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Judy Blume to Receive NCTE Awards

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The National Council of Teachers of English announced today that it will present young adult author Judy Blume with two literary awards. She will accept both the NCTE/SLATE National Intellectual Freedom Award and the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of NCTE, or ALAN, Award in November, at the NCTE Annual Convention in Boston, Mass.

NCTE offers the National Intellectual Freedom award annually to "honor individuals, groups, or institutions that merit recognition for advancing the cause of intellectual freedom," according to the awards webpage. Blume—who has written well-known and controversial books such as Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret (Yearling, 1970) and Tiger Eyes (Bradbury, 1981)—is receiving the award not only for her efforts to write "unflinchingly honest" books, but also because "she has responded with encouragement and support when her books were challenged or banned all across the nation," according to ReLeah Lent, the chair of the NCATE/SLATE awards selection committee, who was quoted in the announcement. According to Lent, Blume has "has written countless letters, made phone calls to both supporters and detractors, and often appeared in person to become the voice of reason not only for her own books but for the principles of intellectual freedom in general."

Blume has written five of the titles that appear on the American Library Association's "100 Most Frequently Challenged Books: 1990-1999" list, and four of the titles that appear on their follow-up list, "Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009." (Next week, Sept. 22-28, 2013, brings this year's Banned Book Week, a national celebration of the right to read.)

As an organization, NCTE is dedicated to improving the teaching and learning of English language arts for students at all levels of education. It has 35,000 individual and institutional members worldwide. ALAN is a special interest group affiliated with NCTE.

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