I think I’m a Poof

milkboys Books, Clips & Spots 15 Comments

Queer writer and relationships columnist Samuel Leighton-Dore’s new picture book I Think I’m a Poof addresses the challenging realities often faced in our youth, including discovering yourself, and being on the receiving end of bullying. Samuel has filmed three Aussie dads with gay sons reading the book and discussing their experiences.

Copies of the book are available from ithinkimapoof.com, with $1 from every book sold being donated  to QLife, an Australian counselling and referral service for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex people.

Comments 15

  1. I know I’m going to get berated for this, but I didn’t like the published book. I pretty much like its intent though.

    Here’s why I don’t like it:

    The book is aimed at boys (and girls, I presume) around the ages of 8 or 9 through about 12 (I would guess by how it’s written). But, the images would more likely be for toddlers or just slightly older who may have some curiosity to look through some book — I mean ages 4 through 8 (oldest).

    These images are like talking down to kids who might be experiencing these feelings to share with their parents using such simplistic and incredibly immature drawings. By the ages that I mentioned, 8-12, kids (boys in particular) are now geared to viewing high quality drawings and other artwork — preferrably three-dimensional images to get their attention (witness the incredible artwork in movies for these ages now being made and shown) and help them understand themselves better.

    These very immature images in this book show these kids that the words [to them] could be easily “brushed off” — very much like saying to them, “it’s only a phase, you’ll grow out of it”.

    The idea of this book is quite good …. but I think the artwork should reflect not only the ages of its intent, but also the intellect of these growing children.

    Go ahead — shoot your arrows at me. :-)

    1. The Aussies have always straightforward in their language. What you see is what you get. And like Britain, poof in Australia is a very old word.

      1. “And like Britain, poof in Australia is a very old word.”

        So are “queer” and “faggot” ….. but that doesn’t make them any less derogatory.

    2. I think you’re right.
      Today many children aged 9-12 years, see the illustrations as “childish” to. In addition, many of these children in this age group have already “smartphones” and thus access to “Internet”.

    3. Yeah, I hadn’t thought about the art until you mentioned it. I think you make a good point. Although the whole rhyming thing is pretty young, actually.
      I DO remember working in a grade school, and a kindergartner getting definite disapproval from a classmate over her crush on her teacher. So, this book strikes me as appropriate for pretty young ones.

  2. I forgot to add, I also don’t like the title and the use of the word, “poof”. In my opinion, it’s the same as saying “queer” and “faggot”. “Gay” is now a more “universal” word to use if you don’t want to say/use “homosexual”.

    That’s the way I feel about it.

  3. I have to agree with what Penboy pointed out. Although I think the book in general and the illustrations are adorable, it does seem rather simplistic for boys at the targeted age group.

    Although I daresay the usage of the slang word ‘poof’ is common in the UK, NZ and Australia as a derogatory term for a homosexual male, it really isn’t used elsewhere, such as in Canada or the USA. The most common definition of the word poof ( or plural pooves, poofs ) here is to convey the suddenness with which something or someone disappears.

    1. @daveboy:
      “The most common definition of the word poof … here is to convey the suddenness with which something or someone disappears.”

      And that’s the same thing I was saying about these very immature images — talking down to children (as well as adults using these derogatory terms) and implying to their equally immature mind (the adults using these words) that it’s a “phase, and they’ll grow out of it” ….. as in, “poof” you’re now a straight boy.

  4. After thinking about this book, it just dawned on me: Just how is the author/publishers planning on distributing this book? I’m assuming first, the bookstores in Australia, both the large chains and the smaller “Mom & Pop” local stores. Another way might be public libraries and maybe even libraries in their schools. But, there’s a few “kinks” in those methods of distribution. Here are a few scenarios to show you what I mean:

    Bookstore Scenario #1

    Daniel, 12 years old, is known to be a bookworm. He just loves to read books, both fictional and non-fictional. His father knows this and has become very proud of his learned son. He brags to his neighbors, church members and co-workers how much his son has learned from reading so many books.

    So, this Saturday, Daniel’s father decided to take Daniel to the local bookstore and treat him to a couple of books since he has been doing so good in school and getting very good grades. Daniel was so happy, he couldn’t wait to get to the store and look for a couple more books to add to his collection. He practically dragged his father out to the car so they could get going as soon as possible.

    At the bookstore, Daniel discovered a new book called I Think I’m a Poof and quickly looked through the book. Although almost offensively childish in its artwork and “bubble” type of conversation, it seemed to be a good enough book to give to his father so he would know more about the son he’s been bragging about in church. He looked around and found another book as well, one that he learned about on the Internet when no one was looking at the sites he visited.

    Daniel brought both books over to where his dad was standing by the magazine rack. He looked down at the floor and shuffled his feet a bit before he handed the thinner book called, I Think I’m a Poof. He just handed this book to his dad only looking up at him very briefly to make sure he took it in his hand. While still looking down at his feet, he said, “I want these two.”

