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ENG 237: Young Adult Literature and Literacy: Sample Annotations

Sample Annotations

Below, you'll find sample sources and annotations written for resources related to Judy Blume's Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. Notice how each annotation evaluates a source by summarizing, assessing, and reflecting on its included information. Also, take note of the variety of source types included in this bibliography. As you review them, consider how you might explore similar or different sources to learn more about the book you will eventually have to defend.

 

(Note: Because of the limitations of this web software, there are some issues with the format of this annotated bibliography. Make sure to consult your assignment rubric, the MLA Style Guide, and your course instructor for specific formatting requirements.)

 

 

 

 

Fink Storm, Lisa. “A Case for Reading - Examining Challenged and Banned Books.” ReadWriteThink, http://www.readwritethink.org/classroom-resources/lesson-plans/case-reading examining-challenged-410.html?tab=1#tabs.

Lisa Fink Storm, project manager at the National Council of Teachers of English’s ReadWriteThink and former k-4 educator, provides this lesson plan for teaching challenged and banned books. NCTE’s ReadWriteThink is a digital resource co-sponsored by the International Literacy Council.  The ReadWriteThink page’s lesson plans are all reviewed and approved by literacy experts working in the field before publication. This lesson plan can be used to introduce students to the concept of censorship and to teach students how to identify parts in books that may be censored. Then, students write an essay that advocates for or against certain texts in the classroom. Included in this lesson plan are student activities, rubrics for grading these assignments, and further reading for both the instructor and students. The main assignment is a persuasion map where students can plan their arguments for their persuasive essay. Additionally, there are bookmark printouts that allow for students to easily mark the page and note specific passages that they think may contribute to a book’s censorship. Storm also links to the American Library Association’s “Most Frequently Challenged Books.” Six of Judy Blume’s books are included on this list, including Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. Using Blume’s text, in particular, for this lesson provides an opportunity for students to critically evaluate what they are reading and begin to understand how realistic fiction for young readers, while sometimes challenged, is personally valuable for them.

Harris, Charlaine. “Review of Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume. Rhapsody in Books Weblog, 18 December 2009,   https://rhapsodyinbooks.wordpress.com/2009/12/18/review-of-are-you-there-god-it’s-me-margaret-by-judy-blume/.

This review, written by Charlaine Harris on her personal blog, Rhapsody in Books, offers a shortsummary of Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. Harris ranks this book a 4 out of 5 and even recommends this book to every preteen that she knows. More importantly, Harris  uses personal anecdotes to argue for, the importance of a book like this for young girls; she lists endlessly talking on the phone, buying sanitary pads at the drugstore, and breast enhancing exercises as experiences that she shares with the novel’s main character, Margaret Simon. Comparing her own story of growing up as  a white suburban teen

to Margaret’s, Harris demonstrates how closely Blume’s story mirrors the coming of age experience of many preteen girls. While her evaluation doesn’t explicitly state this as the book’s value for young readers, it is easy to see how this mirroring normalizes young girls’ completely natural, albeit sometimes embarrassing, transition from child to teen. In addition to presenting this argument as a reason for inclusion of this text in the classroom, this review, as previously mentioned, can be used to provide a synopsis for a more general audience of prospective readers or parents who might be in doubt about the book’s merits.

 

Krasner, Jonathan and Joellyn Wallen Zollman. “Are You There God? Judaism and Jewishness in Judy Blume’s Adolescent Fiction.” Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies, vol. 29, no 1., 2010, pp. 22-47, Academic Search Premier, doi: 10.1353/sho.2010.0063.

Lehmann-Haupt, Christopher.   “Some Good Children’s Books” Books of the Times, New York Times: 9 December, 1970.  59. Print.

Lehmann-Haupt, apparently unimpressed with 1970’s selection of books for children, offers a year-end review of a variety of texts.  Editor of the New York Times Book Review between 1969 and 1995, Lehmann-Haupt had written thousands of book reviews before his death in 2018. This review, a year-end overview of new literature for children published in 1970, begins with a warning.  Lehmann-Haupt notes that “a hard search through several hundred [new books] turned up only one superb example. . . and only a handful of others that roused the reviewer from his end-of-the-year stupor.” He places Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret in this category.  The review includes brief summaries of offerings for several different age-groups: “Picture Books,” “Ages 6-9,” “Ages 9-12,” “Teen Age,” and “All Ages” (E.B. White’s canonical classic The Trumpet of the Swan appears here).  Lehmann-Haupt places Blume’s novel in the pre-teen category for readers ages 9-12, and lauds Blume’s “touching humor.”  While the review of Margaret itself isn’t terribly helpful--we barely get a plot summary--it’s quite useful to read the column as a sort of time capsule.  It’s important to notice that Blume’s novel is published in the same year as picture books by Maurice Sendak, and novels by Eugene Ionesco and E.B. White, so that we get a sense of the range of forms and styles available to readers in 1970.  Overall, however, the review is more useful as a marker of time than as an indicator of the novel’s literary or teaching merits.


Maynard, Joyce. "Coming of Age with Judy Blume." New York Times (1923-Current file), 03
 December, 1978, pp. 5-, ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times.

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