When he was nine years old, he asked his mother to write a story for him and his best friend, Chuck Fabian, about a "little planet just their size."
The result was The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet (1954), one of the first books I read on my own (another was The Spaceship Under the Apple Tree), a fascinating evocation of the world of a gay child whose gayness is known but not yet consciously acknowledged.
When I was very young, I found in Mushroom Planet "a good place," a precursor to Earthfasts, The Tripods, or The Lord of the Rings.
2. Everyone insisted on misunderstanding my friendships with girls, calling them "girlfriends" rather than buddies. But in Mushroom Planet, no girls are gazed at, thought of, or even mentioned, except for the boys' mothers. The planet Basidium is occupied entirely by little men (later we discover that they reproduce through spores, like mushrooms).