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  • Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret
  • Written by Judy Blume
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  • Written by Judy Blume
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On Sale: March 21, 2012
Pages: 160 | ISBN: 978-0-307-81774-7
Published by : Delacorte Books for Young Readers RH Childrens Books

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On Sale: January 11, 2011
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On Sale: December 29, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-307-73865-3
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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

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.

Excerpt

Are you there God? It’s me, Margaret. We’re moving today. I’m so scared God. I’ve never lived anywhere but here. Suppose I hate my new school? Suppose everybody there hates me? Please help me God. Don’t let New Jersey be too horrible. Thank you.


We moved on the Tuesday before Labor Day. I knew what the weather was like the second I got up. I knew because I caught my mother sniffing under her arms. She always does that when it’s hot and humid, to make sure her deodorant’s working. I don’t use deodorant yet. I don’t think people start to smell bad until they’re at least twelve. So I’ve still got a few months to go.
I was really surprised when I came home from camp and found out our New York apartment had been rented to another family and that we owned a house in Farbrook, New Jersey. First of all I never even heard of Farbrook. And second of all, I’m not usually left out of important family decisions.
But when I groaned, “Why New Jersey?” I was told, “Long Island is too social-Westchester is too expensive-and Connecticut is too inconvenient.”
So Farbrook, New Jersey it was, where my father could commute to his job in Manhattan, where I could go to public school, and where my mother could have all the grass, trees and flowers she ever wanted. Except I never knew she wanted that stuff in the first place.
The new house is on Morningbird Lane. It isn’t bad. It’s part brick, part wood. Also, there is a very nice brass knocker. Every house on our new street looks a lot the same. They are all seven years old. So are the trees.
I think we left the city because of my grandmother, Sylvia Simon. I can’t figure out any other reason for the move. Especially since my mother says Grandma is too much of an influence on me. It’s no big secret in our family that Grandma sends me to summer camp in New Hampshire. And that she enjoys paying my private school tuition (which she won’t be able to do any more because now I’ll be going to public school). She even knits me sweaters that have labels sewed inside saying MADE EXPRESSLY FOR YOU…BY GRANDMA.
And she doesn’t do all that because we’re poor. I know for a fact that we’re not. I mean, we aren’t rich but we certainly have enough. Especially since I’m an only child. That cuts way down on food and clothes. I know this family that has seven kids and every time they go to the shoe store it costs a bundle. My mother and father didn’t plan for me to be an only child, but that’s the way it worked out, which is fine with me because this way I don’t have anybody around to fight.
Anyhow, I figure this house-in-New-Jersey business is my parents’ way of getting me away from Grandma. She doesn’t have a car, she hates buses and she thinks all trains are dirty. So unless Grandma plans to walk, which is unlikely, I won’t be seeing much of her. Now some kids might think, who cares about seeing a grandmother? But Sylvia Simon is a lot of fun, considering her age, which I happen to know is sixty. The only problem is she’s always asking me if I have boyfriends and if they’re Jewish. Now that is ridiculous because number one I don’t have boyfriends. And number two what would I care if they’re Jewish or not?
Judy Blume|Author Q&A

About Judy Blume

Judy Blume - Are You There God?  It's Me, Margaret

Photo © Sigrid Estrada

Judy Blume spent her childhood in Elizabeth, New Jersey, making up stories inside her head. She has spent her adult years in many places doing the same thing, only now she writes her stories down on paper. Adults as well as children will recognize such Blume titles as: Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret; Blubber; Just as Long as We're Together; and the five book series about the irrepressible Fudge. She has also written three novels for adults, Summer Sisters; Smart Women; and Wifey, all of them New York Times bestsellers. More than 80 million copies of her books have been sold, and her work has been translated into thirty-one languages. She receives thousands of letters a year from readers of all ages who share their feelings and concerns with her.

Judy received a B.S. in education from New York University in 1961, which named her a Distinguished Alumna in 1996, the same year the American Library Association honored her with the Margaret A. Edwards Award for Lifetime Achievement. In 2004 she received the National Book Foundation's Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

She is the founder and trustee of The Kids Fund, a charitable and educational foundation. She serves on the boards of the Author's Guild; the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators; the Key West Literary Seminar; and the National Coalition Against Censorship.