    Daniel’s father looked at the title of the first one, I Think I’m a Poof, and nearly exploded with emotion. “What?!” he said as his voice rose in volume and intensity. “My boy is NOT a Poof!! Why would you give this book to me anyway? Are you trying to tell me something that’s not true? Is this some kind of a joke? I’m not paying for a book like this! We will have some talking to do when we get home, I can assure you. Oh my god, what will the neighbors think about this? More importantly, what will the church members say if they find out you’re a poof?! I’ll never live this down!”

    “Here’s the other book, Dad [or whatever the popular term boys use for their fathers in Australia].” He handed the second book to his father. It is titled, The Age Of Reason by Thomas Paine.

    Daniel’s father responded, “What is this book? Another book about poofs? I’m not buying it!”

    “But, Dad, it’s about the bible! It helps explain the verses in the bible!”

    “Really? Oh, well, then maybe that’s OK. As long as you continue to learn about the bible. I’ll buy this one, but not that poof one. I don’t want to constantly be reminded of this moment. Let’s go home now.”

    *****************************************************

    Bookstore Scenario #2

    Daniel, 12 years old, is known to be a bookworm. He just loves to read books, both fictional and non-fictional. His father knows this and has become very proud of his learned son. He brags to his neighbors and co-workers how much his son has learned from reading so many books.

    So, this Saturday, Daniel’s father decided to take Daniel to the local bookstore and treat him to a couple of books since he has been doing so good in school and getting very good grades. Daniel was so happy, he couldn’t wait to get to the store and look for a couple more books to add to his collection. He practically dragged his father out to the car so they could get going as soon as possible.

    At the bookstore, Daniel discovered a new book called I Think I’m a Poof and quickly looked through the book. Although almost offensively childish in its artwork and “bubble” type of conversation, it seemed to be a good enough book to give to his father so he would know more about the son he’s been bragging about to everyone. But he didn’t have the money necessary to pay for this book. He would have to get his dad to pay for it. But, wait! If he showed this book to his father, his father would then know Daniel is gay (“a poof”) and would probably have no need to buy and read this book. Daniel would need to tell his understanding (hopefully) father everything about being gay at his age.

    *****************************************************

    I could come up with a couple of library scenarios about this book if you want and persuade me to do them. :-)

    By the way, for any of you who may say that Australia is “more progressive” that what I’ve described, allow me to present this BOYS’ baby names — most popular in Australia:
    http://www.baby2see.com/names/australian_baby_boys_names.html
    Notice the majority of the names are the same as biblical names?

  5. @whitebunny [this sounds cuter]:

    “The book “I think I’m a Poof”, however, unlike the Bible, is useful and not a work of fiction.”

    While I would love to agree with that statement 100%, I can’t. The bible has it’s use: to show humanity just how easy it is to be bamboozled and LIED to, simply because very few people actually read this book [and most who say they have are LIARS]. At least 99% of humanity relies on some “pastor” [who is either: equally ignorant about it or intentionally fraudulent for his/his church’s own gain] to tell the masses what he think/has been told to say which makes the masses happily content because they don’t have/”need” to read this tome which is so thick and written in such an old-style English (translated).

    Plus, I don’t think you received my message fully. It doesn’t seem you understand or either read the book, The Age Of Reason by Thomas Paine and who he was (to America). Understandably, as most Americans don’t know who he is or what he did that was so important for America (and I was one of them until about a dozen years ago because his importance wasn’t told to me in a way for me to remember [if it ever was told to me]).

    And, you didn’t seem to “get” the very subtle irony I offered. But, that’s OK, just read it again and look up Thomas Paine in Google or Bing. :-)

    1. “… simply because very few people actually read this book [and most who say they have are LIARS].”

      I say that because reading the bible is the easiest and fastest way be be an atheist. And I’m not the only person to point this out. No person with even an average intellect can read this book in its entirety [and that’s being generous] and then actually, seriously, believe in any sort of “god.” PERIOD The bible itself proves: 1) There is NO “god.” 2) “jesus christ” was totally FABRICATED as were all the main “characters” throughout the entire book.

      And, since the koran was/is based entirely on the bible, everything I say about the bible is the same with the koran — including the fabricated “mohammed.”

      And if you don’t believe what I just said, let me say that I can absolutely prove there is NO “god.” Hell, that’s child’s play — using the bible, no less!.

  6. Let the Christians on here, (or elsewhere), explain how the animals walked into the ark and they will fail miserably. Most will quote their knowledge from a children’s song.

  7. Also, “queer” is defined as: ADJECTIVE: strange or odd.

    So, what exactly is “strange or odd” about homosexuality or homosexuals?

    NOTHING

    So, there no longer is there any reason to use “queer” for homosexuality.

  8. “Poof” is not specially old in English as she is spoken in the UK, it was imported from Australia via the ‘satirical’ magazine Private Eye, in the 1970s,
    Ummm….. nearly half a century ago….

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