Thursday, July 22, 2010

Am I Blue? Coming Out From The Silence - A GLBTQ Teen Short Story Anthology

Edited by Marion Dane Bauer
Published in 1994

Consisting of coming-of-age stories, this anthology explores growing up and not only discovering one’s sexuality but also finding one’s identity.

“Am I Blue” by Bruce Coville
After being assaulted by a school bully, Vince, a sexually confused boy, is given three wishes by his very stylish and unapologetically flamboyant fairy godfather. In an interesting turn, the last of the three wishes turns all of the gays of the world blue and even Vince is surprised at whose skin changes. This is a whimsical and magical take on one boy’s struggle with his sexuality.

“We Might As Well Be Strangers” by M.E. Kerr
Alison has just come out to both her Holocaust-survivor grandmother and her mother. Having been oppressed, Alison’s grandmother relates to her struggle while her mom has trouble coming to terms with her daughter’s sexuality.

“Winnie And Tommy” by Francesca Lia Block
The titular characters of “Winnie and Tommy” have been dating for a year. However on a trip to San Francisco, Tommy confesses his true sexual orientation to Winnie and from there she must reconcile her feelings towards her gay former-lover.

“Slipping Away” by Jacqueline Woodson
Everyone at some point has had that best “summer friend”. Well for Jacina, hers, Maria, is ‘slipping away’. Maria is unable to understand Jacina’s sexuality and Jacina’s feelings for Maria aren’t exactly returned. Jacina and Maria are forced to deal with growing up and how that affects their friendship.

“The Honorary Shepherds” by Gregory Maguire
The main characters in this story meet while participating in a film class led by Ms. Cabbage, a cancer patient. They are both gay and both confused, but they begin to learn more about themselves while creating a film project together.

“Running” by Ellen Howard
A family harbors a runaway lesbian teen. Both parties learn about themselves and how to accept others.

“Three Mondays in July” by James Cross Giblin
Set in 1951, David is a young man alone with his homosexuality. However he finds companionship in the man he has been spying on at the beach and is able to finally unload his troubles onto this stranger. David soon finds out that he is not alone.

“Parents Night” by Nancy Garden
Having a booth at Parents Night should be an easy experience right? Well not for the Gay- Straight- Bisexual club at one high school. They are faced with insults and stereotypes of homosexuality and must overcome these obstacles to participate in what should be a typical school event.

“Michael’s Little Sister” by C.S. Adler
Raised in a single parent household, Becky looks up to her 16-year-old brother Michael and is appalled when some kids call him a “faggot”. He denies it until she sees him kissing his date, Walter. The roles switch and Becky becomes the one who mentors Michael and teaches him that it’s ok to be who you are.

“Supper” by Leslea Newman
Meryl’s Jewish Grandmother encourages her to eat in order to look better for boys, bringing about early stages of an eating disorder. But what if Meryl doesn’t want to be with boys? What if whom she really wants to be with is her best friend Patty?

“Holding” by Lois Lowry
Willie is away at school when he finds out that his father’s secret partner has died. Through Willie’s grief he is better able to understand his father and himself.

“Blood Sister” by Jane Yolen
Selna is a woman in an Amazon tribe. She is different from everyone else; more specifically, she likes girls. Selna must find her place in society and reconcile her spirituality with her individuality.

“Hands” by Jonathan Landon
Ray Marlow comes to read poetry to Lon’s English class and from that point Lon’s life is never the same. After another chance encounter, Lon and Ray bond over their love of writing. By being friends with Ray, Lon is able to discover his passion for art and also learn about the hardships of life.

“50% Chance of Lightening” by Cristina Salat
Malia and Robin are best friends on two very different paths. Malia seems to have everything in place: she has a boyfriend, is going to college and knows what she wants to do in life. However Robin is lost and has no idea what she wants. She is a lesbian but has never had a girlfriend and has no idea what she wants to do in the future. Throughout this story Robin learns that she can find her own path.

“In the Tunnels” by William Sleator
This story is set in the tunnels of a war-torn Vietnam, where Americans are the enemy. We are introduced to two guerrilla soldiers who are stationed underground; while one of the soldier’s secret homosexual lover fights above them. Filled with suspense and action this story is a completely different and exciting point of view of not only homosexuality, but also history.

“Dancing Backwards” by Marion Dane Bauer
A little girl is rushed onstage in a dance recital when she is four. She performs, but little does she know that she isn’t facing the audience. Fast-forward to when that same girl gives her best friend a valentine at their strict Catholic school. Though neither of them is gay they are expelled, yet this incident serves as a catapult for the openness of homosexuals in the community. Used partially to describe Bauer’s feelings of obliviousness as a child, “Dancing Backwards” urges us to open our eyes and see how intolerance affects everyone.

- Posted by Hannah


LSkeers said...

I fought to keep this book in a middle school library when it first came out -- it's wonderful! If you haven't read it yet -- get a copy. Now.

Anonymous said...

Parent's Night makes me cry EVERY single time. I love this book.

Sarah Laurenson said...

I know I have this book as I loved Bruce Coville's story. It has stuck with me for many years.

And now, I wonder if I read any of the others. Some fantastic authors in the list. I just don't remember reading those stories, so I guess I didn't.

ivanova said...

I read this anthology in the Brooklyn Public Library, Greenpoint Branch. Shout out to the BPL for being such an awesome resource and being committed to diversity!

Also, I love William Sleator ("In The Tunnels") more than words can say! This anthology has an all-star cast of writers.