On classic children’s and young adult author Judy Blume‘s eighty-first birthday, I’d like to remind people of the importance of “controversial” books for teens.
For some young people, these books – that conservative groups try their best to get banned – are the only way they learn about important issues in their lives. Blume’s Forever, published in 1975, taught some teens things they needed to know about sex when their parents and teachers refused to fill in the gaps.
A few years ago, in the ballet world, I came across a group of homeschooled Christian ballet students from America’s Mid-West.
These young teens had been blatantly lied to by their parents, and told that: #1 only gay men could get AIDS, and #2 that AIDS could only be contracted by men having sex with monkeys.
And this is a perfect example of why we need authors like Blume, and why libraries shouldn’t be pressured to ban them.
A side note: dance is possibly the world’s most gay-friendly profession. The parents might have been in for a surprise!
Here’s The Australian Ballet onstage, openly campaigning for marriage equality during curtain calls (before the law was passed):