Information: Deenie by Judy Blume was published in 1993 by Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books. ISBN: 0689866100
Plot Summary: In middle school, Deenie is told she has scoliosis and that now she has to wear a gigantic brace for the next few years under her clothes. Between scoliosis and the massive brace, everything about Deenie’s life is ruined. She can’t be on the cheerleading squad, make new friends, or get her first boyfriend. Worst of all, she has no choice, but to disappoint her overbearing mother by putting off her modeling career. Deenie has to figure out how to get her confidence back, even though everyone is looking at her differently now.
Critical Evaluation: Judy Blume is a classic Young Adult and Children’s author, who presents the story of Deenie in a very simple and clear way. Deenie is given, what she thinks is, the worst news with the back brace. But through the novel, Blume highlights the power of different perspectives that can force people to see what their life is really like and that maybe the situation isn’t as bad as they thought.
Reader’s Annotation: After being forced to wear a massive back brace, Deenie is struggling to keep her life together. But after getting to know a girl she used to make fun of, Deenie sees that life isn’t as bad as she thought.
Author’s Information: 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. Other recognitions include the Library of Congress Living Legends Award and the 2004 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 (Goodreads).
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Realistic Fiction
Curriculum Ties: (Florida State Curriculum Standards): Understanding Key Literary Ideas
Book Talk Ideas:
- Why do you think Deenie got so offended at the use of the word ‘disabled’?
- How could Deenie have improved her situation immediately, instead of overreacting?
Reading Level/ Age Interest: Grades 9-12 and Ages 15-18
Challenge Issues: Language, Masturbation
Challenge Defense File:
The System will select and maintain a comprehensive collection of print, non-print, audio visual and electronically accessed materials to meet the informational, educational, and recreational needs of the citizens of Sarasota County. The System will strive to offer wide ranging collections that meet the various ages, interests, educational levels, and cultural backgrounds of all members of the community and will provide collections through which an individual may explore all points of view and issues of interest. In making selections, the library staff will do so based upon principle rather than personal opinion, reason rather than prejudice, and judgment rather than censorship. Furthermore, staff will be responsive to public demand for materials of contemporary significance and interest, while balancing this with the need to collect and preserve materials of permanent value. While library staff makes material selections based upon the tenet of one system, one collection, selectors recognize the distinct characteristics and needs of the populace that each library services. Community profiles are used to guide selectors in efforts to develop special collections and to meet the unique patron needs within each library.
The ultimate responsibility for selection materials rests with the General Manager of Libraries and the Management Team, who in turn delegates selection responsibilities to the Collection Development Librarians (Sarasota County Policy).
Blume, J. (1993). Deenie. New York, New York: Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books. Deenie was written for high school students to help show them that a different perspective could improve their situations. Deenie is a relatable character who cares about a lot of the same things high school students do and goes through a lot of the same struggles with parents, teachers, and classmates.
Other recommendations like this book include: Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers, Size 12 Is Not Fat by Meg Cabot, and Under the Rose by Diana Peterfreund.
Active Listening Skills
- Remain calm
- Listen thoughtfully and carefully to any arguments for the collection
- Engage in a discussion that considers every concern, even if you do not agree
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Why I chose this book:
I chose this book because Judy Blume is one of the most relatable young adult and children’s authors around. While not everyone has to wear a brace like Deenie did, most high school students will have similar problems connecting with other students and overcoming insecurities.