Judy is a longtime advocate of intellectual freedom. Finding herself at the center of an organized book banning campaign in the 1980's she began to reach out to other writers, as well as teachers and librarians, who were under fire. Since then, she has worked tirelessly with the National Coalition Against Censorship to protect the freedom to read. She is the editor of Places I Never Meant To Be, Original Stories by Censored Writers.

Judy recently completed the final book in a series of four books for young readers, illustrated by New Yorker cartoonist James Stevenson which was published in May, 2009. The first, Soupy Saturdays with the Pain & the Great One, was published in September, 2007. The second, Cool Zone with the Pain & the Great One, was issued in May and Going, Going, Gone! with the Pain & the Great One, her third book in this series, was published August 12, 2008.

Judy and her husband George Cooper live on islands up and down the east coast. They have three grown children and one grandchild.

Author Q&A

An Interview with Judy Blume

When were you born?: February 12, 1938

Where were you born?: Elizabeth, New Jersey

Where did you go to school?: Public schools in Elizabeth, New Jersey; B.S., New York University, 1961

Were you a good student?
Yes, especially when the teacher made the subject come alive!


What were you like when you were growing up?
Small, skinny, a late developer. At first, very shy and fearful. Then, around fourth grade, much more outgoing. (I can't explain this change.) I enjoyed drama, dancing, singing, painting and performing. I loved to roller skate (we didn't have roller blades then). I also loved going to the movies and browsing at the public library. I was always reading something.


What were your favorite books?
The Betsy-Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace.



What was your family like?
A lot like the family in Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself. That's my most autobiographical book. Sally is the kind of kid I was at ten. My brother was like Douglas, Sally's brother.



Are any of your other characters based on you or your family?
Sheila, in Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great, has some of my childhood fears. And Margaret, in Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret., has many of the feelings and concerns I had when I was in sixth grade. But her family is very different from mine.


Where do you get your ideas?

I used to be afraid to answer that question. I thought if I ever figured it out I'd never have another one! But now I know that ideas come from everywhere--memories of my own life, incidents in my children's lives, what I see and hear and read--and most of all, from my imagination.




What about Fudge?
I knew you'd ask me about him! Fudge was based on my son, Larry, when he was a toddler. Larry never swallowed a turtle, though. That idea came from a news article about a toddler who actually did swallow one! Now Larry has grown up but I still get ideas form him. He's the one who told me about swallowing a fly while riding his bike. That's how I got the idea for the I.S.A.F. club in Fudge-a-mania.



Of all the books you have written, which is your favorite, and who is your favorite character?

An impossible question to answer. It's like asking a mother, which is your favorite child? Each one is special in a different way.



How old were you when your first book was published and which book was it?

I was twenty-seven when I began to write seriously and after two years of rejections my first book, The One in the Middle is the Green Kangaroo, was accepted for publication.



How long does it take you to write a book?

About a year, if there are no disruptions in my personal life and other professional obligations don't get in the way. What every writer needs is long blocks of uninterrupted time. You can't think if your life gets too busy!



Do you know the whole story before you start a new book?

No. But before I begin to write I fill a notebook, jotting down everything that pops into my head about my characters and story--bits of dialogue, ideas for scenes, background information, descriptions of people and places, details and more details. But even with my notebook, I still don't know everything. For me, finding out is the best part of writing.



What's the hardest part of writing for you?

I dread first drafts! I worry each day that it won't come, that nothing will happen.



Do you ever rewrite?

I love to rewrite! Once I have a first draft I'm able to relax. It's as if I have the pieces to a puzzle and all I have to do is figure out how to put them together. I actually enjoy second and third drafts. Only then do I share a new book with my editor. After we talk I do another rewrite and then a final polish.



Do you have a favorite place to write?

During the summer months (my favorite time of the year) we go to Martha's Vineyard, an island off the coast of Massachusetts. I have a tiny writing cabin there, far enough away from the house to feel very private. I get up early in the morning and work until noon. I wrote most of my latest book, Here's to You, Rachel Robinson, there. Sometimes I wish summer would last all year long.



Are you going to write more books?

I certainly hope so! I have two ideas right now but I'm not ready to talk about them yet. . .

Awards

Awards

WINNER 1975 Hawaii Nene Award

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