Banned Books Week: Are you there God? It’s me, Margaret

To celebrate Banned Books Week 2011, the library will be posting reviews and commentary from college staff about their favorite banned books and why during the celebration.

By Steevigh Cwayna
Library Acquisitions Specialist

Growing up in the 1970s was strange enough, but having a fairly religious Polish/Catholic family in the 1970s was, looking back, really strange. My mother, bless her heart, never sat me down and told me what was going to happen to my body as I grew into my teen years, much less about the birds and the bees. I think she gave me the book “Are You There God, it’s Me, Margaret” so she wouldn’t have to. As a pre-teen girl, it answered questions I didn’t even know I had. Also, since most of my friends had a copy, I felt like I was part of the “in crowd.”

Imagine my surprise when I found out that this young girls “coming-of-age handbook” has ended up as one of the most often challenged books in the US! Young girls need this sort of information! What better way for a single father to tell his daughter about what to expect than to give this book to her! Margaret’s story shares her confusion of being a pre-teen girl whose body is developing (too slowly for her liking), and starting to think that boys maybe don’t have cooties after all. Margaret’s first crush, her first kiss and her begging God to make her “like everyone else” are something the readers can relate to even today. First published in 1970, and translated into 31 languages, it has been a valuable resource for countless pre-teen girls all over the world.


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