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Middle-Grade Books From the '80s That Are Still Worth Reading

Share part of your own childhood with these classic books from the '80s

Tina Cha
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Published on: October 16, 2020

Middle-Grade Books From the '80s That Are Still Worth Reading

‘Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.’ by Judy Blume

‘Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.’ by Judy Blume

This novel is a coming-of-age tale about a sixth-grader who moves to the suburbs from New York City. Margaret shares a one-sided conversation with God as she tries to navigate her way through the intricacies of friendships, crushes, religion and incipient puberty. There are a handful of themes that still ring true today. Mean girls also existed back in the ‘70s and ‘80s, for one. Margaret’s confusion about religion (one of her parents comes from a Christian background and the other is Jewish) is another topic that families face, and Blume provides an opportunity to openly discuss the questions that face an 11- or 12-year-old.

Discussions around religion and sex are the primary reasons why this book was challenged so frequently. Later editions have updated some references, including parts where Margaret practices using a feminine hygiene product. For girls who do not feel comfortable talking about periods or menstruation with an adult, Blume’s depiction of how to use a pad doubles as a how-to guide. Judy Blume remains a master of this type of writing.

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