Blume, J. (1970). Are you there God? It’s me, Margaret. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Bradbury Press.
This book is listed as being for readers age 9-12 on Barnes and Nobel but this isn’t without controversy. There is discussion of puberty and growing up that some parents find unsuitable for younger tweens. There is also controversy about the book being Anti Christian because Margaret is growing up in a multiple faith household and trying to decide what she personally believes. While the book is controversial and frequently on lists of banned and challenged books it is also very popular for how realistic the story is. Many readers particularly young girls relate to Margaret’s struggle to fit in and find her own identity, The book has been a classic for several decades now because of this and has even been updated slightly to keep it realistic for new readers. Originally when Margaret finally gets her period she has to deal with pads that have to be worn with a belt, now she has pads with adhesive like girls starting their periods will be familiar with. I find it really interesting that this was changed as I read my mother’s old copy when i was a tween and was horrified by the thought of dealing with a belted pad. My mother assured me they didn’t make them that way anymore which was a huge relief but remembering worry this makes me appreciate the update.
This is a great and important example of realistic fiction. Part of what makes tweens so able to relate to this book is how personal it is for Judy Blume “When I was in sixth grade, I longed to develop physically like my classmates. I tried doing exercises, resorted to stuffing my bra, and lied about getting my period. And like Margaret, I had a very personal relationship with God that had little to do with organized religion” (Blume, n.d). It is important to keep books like this on the shelves as it demystifies the scary unknown of growing up. While it is true that this book is not suitable for every tween the decision of what is or isn’t appropriate for any youth to read is between themselves and their parents. The libraries job to provide materials for those who need them. This is an amazing funny story that is loved by many tweens and it belongs on library shelves.
Blume, J. (n.d.). Judy Blume on the Web: Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. Retrieved May 8, 2015, from http://www.judyblume.com/books/middle/margaret.php