Review: The Letter Q

letter q

The Letter Q: Queer Writers’ Notes to Their Younger Selves edited by Sarah Moon

This was one of those books that I wanted to last forever.  I lingered over it, though I had a problem with not just wanting to read them all in one breath.  The entire book is made up of letters from successful gay and lesbian writers to their younger, usually teen, selves.  They are filled with hope, humor and acceptance for what they themselves thought, felt and lived.  Almost all are love letters to that younger, insecure and questioning person who is often closeted and always queer.  There are names here that teen readers will be familiar with: Malinda Lo, David Leviathan, Bruce Coville.  There are many others to be discovered through this book. 

Though the book is specifically about being GLBTQ, all teens will find it inspirational.  As one letter says, all of us have something that is queer about us.  All teens need to accept themselves, see themselves in that future state, and reach for those dreams.  All teens need to know that their thoughts and feelings are ok, whatever they are.  So I’d share this with straight and not narrow teens as well as GLBTQ teens too, of course. 

This is one of those books that should be in every public library.  It will probably be read in the back areas, the more private tables.  My ARC copy will be donated to a local café that has a GLBTQ club that meets regularly.  This is a book that café should have, since I can’t think of anything nicer to read with a cup of coffee.  Just as long as you are ready to really savor both.

Appropriate for ages 13-18.

Review: Dreams around the World by Takashi Owaki

dreams around the world

Dreams around the World by Takashi Owaki

Meet thirteen children from around the world who are ready to share their dreams with you!  Photographer Takashi Owaki traveled the world, including 55 countries on six continents and interviewed over 1400 children about what they wanted to be when they grew up.  In this book, he shares the dreams of some of those children.  Each child and their dream is accompanied by photographs, their age, name and country, along with a short paragraph about where they live.  At the end of the book, all of the countries are shown on a world map.  The book is a celebration of our diversity but also our universal dreams.

Owaki’s photographs are the heart of this book, especially the full-page image of each child looking directly into the camera.  The writing itself is simple, speaking to how Owaki met the child and the family they live with.  The smaller images with each story also help give context, showing activities and the environment.  My only quibble with the book is that it would have been nice to have the map done in a smaller way with each child to help with understanding the geography.

Originally published in Japan, this is a book that celebrates our world and the beauty of dreams.  Appropriate for ages 5-8.

Reviewed from copy received from One Peace Books.