Judy Blume Is Among The Most Challenged Authors Of The 21st Century

"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.

Judy Blume on Banning Books

Hear the author's point of view on censorship, trigger warnings, and when book banning really gained steam.

Six Surprising Banned Books

Did you know people have tried to ban the dictionary?

Key Facts In This Video

  1. Since 1990, the American Library Association has received reports of more than 18,000 attempts to ban books from schools and libraries. 00:19

  2. Between 1976 and 1987, the American Heritage Dictionary was removed from schools in three states due to "objectionable language." 01:28

  3. Judy Bloom is one of the most frequently challenged authors of the 21st century. 02:41

Written by Curiosity Staff September 23, 2016

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