This Day In History: February 12

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On February 12, 1938, best-selling author Judy Blume, known for her children’s books and young-adult novels, including Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, is born in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Blume’s books have been beloved by several generations of readers; however, the explicit subject matter of some of her novels for adolescents has made them a target for censors.

Blume, born Judy Sussman, was raised in New Jersey and attended New York University, graduating in 1961 with a degree in teaching. She married while still a college student and had two children by the time she was in her mid-20s. In 1969, Blume published her first children’s book, The One in the Middle Is the Green Kangaroo. More fiction for grade-school-age readers followed, including Freckle Juice (1971), Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing (1972), Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great (1972) and Blubber (1974). In 1970, Blume published the young-adult novel Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. She went on to write other novels for adolescents, including Then Again, Maybe I Won’t (1971), Deenie (1973) and Forever (1975). Blume’s books, which realistically address such topics as menstruation, bullying, divorce, sexuality, friendships, family and body image, gained legions of young fans; however, their content frequently led them to be banned by school libraries. After her work was the target of an organized book-banning campaign in the 1980s, Blume became an anti-censorship activist.

In addition to writing for young readers, Blume has penned novels for adults, including Wifey (1978), Smart Women (1983), Summer Sisters (1998) and In the Unlikely Event (2015), all of which were best-sellers.

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