The Letter Q: Queer Writers' Notes to Their Younger Selves by Sarah MoonThe Letter Q: Queer Writers' Notes to Their Younger Selves by Sarah Moon

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

EditorSarah Moon, James Lecesne

Hardcover | May 1, 2012

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Life-saving letters from a glittering wishlist of top authors

This book was conceived as part of the response to a spate of suicides among LGBT youth that revealed how vulnerable and isolated these teens often still are. The popularity of the "It Gets Better" YouTube campaign shows how badly needed are messages that tell LGBT teenagers that they will be OK if they just hang on.

The Letter Q takes this one step further by moving beyond the simple platitude of "it gets better" to tell a deeper and more personal story for each of its contributors. Each letter is like a tightly focused biography, where the writer reveals an aspect of his or her self that speaks to the heart of what's important to LGBT teens. With moving stories from contributors such as Brian Selznick, Michael Cunningham, Amy Bloom, David Levithan, and Rakesh Satyal, this is a book that should be available to every LGBT kid coming of age today and fans of this stellar list of authors.

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

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 (
Title:The Letter Q: Queer Writers' Notes to Their Younger SelvesFormat:HardcoverDimensions:288 pages, 8.53 × 5.79 × 0.96 inPublished:May 1, 2012Publisher:SCHOLASTIC INCLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0545399327

ISBN - 13:9780545399326


Rated 5 out of 5 by from A must for every school library How do I even begin to write a review of this collection? No matter what I write it won't be enough to express the impact this The Letter Q had on me. Every single letter in this collection was incredibly thoughtful, moving and most of all brave. These authors really put themselves out there. All their fears, struggles, confession - they didn't hold back. And I have a huge amount of respect for them. It couldn't have been easy for Julie Anne Peters to admit that she sat in a park and thought about someone murdering her or for David Levithan to admit that he had bullied one of his teachers. It also amazed me how young so many of them where when they began to realize they were gay/lesbian/bisexual. So often when the sex in YA debate comes up, you hear opponents claiming teens are too young to think about "that kind of stuff." But these letters prove that kids do have questions, and books, of all things, should make them think about these things instead of pushing them away. For the rest of this review I just wanted to share some of my favourite passages from the collection and why they were so meaningful: From Stacy D'Erasmo's letter: "You're just as you should be. All that desire is going to turn out to be your compass in life. You're going to fall in love with incredible women, incredible men and they are going to fall in love with you" (p. 53) -- Because that's all any of us want right? To know we will be loved. From Erik Orrantia's letter: "sometimes things get worse before they get better, but they do get better" (p. 65). -- Maybe not the ideal, but will definitely stick with me when things are getting difficult. And remind me that there is always hope. From Arthur A Levine's letter: "With books in particular you are drawn to stories where a person has hidden talents, unappreciated skills, a great destiny perhaps. Remember the name Harry Potter" (p. 82) --- This was probably the passage I could most relate to. I'm sure many of us can. Harry Potter was truly something magical and inspirational. From Gregory Maguire's letter: " You actually get PUBLISHED! And you get to be friends with some of your HEROES! Like oh not to name names but like MAURICE SENDAK! I know! I KNOW! SCREAMMM!" -- Reassured me that you can grow up and be successful and still totally be a fanboy/girl for the things you love. And you'll find other people who feel that way too. From Brent Hartinger's letter: "but it's one of life's strange paradoxes that the only way to find true love is to be willing to risk being devastated by losing it. Who knew love was so much like a Star Trek episode?" (p. 187) -- For being honest yet inspirational. And refrencing Star Trek while doing so. Whether GLBTQ or straight this book should be on your to-read list. Every school library should have a copy, or twelve. Letters like these can change lives. They can save lives. Final recommendation: I think everyone should read this book. Even if you've never questioned your sexual orientation, this collection has the power to inspire you.
Date published: 2012-07-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Required Reading for all teens The Good Stuff David Levithan's essay was so hilarious yet sweet and honest - will now be looking for some of his writing A good mixture of humour, sadness and anger The message of hope and forgiveness is so prevalent and beautifully and honestly done Very powerful and inspiring Brian Selznick's essay was extremely funny and tender Martin Moran's essay is heartbreaking, so brave to have told his story - such strength of character and a very inspiring story to those LGBT youths with thoughts of suicide Wise and non preachy advice for helping kids who are struggling with their sexuality The Not So Good Stuff Brutal to hear of parents & educators abuse of children over something as natural as sexual preference Favorite Quotes/Passages ""I'm still not entirely sure whether I use the word irony correctly, but I believe there's something exquisitely ironic about making fun of your non-gay teacher for being gay, and then going home and listening to Barbara Streisand's Broadway Album over and over again." David Levithan "Yes, the indignities you suffer at the hands of bigots can make you bitter. But they can also strengthen your ability to empathize with the oppressed, and in doing so, enlarge the capacity of your heart." Doug Wright "You will discover that all gay men are not stylish, witty, promiscuous, and viciously entertaining. No one said that equality was going to be fun." Paul Rudnick "I hear you say, I want to die, and it tears at my sould that you're only thirteen and ready to give up on life." and "No! Don't get back at everyone by dying. Get back at them by living and saving lives, starting with your own. Fight for your life." Mayra Lazara Dole Who Should/Shouldn't Read For teens of ALL genders and sexuality -- the message of believing and loving yourself apply to everyone and not just those struggling with their sexuality My Uncle should have read this and maybe he would have loved and accepted his son no matter of Bruce's sexual preference. My cousin told his Dad that he was gay and my Uncle never spoke to him again. My Dad became a surrogate father to Bruce and tried to help him but ultimately Bruce's life was cut short by the acts of self-hatred and abuse (Drugs, alcohol, dangerous sexual partners, etc) caused by his fathers abandonment. This should be in every public and school library so kids struggling can hear the message of hope that you will get through this from those who have Required reading for ALL educators and parents 5 Dewey's I received this from Scholastic in exchange for an honest review My advice to my younger self Michael Tinker is never going to go for you - get over him Michael Corsini is MARRIED - he is scum for not telling you this -- but hey the man who ended up defending you and giving your friends heck - you end of marrying and having two beautiful heathens with him (And BTW he's moving you to Calgary next month so you might want to think about getting over your hatred of country music) Stop with the diet pills, they are going to mess up your digestive system for life -- you are beautiful the way you are Stop pretending to be someone else so people will like you -- accept who you are and love yourself for that and people will actually like the real you Don't sleep with all those divers -- they are not going to love you -- they just want in your pants and you will hate yourself for it Don't have a fight with your Dad the night before he goes on vacation to Bermuda -- he dies there and you will not be able to tell him you are sorry and how lucky you were to have such an exceptional (and completely wacky) guy for a Dad Get over your fear of driving (sorry snorter porter -- you still got to work on that one) What that man did was wrong, he abused his position of power and it was not your fault! For gods sake you are smart enough to go to University and become a Librarian - tell that nasty voice in your head to go away (cause quite frankly Librarians get paid way more than the Library Technician you became)
Date published: 2012-05-01

