Friday, October 3, 2008

Bye Bye Banned Books

We're wrapping up Banned Book Week here at the class of 2k8 and it only seems fitting that we pay tribute to one of the best loved and single most banned authors ever. The incomparable Judy Blume has five books listed on the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990-2000, but many of us wouldn't have been able to survive puberty without her.

Jenny Meyerhoff: "Many avid readers remember the book that got them “hooked” on reading. For me, that book was ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT’S ME MARGARET, by Judy Blume. I read the book in third grade, which, I suppose is bit below the age of the target audience. As a result, I learned earlier than my friends about the changes my body would someday experience. I waited impatiently for a puberty that wouldn’t arrive for several more years. I read the book twenty-one times in a row that year and many, many more times after that. It was the first book I’d ever read that felt so real, so absolutely connected to my own life. I never feared or dreaded maturing, the way other girls did. ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT’S ME MARGARET became the big sister I never had. Like a good sister, she introduced me to other books. I devoured everything that Judy Blume ever wrote, rereading them all many times. Now I have a daughter. I bought the book for her when she was in fourth grade. I’m proud to say that her copy is now dog-eared as well."

“[I]t's not just the books under fire now that worry me. It is the books that will never be written. The books that will never be read. And all due to the fear of censorship. As always, young readers will be the real losers.” — Judy Blume

Teri Brown: "Judy Blume had a profound impact on me when I was growing up. I was eleven when I first got a hold of Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret. I understood her loneliness, confusion and her eagerness to grow up. I wanted to be Margaret so badly that I tried to involve my friends in a club like the one in the book. Except I lived in Alfalfa, Oregon, and my friends weren’t ready for it… It ended badly with a screaming match on the bus where my bf (former) yelled, “You wanted to start a club on periods!” It was a total Blubber moment. They missed the point totally. But then, I think a lot of people miss the point of Judy Blume’s books. They aren’t about what adults need, they’re about what kids need. And kids need to have characters they can identify with. Like I did with Margaret and Deenie and most of her characters. They helped me feel a little less lonely at a time in my life where I didn’t fit in. "

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