Banned Books Week & Judy Blume

Cover of "Are You There God? It's Me, Mar...

Cover of Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret

Before the week ends I have to give my support to those that protest the censorship of books. In honor of the movement, I want to write a little about an author, who has had several titles challenged and banned, whose novels had a personal impact on me.

I was about eleven when I discovered Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume at the mobile library that visited my suburb once a month. I remember the relief I felt,more than twenty years later, to get some answers.  I matured early,  and was embarrassed yet intensely curious about what was happening to me.  Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret was informative and oddly comforting, to know  that while I felt almost ashamed to be the first, my friends were probably envious as well.  I think I read it several times during that loan period, and shared it with my best friend.

Blubber also hit a nerve with me, I was a “bigger girl” and though I rarely experienced any bullying I was self concious and could empathise with Linda. I remember being horrified at Jill and Wendy and vowing to never treat anyone like they did.

And then there is Forever. I think I was twelve when I read this and I truly believe it helped mould my opinion’s about relationships and sex during my teen years. While the censors believed Forever advocated teenage sex, I took away the thought that I was going to be sure, I wanted my first time to be special.  I remember re reading Forever much later when I was in a  relationship and considering the next step, and when I made the decision I was sure and it was special.

I read all of Judy Blume’s books as an adolescent and in my early 20’s I started collecting her books in anticipation of sharing them with my own daughters some day. My oldest daughter is now 14, she is not a reader but when she was 11 I gave her Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret to read after “The Talk” and only a few weeks ago I encouraged her to read Forever after the second “Talk”. My youngest daughter is 7 and when she is ready, Judy’s books wait on the bookshelf.

Not long after I gave Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret to my daughter I emailed Judy Blume through her website to tell how how much her books had meant to me and she emailed back! A personal response that I promptly printed and placed in a photo album. I have read all of Judy Blume’s books, and  own them all, including her adult novels. Judy Blume’s books were written in the late 70’s/early 80’s and yet they are still unique and relevant today.

Judy Blume’s books have been the target of numerous challenges and bannings. She wholly supports the Nationalal Coalition Against Censorship and the right of intellectual freedom. You can read her views on censorship on her website .

If you haven’t read a book by Judy Blume, you really should. If you have, tell me which book had the most impact on your life.

Judy Blume, thank you.

11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Heather
    Sep 29, 2010 @ 02:45:26

    I have never read a Judy Blume book. After reading your lovely comments, I am going to have to search one out and see what I’ve missed. I never thought to read Are you there God? It’s me, Margaret as the title made me think it was about going to church and I didn’t know anyone who was reading it that could set me straight.

    As for banning books, when I hear about people trying to ban a book, it just makes me want to read it all that much more.

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  2. Rebecca Glenn
    Sep 29, 2010 @ 18:04:46

    Lovely! Thank you for sharing (and for posting on The Book Frog’s Reading Roundup).

    I agree wholeheartedly.

    Becky

    PS I hope you’ll share a post or two every week, as the Reading Roundup is a weekly feature.

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  3. Yiota
    Sep 29, 2010 @ 18:54:05

    You got an award! Hihi!
    Here: Versatile Blogger Award

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  4. Nikki-ann
    Sep 29, 2010 @ 19:50:44

    I read a lot of Judy Blume’s books when I was younger… I may just have to dig them out again 🙂

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  5. Suzanne L.
    Sep 30, 2010 @ 20:49:30

    What a great post! The only Judy Blume book I read was Summer Sisters, which I just love. I think I must have been a bit older for the YA Judy Blume books, but I have been curious about them. I think I will start with “Are You There God…” for my Judy Blume experience! Thanks for sharing how even though some people though the subject matter wasn’t appropriate for children, that it did indeed help you as a young reader!

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  6. Jamie
    Oct 01, 2010 @ 22:23:42

    This is one of my favorite Judy Blume books! I devoured all of her books when I was 11 or 12! Loved them!

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  7. lucybirdbooks
    Oct 03, 2010 @ 18:26:20

    I loved Judy Blume books when I was younger, she really has a way of speaking to teenagers. The idea that some kids wouldn’t get the chance to read her books makes me sad.

    Visiting from the hop by the way.

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  8. RandomizeME
    Oct 08, 2010 @ 15:07:14

    I remember reading ‘It’s Not the End of the World’ – it’s a really honest portrayal of a young girl’s resistance to her parent’s divorce. It was bitter-sweet funny, especially her unsuccessful schemes to bring them back together. Judy Blume had a way of writing to kids, and yet not writing down to them.

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  9. quirkyfatepress
    Oct 09, 2010 @ 19:44:23

    I completely agree! I remember reading Judy Blume books when I was younger she always makes you fell a little less alone.

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  10. Kristy
    Oct 18, 2010 @ 18:57:53

    Wow thanks for bringing back all these memories 🙂
    I read all her books and loved them. I learnt so much about life and will defiantly be buying them for my daughter. Thanks for reminding me.

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  11. Trackback: Blog Hop and Follow Friday Oct 29th « book'd out

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