Read from the Book

David Levithan"I have no idea if there's such a thing as retroactive gaydar, but I'm pretty sure now that Mr. Jones is not in fact gay. And you, indeed, are.I'm still not entirely sure whether I use the word irony correctly, but I believe there's something exquisitely ironic about making fun of your non-gay teacher for being gay, and then going home and listening to Barbra Streisand's Broadway Album over and over again." Sarah Moon"Just between you and me, we both know that the weirdest thing about coming out on your first day of high school in this tiny cow-town is that you haven't even kissed a girl, yet. All you're going on is that feeling in your stomach when you see those pictures of the Spice Girls. It feels a little strange to go around proclaiming that you're a lesbian when you're not even sure that, you know, you'll like it. That quiet fear that this isn't the right thing, that you're going through all of this trouble for nothing, that if you had Angelina Jolie right there in front of you, you wouldn't know what to do with her, it's very scary. I have good news for you: The trouble is worth it, and you'll learn what to do; and that will be fun."Michael Cunningham"As you're nearing thirty, you'll say, screw it, maybe I'll never be recognized, but I still want to write. It's the only thing I've ever wanted to do. So I'm going to start writing about the people who matter most to me, the people I know best. I'm going to stop trying to court the New Yorker with tales of adultery and divorce in Connecticut. I'm going to write about gay people. I can live with the idea that no one will ever publish me. When I'm the oldest living bartender, I'll try to keep those errant hairs plucked.And that's when your writing career will take off. Try to believe me."

Editorial Reviews

Praise for The Letter Q"[T]houghtful, humorous, and moving...Read together, the letters become a powerful refrain." -Publishers Weekly*"[A] lovely, often funny, and always heartfelt book...that may save lives." -Booklist, starred review"Offering encouragement, comfort, advice, valor, and love, they create a vivid rainbow of political perspectives, personal anecdotes, and wisdom." -Elle "[W]ith 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." -Horn Book"The Letter Q is the most recent book addressing the issue and sheds the formalities of speaking to a broad audience you've never met. It is instead an anthology of letters from LGBT writers to their younger selves. The result is an intimate experience where the authors address specifics and call themselves out on their own faults." -The Advocate