Monday, September 28, 2015

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume

Banned Books Week takes place the last week of September every year. It's a time to bring awareness of the banning and challenging of books that is still prevalent in our society. To support the freedom to read, I choose a banned/challenged book that I've never read before. Because of this, my review is slightly different, as I tend to focus on the reason it was banned or challenged for most of the review. For more information on Banned Books Week, visit

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Publication date: 1970/1988
Publisher: Atheneum
Pages: 153
My rating: 3.5 stars
Ages: 10+

After moving from New York City to New Jersey, 11-year-old Margaret must deal with finding new friends, a new teacher, and the changes in her body. The only person she can truly be honest with is God, who she speaks to on a regular basis.

This book was first challenged in 1982 for being amoral and sexual explicit. It was then continued to be challenged/banned for those reasons and for being anti-Christian.

Margaret is the daughter of a Jewish father and a Christian mother, but she doesn't have a religion, though she does, obviously, believe in God. Throughout the course of the book Margaret researches several different religions, trying to see if there was one where she feels God. I don't see this as anti-Christian or anti-religion.

As for being sexually explicit. There is talk of breasts and menstruation. Though, when I was about 11, I read books with girls who were going through the same things that I was. It was nice and I probably learned more from them than anyone else, except my mom. The thing is, girls want to know about their bodies and the way they are changing. They want to know what a period is like and if their breasts are ever going to grow, but sometimes they are embarrassed to ask someone. It's perfectly normal and I don't think that there is anything wrong with books that feature preteens with the same questions.

As with almost all of the banned books that I have read over the years, it's a good way to open conversations. Also, to actually be read by parents, instead of just flipped through. Without context, I guess I could see certain parts being seen as inappropriate, but then, without context, most anything could be considered in appropriate.

It is a bit outdated and might contain references that today's preteens may not understand.

*I do not receive compensation from Amazon.

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