Banned Books Awareness: Judy Blume
Did you know that virtually everything written by Judy Blume has been banned? \”Forever\”, \”Blubber\”, \”Deenie\” and \”Are You There God? It\’s Me, Margaret\” are among her most controversial novels.
Though light in tone, many of Blume’s books deal with very real and very difficult issues for children, including friendship, religion, divorce, body image, and sexuality. However, Blume states that she does not set out to tackle these issues when writing. She begins with a character, or sometimes a character and a situation.
Fans of Blume\’s novels have praised her use of real-life settings, ambivalent endings and gentle humor. Many women and men claim Judy Blume saved their lives by being the only adult who didn\’t lie to them.
Often the target of school library censors and the religious right, her books continue to be challenged in school libraries throughout the United States; in fact, \”Forever\” was the second most challenged book of 2005, according to the American Library Association.
They\’ve been banned for sexual content, mostly, along with \”inappropriate behavior.\”
In 2004 a group of parents in Florida tried to remove \”Deenie\” from school libraries. Kids now need a note from home to check it out.
She is recognized as one of the most banned children\’s authors in the United States. This led her to edit a collection of short stories about censorship, \”Places I Never Meant to Be\”. Despite repeated attempts at censorship, Blume\’s young adult novels and books for children have sold 80 million copies worldwide.
\”It\’s not just the books under fire now that worry me,\” Blume has said. \”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.\”
Watch her talk about her experience and her books here.
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© 2011 R. Wolf Baldassarro/Deep Forest Productions