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Book cover of What Are You Afraid Of?: Stories about Phobias

What Are You Afraid Of?: Stories about Phobias

by Donald R. Gallo

Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pages: 208
Hardcover
ISBN: 9780763626549






Available to Buy

Overview of What Are You Afraid Of?: Stories about Phobias

"An excellent collection on a topic that holds a strange and fascinating allure." — SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL

Everyone is afraid of something. But for those with phobias, that fear is exaggerated: the throat tightens; the heart races. The ten stories in this anthology all present people with debilitating anxiety — from a gripping portrait of a teen with agoraphobia to a humorous tale of a boy who dreads his girlfriend’s cat. Whether the trigger is clowns, knives, string, or crossing the street, the characters in these stories confront, are confronted by, and sometimes even overcome their worst fears.

Synopsis of What Are You Afraid Of?: Stories about Phobias

"An excellent collection on a topic that holds a strange and fascinating allure." — SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL

Everyone is afraid of something. But for those with phobias, that fear is exaggerated: the throat tightens; the heart races. The ten stories in this anthology all present people with debilitating anxiety — from a gripping portrait of a teen with agoraphobia to a humorous tale of a boy who dreads his girlfriend’s cat. Whether the trigger is clowns, knives, string, or crossing the street, the characters in these stories confront, are confronted by, and sometimes even overcome their worst fears.

Alan Review

Excessive fears, debilitating fears that cannot be rationalized away, grip teenagers' lives, causing them to be the brunt of bullying, the focus of jokes, and the cause of nightmares for parents and friends who only want to help. These short stories demonstrate how the fear of string, crossing a road, cats, sharp knives, or clowns can make "normal" life impossible for teens. Most of them get help from a professional or a friend or a parent by learning that they first have to face their fears and then take one day at a time to overcome them. The last story will leave you with a taste of fear in your own mouth as the usual source of fears is reversed. Readers will laugh, shiver, and empathize with phobics who can't control their own thoughts and who can't make their bodies react to seemingly natural events. Anthologist Gallo has collected 11 phobia-ridden stories that hold readers' attention long after they finish reading.

About the Author, Donald R. Gallo

DONALD R. GALLO is a recipient of the ALAN Award for Outstanding Contributions to Young Adult Literature and the editor of several short story anthologies for teens, including FIRST CROSSING: STORIES ABOUT TEEN IMMIGRANTS and DESTINATION UNEXPECTED.

Reviews of What Are You Afraid Of?: Stories about Phobias

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Editorials

Carolyn Lott

Excessive fears, debilitating fears that cannot be rationalized away, grip teenagers' lives, causing them to be the brunt of bullying, the focus of jokes, and the cause of nightmares for parents and friends who only want to help. These short stories demonstrate how the fear of string, crossing a road, cats, sharp knives, or clowns can make "normal" life impossible for teens. Most of them get help from a professional or a friend or a parent by learning that they first have to face their fears and then take one day at a time to overcome them. The last story will leave you with a taste of fear in your own mouth as the usual source of fears is reversed. Readers will laugh, shiver, and empathize with phobics who can't control their own thoughts and who can't make their bodies react to seemingly natural events. Anthologist Gallo has collected 11 phobia-ridden stories that hold readers' attention long after they finish reading.

Children's Literature

We are all afraid of something, and most of us learn how to deal with that fear when confronted by it. However, what about those people who cannot? This compilation of phobia short stories created by some of the most famous names in young adult literature and put together by the king of young adult literature, short story collections, allows readers to read about some of the phobias they too may have experienced. Alex Flinn tackles agoraphobia and presents a boy too fearful to leave his home. Joan Bauer delves into the nightmare of a girl who fears gaining weight. David Lubar provides a story based on a boy’s fear of cats and the negative impact it has on his love life. Gail Giles takes on the fear of clowns. Angela Johnson focuses on a boy who is afraid of string. The short stories are all unique in plot, although many share a similar type of ending; for that reason, I do not recommend reading the whole collection at one setting. But this book would be a wonderful way to get students thinking about what people are nervous about in life and why, and this might create empathy for others with whom they come into contact. The individual short stories could also be used to assign research topics on any number of phobias. There are simply myriad uses for this book, and it is a fun and interesting read on top of it! Reviewer: Jean Boreen, Ph.D.

Children's Literature

Don't let bibliophobia (fear of books, that is) stop you from reading this out-of-the-ordinary collection of ten short stories about teenagers suffering from and coping with irrational and abnormal fears. Clowns, cats, streets, string and knives are just a few of the things that cause these teens to panic. Just walking past his front door leaves Cameron sweaty, breathless, trembling, and numb; how long will it be before he can open the door and go outside? With Olivia's help, will Robert conquer his fear of the street one step at a time? And why would a private school for phobic kids give a scholarship to a boy who fears nothing? Nothing at all. At the end of each story is a short introduction to each author including why he or she chose to write about a particular phobia. The book features a long list of common and uncommon phobias, including such odd ones as arachibutyrophobia, the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of one's mouth! An interesting and informative read.

School Library Journal

Gr 6-9-These 10 short stories present glimpses of what it's like to be considered irrational and to face an invisible fear that disrupts ordinary life. The selections are by notable authors, some of whom explain how their stories came about. Neal Schusterman's eerie "Fear-for-Al" is about a boy who has no compassion for those who are so afflicted. Gavin receives his just deserts when he becomes the community's phobia magnet, absorbing the collective fears like a sin-eater and experiencing the terror that has plagued members of his therapeutic school. In Nancy Springer's "Rutabaga," Lydia avoids knives because of what they can do-or what she might do. She's the quiet, obliging daughter who won't utter a sharp word against her control-freak perfect mother. Only when she stands up to her mother is she free of fear of the kitchen weapons. This is an excellent collection on a topic that holds a strange and fascinating allure.-Alison Follos, North Country School, Lake Placid, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews

Sufferers of phobophobia (fear of phobias) may want to avoid this solid collection of humorous, eerie, sad short stories. Well-known YA authors contribute absorbing tales of teens suffering from a panoply of phobias. Some are as well-known as claustrophobia, others more unusual, like linonophobia, the fear of string. Some phobias are caused by specific incidents and others suddenly appear without explanation. "Bang Bang You're Dead," by Jane Yolen and Heidi E.Y. Stemple, tells the haunting tale of how the loss of a loved one causes a teen to conquer his intense fear of public speaking. Ron Koertge's "Calle de Muerte" makes the connection between a wheelchair-bound teen and an agyrophobic (one who fears asphalt). Both would give anything just to set foot on the road upon which they live. The final story by Neal Shusterman is a fascinatingly dark account of a private school for phobic students. In "Fear-For-All" a bully with a penchant for tormenting phobics learns he has a nobler if personally painful purpose in life. A list of common and unusual phobias closes the book. Uniformly engrossing. (Anthology. 12-15)

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