At my elementary school, you had to get permission from your parents to check Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret out of the library. The permission books were kept in the librarian’s back room. My parents would have been fine with signing, but the mechanics of the whole thing were kind of a big deal, so I never got it from the library. In social circles it wasn’t considered an embarrassing book to carry around, not like Forever, so I ordered it from the book order, and loved it. I passed it on to my daughter when she was the right age for it. The book introduces things like puberty, faith, and growing older in a way that allows kids to consider the ideas and information privately. It allows readers to ruminate without making themselves vulnerable to others’ opinions.
This was the book to read in upper elementary school. I remember it being whispered about a lot among the girls and passed around with a certain page open. It was a book about sex, and of course we all wanted to know!
You could get it from the school library if you had a signed permission slip from your parents, but then the boys, and perhaps even the teacher, would see that you had the book, so that really wasn’t a viable option. At some point I got a copy of my own, which I still have. Strangely, I don’t have any memory of how I got it, but I remember it made a huge impression on me. It was a safe way to put myself in a situation I hadn’t encountered yet and allowed me to consider what sexual intimacy would mean for me.