younger selves what they would have liked to know then about their lives as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgendered people. Through stories, in pictures, with bracing honesty, these are words of love and understanding, reasons to hold on for the better future ahead. They will tell you things about your favorite authors that you never knew before. And they will tell you about yourself.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In a thoughtful, humorous, and moving collection of letters and comics (not all seen by PW), 64 queer authors and artists tell “their younger selves what they could do to make their lives a little better, a little lighter.” Though largely hopeful, these correspondences often include painful references to bullying, self-harm, feelings of isolation, and thoughts of suicide. Readers may be surprised by entries from contributors like Marion Dane Bauer and editor Arthur Levine, who remember growing up in a world that depicted gay people as perverts (“I may as well be one of those inverts you once saw pictured in an old psychology book,” writes Richard McCann). But the stories are also frequently funny, as the authors tell of successful careers (“you get to be friends with some of your heroes,” writes Gregory Maguire. “Like oh not to name names but like Maurice Sendak! I know!”), friendships, marriages, sex lives, and repaired relationships with parents. Read together, the letters become a powerful refrain. Jacqueline Woodson concludes hers by writing, “The world is big—and there is so much love in it. I promise you—you will find it.” Ages 14–up. (May)
Children's Literature - Patrice Russo Belotte
After life has dealt the most challenging of lessons, we often reflect on our experiences by thinking about what we would have done differently. How might the situation have been changed if I only had acted this way? How might I feel if I could have better controlled my emotions? It is this very notion that has inspired this insightful collection of witty, endearing, and heartfelt letters. Composed by popular writers meant for their younger selves, each letter delivers poignant advice and reflection on the writer's life experiences. While the primary focus of each letter is about helping the writer's younger self embrace their sexuality and live a life full of honesty and freedom, the message of each letter is universal. Be yourself and have confidence in yourself. While it may be impossible for each writer to actually travel in time and deliver their letter, it doesn't matter. Each writer is clearly in hopes of helping today's younger generation to embrace themselves, their sexuality, and their creativity without regret. Letters come from a variety of writers including Jacqueline Woodson, David Levithan, Amy Bloom, and Terrence McNally amongst many others. Reviewer: Patrice Russo Belotte
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—This anthology features 64 LGBTQ authors and illustrators, both well-known and not, who send letters to their younger selves. Whether it's Paige Braddock's graphic-style note or Brent Hartinger's letter to his teenage self, the message is clear: it gets better; you will find love; don't give up. Read on an individual basis, these missives can range from boastful to witty to extremely touching. Unfortunately, when read as a whole, they become somewhat monotonous; thus, the letters seem most suitable for classroom use on LGBTQ issues or bullying when paired separately with a story from a good collection such as Michael Cart's How Beautiful the Ordinary (2009) or Marion Dane Bauer's Am I Blue? (both, HarperCollins).—Betty S. Evans, Missouri State Univ., Springfield, MO
Kirkus Reviews
To hear the more than 50 contributors tell it, one might think that queer adults mostly end up living in ritzy corners of New York City and becoming published authors. That, perhaps, is the necessary consequence of this project, which compiles lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer writers' letters to their younger selves. Big names in adult, teen or children's literature have contributed, including Michael Cunningham, Armistead Maupin, Marion Dane Bauer, Arthur Levine, Gregory Maguire and Amy Bloom. A number of comics artists--including Michael DiMotta, Jennifer Camper and Jasika Nicole--have penned letters in comic form. Many authors use their short (usually two- to three-page) letters to talk about the future. Some letters read like a memoir in second person; some describe past addictions, suicide attempts and other grim circumstances; many give advice. Comparisons to the It Gets Better video campaign, in which LGBT adults promise queer and questioning teenagers that life improves after high school, are inevitable. Contributors Jacqueline Woodson and Erik Orrantia even use the language of "getting better" outright. Yet the disproportionate achievement of fame, wealth and successful careers in the arts among the authors here seems an unfair promise to make to most readers. Inspiring but not universal. (Anthology. 14 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780545399326
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/1/2012
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 787,482
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 950L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.82 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Meet the Author

Sarah Moon is a teacher, writer, and translator. She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

James Lecesne is an actor, writer, and activist. His Academy Award–winning short film, Trevor, inspired the founding of The Trevor Project (

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2013

    Playboy sex

    I love having gay sex!!!!!!!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted April 5, 2013

    Any one wanna be friends


    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 21, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    The title of this remarkable anthology says it all¿a multitude

    The title of this remarkable anthology says it all—a multitude of LGBT
    authors, more than sixty of them, have come together to tell themselves
    as young adults what they wish they had known back then. In doing so,
    they also are reaching out to today’s youth who are struggling with
    their sexual identities, letting them know they are not alone and others
    have felt the way they feel. Written for age 14 and up, the letters are
    honest, emotional and forthright, no holds barred. There are even
    practical suggestions for making one’s own life just a little bit
    easier. Some of the writers involved will be a surprise to readers and
    some will not but that really doesn’t matter because the point of it all
    is to make the road just a little easier for the younger generation.
    The target audience is obvious but this is a book that can be
    appreciated just as much by those of us who are not LGBT because it
    gives us a small glimpse of what life is like for young adults who are
    unsure of themselves and those who ARE sure but are having difficulty
    finding a comfortable place in our world. One really important note is
    that this book will strike a chord with all teenagers who are struggling
    with issues of any kind, not just sexual identity. Has this been done
    before? Perhaps it has but, if so, I haven’t seen it. The authors and
    editors and publisher involved all are to be commended for a fine idea
    executed brilliantly and with great compassion, so much that I was
    frequently brought to tears. I strongly recommend it for young adults
    and adults alike and especially would like to see it shelved in every
    school library. Lives can literally be saved.

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

    Posted August 2, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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