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Sexual Honesty in Teen Literature

Sexual Honesty in Teen Literature

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How Blume's adolescent daughter helped compel her to write honestly about teen sex.

Judy's Biography

Cause of Choice: National Coalition Against Censorship
Early Career Ambitions: Cowgirl, movie star, or detective
First Book: She was paid $800 as an advance on her first book, The One in the Middle is the Green Kangaroo.
Advice on Writing: "I think it's a bad idea to think about your audience when you're writing. And it's a bad idea to think of your critics."

Judy Blume is one of America’s most beloved authors and one of its most vigilant and committed anti-censorship activists. Her 28 titles include Tiger Eyes, Forever, and Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. She’s dared to address the taboos of puberty and nascent sexuality and has been a funny and knowing voice for children and adolescents—particularly for girls and young women—for more than four decades. Over that time, her work has also widened to encompass the experiences of adult women and men. Her 1978’s bestselling novel, Wifey, plunged into the vertigo of the sexual revolution and proved Blume could boldly swim in the waters of both adult and children’s literature.  
 
Together, her books have sold more than 80 million copies in 31 languages, and have been a touchstone for countless young readers. The honesty comes at a price: the American Library Association has consistently placed Blume at or near the top of its list of authors most frequently banned. In turn, she has championed intellectual freedom by working diligently with the National Coalition Against Censorship to support teachers and librarians who fight to keep challenged books on their shelves. In 2004, Blume was awarded the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. Currently, she is working on a novel set in the 1950s in her hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey.

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