A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Could be used by parents to start many tricky discussions, from periods and bras to boys, religion, and more. It can show young girls that it's OK to feel unsure and provide scenarios that help them work through complicated thoughts about themselves and the increased presence and impact of outside influences like friends and media.
You're not alone in feeling unsure about who you are or wanting to grow up quickly. As Margaret shows, it's OK to not always find an answer. The world gets complicated. Keep investigating your feelings.
Positive Role Models
Readers will find it easy to relate to Margaret, who says "I want to be like everybody else." In her one-sided conversations with God, she's very honest with her feelings, even when she has to admit that she's jealous. She's not perfect, but she feels bad when she hurts other people and is quick to say she's sorry.
Margaret is the child of a Jewish father and a Christian mother. She spends the book trying to figure out what, if anything, she personally believes and whether she wants to formally belong to a religion. Margaret struggles with body image. Author Judy Blume addresses these issues of identity with humor and earnestness. Book also subtly tackles patriarchy, as Margaret's internal conversations with God give her the confidence to reject society's expectations for girls.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Margaret sneaks her father's copy of Playboy magazine for her friends to look at. She and her friends talk about periods, bras, and the boys in class that they like. At a party, the kids play "Two Minutes in the Closet" and other kissing games.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Judy Blume's Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret. presents a relatable perspective of a tween/young teen. It came out in 1970, so some of the situations and references may seem dated to today's readers who are grappling with social media, cyberbullying, and school shootings. But the underlying issues of peer pressure, social acceptance, and religion are still current struggles for many tweens. So readers will find it easy to relate to an honest Margaret, who says, "I want to be like everybody else." There's some talk about periods, boys, bras, and body types -- and Margaret sneaks her father's Playboy for her curious friends to look at. She and her friends gossip about the most-developed girl in class, and at a party, the kids play "Two Minutes in the Closet" and other kissing games (but these elements aren't presented in ways that sexualize preteens). Margaret grapples with some big questions about growing up, including what religion she should practice (if any). She talks to God in a very personal way and at one point even gets so angry at him that she refuses to talk to him anymore. Ultimately, tweens learn that they're not alone in wishing that they could hurry up and grow up. This book is considered a classic, yet it has been frequently challenged due to its frank discussion of religious and sexual topics.
Is It Any Good?
Although this was first published in 1970, tweens will find that it still pretty much rings true today. (It helps that this updated version of Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret. has the girls using pads instead of sanitary belts to deal with their first periods.) Margaret is such a relatable character: She worries about being "normal," sometimes says the wrong thing, and even hides her true feelings to be accepted by her friends. Readers will appreciate her honest narration -- which will make them feel a whole lot better about their own anxieties about growing up.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.