Happy Birthday, Judy Blume.

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):

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Kristen Simmons: Mixed Race, Half Enough?

ya author kristen simmons

YA author Kristen Simmons has an interesting article over at Medium:

Mixed Race, Half Enough?

I would also strongly recommend reading the comments in the Twitter discussion.

Simmons is half-Japanese and half European, and she discusses the issues she encounters both in real life, and with people in the book community who think her mixed race characters are either a cop-out or tokenism.

Much of Simmons’ issues come with the fact she’s not considered “Japanese enough”.

A lot of prominent people in publishing and book blogging have a lot of opinions about the representations of culture and race in books, and – more often than not – I find they’re people who have no experience with what they’re talking about.

Harlequin Teen Rebranded

This week Harlequin Teen – the young adult branch of Harlequin books (obviously) – is being rebranded as Inkyard Press.

Maybe an attempt to attract more diverse readers who are turned off by Harlequin stereotypes…? The stereotypes frustrate me, but I kind of understand if that’s the case.

There are some interesting books in this line due out next year, covering the kind of topics that wouldn’t be accepted by other Harlequin lines (e.g. abortion).

Harlequin Teen Becomes Inkyard Press++

The Week: 22nd – 28th October

White Spring Flowers Blue Sky Canberra Australia 25th October 2018 Sonya Heaney Sunshine Garden Nature

Spring sunshine – and a spring sunset – in Canberra.

Only days to go before I fly to China!

A Book for the Anniversary: Goodbye for Now by M.J. Hollows

Goodbye for Now by M.J. Hollows

Babies in Young Adult Fiction

Revisiting Madeline Hunter

A Devil of a Duke (2018) (The second book in the Decadent Dukes Society series) A novel by Madeline Hunter

Out Now: A Stage Full of Shakespeare Stories by Angela McAllister (author) and Alice Lindstrom (illustrator)

A Stage Full of Shakespeare Stories By (author) Angela McAllister Illustrated by Alice Lindstrom

On this day: British women prepare for invasion

The_British_Army_in_the_United_Kingdom_1939-45_Second World War Two 23rd October 1941 Women of Britains Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) operate a rangefinder during anti-aircraft

On this day 80 years ago

Babies in Young Adult Fiction

I was going to write some serious essay on the topic these tweets address, but I don’t think I need to. I’ve had multiple young adult stories ruined by the author rushing their adolescent characters into marriage and babies (and, in the case of more conservative books, marrying off characters in their teens so it’s “okay” for them to have sex!).

Maybe I’m weird, but never once as a teenager – not ever – did I want my teen heroines impregnated in the name of “romance”!

Twitter Conversation Link

Pregnancy in Young Adult Books Victoria Graveyard

Pregnancy in Young Adult Books PC Cast

Pregnancy in Young Adult and Romance Books M L Sparrow

The Week: 15th – 21st October

The gorgeous Friday we had in Canberra!

1 Currawong Garden Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 15th october 2018 Australian Birds Nature

2 Currawong Garden Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 15th october 2018 Australian Birds Nature

We had some beautiful spring weather in Canberra this week, but every time I tried to work outside, this currawong would steal my chair the second I stepped away from it!

What a stunning by-election result in Sydney last night. Maybe a message to the Federal Government to remind them Australia didn’t vote for the far-right government we were handed behind closed doors a few weeks ago…? May we please have an election NOW?!

Also, what stunning news out of Queensland. I didn’t expect it.

So many terrible things in the world this week. A question: when a Russian guy goes on a shooting rampage in Ukraine’s Crimea, killing more people than in high-profile Parkland, Florida, why does nobody seem to care? Why do we treat lives in one country as so much more important than lives in any other?

In fact, I was taught in *first semester* journalism at university that the media DOES consider people of different countries to matter more. We were taught (in one of the top two journalism courses in Australia) to start thinking of different countries as holding different levels of importance. It disgusted me back then, and it disgusts me more with each year.

Judy Blume on the Big Screen

My review of The Makings of a Lady by Catherine Tinley

Want to Read: Dominion by Peter Ackroyd

Royal Wedding

12 October 2018 Newlyweds Princess Eugenie of York and Mr. Jack Brooksbank leave following their wedding at St George_s Chapel in Windsor, England. © Getty Images +

Coming Up for Madeline Hunter

A Devil of a Duke (2018) (The second book in the Decadent Dukes Society series) A novel by Madeline Hunter

Judy Blume on the Big Screen

Are You There God It's Me Mrgaret by Judy Blume

It was announced a couple of days ago that Judy Blume’s 1970 book Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret is finally being turned into a movie.

You can read more about it HERE.

Here’s what the book is about:

“Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” No one ever told Margaret Simon that eleven-going-on- twelve would be such a hard age. When her family moves to New Jersey, she has to adjust to life in the suburbs, a different school, and a whole new group of friends. Margaret knows she needs someone to talk to about growing up-and it’s not long before she’s found a solution.

“Are you there God? It’s me, Margaret. I can’t wait until two o’clock God. That’s when our dance starts. Do you think I’ll get Philip Leroy for a partner? It’s not so much that I like him as a person God, but as a boy he’s very handsome. And I’d love to dance with him… just once or twice. Thank you God.