Judy Blume Is Among The Most Challenged Authors Of The 21st Century
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"I felt only that I had to write the most honest books I could," author Judy Blume says on her website. "It never occurred to me, at the time, that what I was writing was controversial." Blume is among the most beloved children's authors of the last few decades, but some parents seem to think she's also the most threatening. In fact, four of Blume's works appear on the American Library Association (ALA) list of the top 100 banned and challenged books from 2000–2009. That's more appearances than any other author. Those books include Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret; Tiger Eyes; Blubber; and Forever. That's one less than the decade previous, when Blume's Deenie was also on the list. According to the ALA, the top three reasons for challenging—that is, attempting to ban—a book are sexual content, offensive language, and a feeling that it's "unsuited to any age group." Those elements are present in every one of Blume's challenged books. In Margaret, the main character is a sixth grader who worries about getting her period and prays to God to give her breasts. Deenie mentions the existence of masturbation, and Forever deals with teenage sexuality. Sometimes, as the Guardian reported Blume saying, "Kids will actually go to Mom or Dad and say 'What does this mean?', which is the perfect time to talk to them about it. But that's when sometimes parents get hysterical. It's like... 'I don't even want to talk to you about this, I don't ever want you to go through puberty.'" And that's why Blume's books are beloved by so many, and why the author even published a book of letters from her readers. Learn more about the author's take on censorship and the dangers of banning books in the videos below.
"Her Deepness" Sylvia Earle Is An Accomplished Oceanographer, Author, And Educator
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If the ocean could have human royalty, "Her Deepness" Dr. Sylvia A. Earle would be the one to reign it all. Oceanographer, author, educator, and explorer, Earle has been admired by individuals and organizations around the world. She's been called a "living legend" by the Library of Congress, and first "hero for the planet" by Time magazine. Earle is a National Geographic Society Explorer-in-Residence and has been chief scientist of NOAA. She also holds a world record for solo diving in 1,000-meter depth. But her accomplishments do not end there.Dr. Earle has founded many organizations to support marine life and exploration, including the Deep Ocean Exploration and Research, Inc., and Mission Blue. In addition, Earle is the chair of the Advisory Council for the Ocean in Google Earth. Her research revolves around marine ecosystems, with special consideration for exploration, conservation, and the development of technologies for use in the deep sea.
Dr. Seuss Originally Pronounced His Name "Soice" Like "Choice"
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Born Theodor Seuss Geisel on March 2, 1904, Dr. Seuss was perhaps one of the best known children's book authors and illustrators. Though he wrote children's books, he never had any children of his own. And though he is known as Dr. Seuss, it is simply a pen name and he does was never a doctor. But the name confusion doesn't stop there-you likely pronounce the name Seuss to rhyme with "moose." Originally, the name was to be pronounced like "soice" as in "choice." Dr.Seuss stuck with the former because so many people kept saying it wrong.
Ernest Vincent Wright's Novel With No "E"
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The 1939 novel "Gadsby" written by Ernest Vincent Wright is a 50,000-word book that does not contain the letter "e" at all. The book is a "lipogram" a work where the author purposefully excludes a letter from their text. Wright actually disabled the "e" key on his typewriter to help him avoid using the letter while writing the novel. It took Wright just under six months to complete the book. Unfortunately, Wright died just two months after publishing the book.
from Today I Found Out
Key Facts to Know
Ernest Vincent Wright wrote a 50,000-word novel that does not contain the letter "e." 0:04
To avoid the letter "e," Ernest Vincent Wright described a turkey instead as a "Thanksgiving national bird." 1:03
Ernest Vincent Wright died just two months after publishing "Gadsby." 3:09
German-Language Writer Franz Kafka
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Franz Kafka was born on July 3, 1883 in Prague, Czech Republic. This German-language writer penned novels and short stories, including "Metamorphosis." He is regarded as one of the 20th century's most influential authors.