- About the Contributors
- Chapter Abstracts
- The Fundamentals of Children’s Literature Criticism: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass
- Randall Jarrell’s The Bat-Poet: Poets, Children, and Readers in an Age of Prose
- Arnold Lobel’s <i>Frog and Toad Together</i> as a Primer for Critical Literacy
- Blending Genres and Crossing Audiences: Harry Potter and the Future of Literary Fiction
- Wanda’s Wonderland: Wanda Gág and Her Millions of Cats
- A Cross-Written Harlem Renaissance: Langston Hughes’s The Dream Keeper
- Dumbo, Disney, and Difference: Walt Disney Productions and Film as Children’s Literature
- Redrawing the Comic-Strip Child: Charles M. Schulz’s Peanuts as Cross-Writing
- The Cat in the Hippie: Dr. Seuss, Nonsense, the Carnivalesque, and the Sixties Rebel
- Wild Things and Wolf Dreams: Maurice Sendak, Picture-Book Psychologist
- Reimagining the Monkey King in Comics: Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese
- Froggy’s Little Brother: Nineteenth-Century Evangelical Writing for Children and the Politics of Poverty
- History in Fiction: Contextualization as Interpretation in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped
- <i>Tom Sawyer</i>, Audience, and American Indians
- Living with the Kings: Class, Taste, and Family Formation in Five Little Peppers and How They Grew
- A Daughter of the House: Discourses of Adoption in L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables
- Where in America Are You, God?: Judy Blume, Margaret Simon, and American National Identity
- Let Freedom Ring: Land, Liberty, Literacy, and Lore in Mildred Taylor’s Logan Family Novels
- “What Are Young People to Think?”: The Subject of Immigration and the Immigrant Subject in Francisco Jiménez’s The Circuit
- “My Book and Heart Shall Never Part”: Reading, Printing, and Circulation in the New England Primer
- Castaways: The Swiss Family Robinson, Child Bookmakers, and the Possibilities of Literary Flotsam
- Tom Brown and the Schoolboy Crush: Boyhood Desire, Hero Worship, and the Boys’ School Story
- Peter Pan as Children’s Theatre: The Issue of Audience
- <i>Jade</i> and the Tomboy Tradition
- Happily Ever After: Free to Be … You and Me, Second-Wave Feminism, and 1970s American Children’s Culture
- Paradise Refigured: Innocence and Experience in His Dark Materials
Abstract and Keywords
This article shifts the conversation about Judy Blume's Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret (1970) from the controversy over its discussions of puberty to the postwar debate over American identity engaged in by popular sociologists such as David Riesman. It also argues that Margaret's struggles with religious identity may be read as an early meditation on a post-ethnic identity widely embraced today. Blume's recognition of her childhood connection to Riesman's work is telling, for Riesman focuses recurrently on children throughout his book. In Are You There God?, Blume often seems to argue with Riesman as she develops characters and situations that demonstrate constant negotiations of the tension between individualism and conformity in American identity rather than simply illustrating them. Margaret's forays into varying religions are both funny and touching. The enduring popularity of Are You There God? has much to do with the universal interest in puberty.
June Cummins is Associate Professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at San Diego State University, where she specializes in children’s literature and Jewish American literature. She has published articles that incorporate a range of perspectives, including feminism, multiculturalism, consumerism, and American identity, and she writes about both American and British literature. She is currently working on a biography of Sydney Taylor, author of the All-of-a-Kind Family series.
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