The Letter Q: Queer Writers’ Notes to
Their Younger Selves
edited by Sarah Moon, with contributing editor James Lecesne
Middle School, High School Levine/Scholastic 282 pp.
5/12 978-0-545-39932-6 $17.99
Inspired by mentors in her own childhood, editor Sarah Moon asked sixty-four gay, lesbian, and bisexual writers, illustrators, and publishing professionals to write letters to themselves at a younger age — names such as Marion Dane Bauer, Jacqueline Woodson, Gregory Maguire, Brian Selznick, and a host of others. The resulting letters combine advice, reminiscence, funny stories, and encouragement for readers struggling with their sexuality. As with any collection with such a narrow focus, repetition is a problem, but panels from graphic novel creators help to break up the text and vary the pace, and a few of the writers arouse interest with truly surprising revelations (David Levithan, for instance, writes about bullying, but from the perspective of being the bully; Martin Moran writes about the sexual abuse that led to his award-winning book The Tricky Part). A mostly secular exploration of growing up gay, the book has regrettably little advice for gay and questioning teens grappling with religious dilemmas. Still, with its repeated exhortations to relax more and worry less, this book might be a life-saver for some — and could function as an author list, as well, for teens wanting to read more about People Like Us.
From the July/August 2012 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.