I’ve put off writing about my favorite banned book this week because there are just so many to choose from. I’ve decided to go with ALL of Judy Blume’s books as my favorite banned books--because almost all of them have been challenged for one reason or another. I am grateful that my parents let me read whatever I wanted to growing up--or perhaps they just weren’t paying attention--because having the freedom to read is a gift.
When those books you want to read contain topics that you absolutely do NOT want to talk to your parents about, Judy Blume is a lifesaver. And contrary to censors' opinions, reading about someone doing something doesn't mean you're going to run out and do the same thing. Some of my favorites include the following Blume titles--I’ve also included the number of times they’ve been challenged in school and public libraries:
Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret: 7 challenges
Blubber: 15 challenges
Deenie: 13 challenges
Forever: 21 challenges
Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself: 3 challenges
Then Again, Maybe I Won’t: 12 challenges
Of those, I think Starring Sally J. Freedman As Herself is my favorite. I reread it a few months ago, and I was oblivious to the “profane, immoral, and offensive” content that parents have objected to. The worst thing I can remember is that Sally thinks Hitler is living in Florida.
When I was in middle school, Forever was a big deal. A BIG DEAL. Copies were always getting confiscated by teachers. I remember that my friend Carrie got in trouble for talking in science class and was banished to the science lab, a small room in between two regular classrooms. There she found a confiscated copy of Forever, which she snatched up, read, and then passed around. A true first amendment hero (and minor delinquent)!
There is good news: according to the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom, the agency that records information on challenged books, challenges are at their lowest since 1990.
You can look here for more information on challenged titles—lists of titles by year, lists of authors, classics that have been challenged and banned, and more.