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"What effect does [the climate of censorship] have on a writer?....It's chilling.
It's easy to become discouraged, to second-guess everything you write. There seemed to be no one to stand up to the censors....so I began to speak out about my experiences. And once I did, I found that I wasn't as alone as I'd thought."
-- from Judy Blume's introduction to Places I Never Meant to Be
Judy Blume is not alone: Many of today's most distinguished authors of books for young people have found their work censored or challenged. Eleven of them have contributed original stories to this collection. Along with a story written by the late Norma Klein when she was a student at Barnard College, they comprise a stunning literary achievement as well as a battle cry against censorship.
Norma Fox Mazer
Walter Dean Myers
Susan Beth Pfeffer
Paul Zindel In this provocative collection, Judy Blume, the censors' favorite target, assembles an all-star cast of young adult writers who have themselves felt the pain of censorship. Each contributes an original short story and some highly quotable observations on their own experiences and feelings when under attack. "Where once I went to my writing without a backward glance," writes Norma Fox Mazer, "now I sometimes have to consciously clear my mind of those shadowy censorious presences." The entries range from Jacqueline Woodson's ironic story of a neighborhood's casual acceptance of arson, to Harry Mazer's touching tale of a tough kid redeemed by a little boy's adoration. Two stories are especially intriguing to connoisseurs of teen fiction: Chris Lynch's "Lie, No Lie"--a selection that appears not to have made the cut for his novel Whitechurch--in which Pauly sets his friend up for embarrassment in a gay bath house; and the late Norma Klein's "Something Which Is Non-Existent," a previously unpublished story written in 1959 when this much-censored author was in college. Other stories by Katherine Paterson, Rachel Vail, Julius Lester, Walter Dean Myers, Susan Beth Pfeffer, Paul Zindel, Norma Fox Mazer, and David Klass contribute to this showcase of stellar talent. (Ages 11 to 16) --Patty Campbell