These Books Made Me

Prince George's County Memorial Library System

These Books Made Me is a podcast about the literary heroines who shaped us and is a product of the Prince George's County Memorial Library System podcast network. Stay in touch with us via Twitter @PGCMLS with #TheseBooksMadeMe or by email at TheseBooksMadeMe@pgcmls.info. For recommended readalikes and deep dives into topics related to each episode, visit our blog at pgcmls.medium.com.

Alice in April
May 5 2022
Alice in April
In this episode we are diving into one of the books in the comprehensive Alice series (25 books!) by children's literature paragon Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. Alice in April covers one very dramatic month in the life of Alice McKinley. Journey with us and Alice through the awkwardness of middle school, complete with inappropriate nicknaming and sick burns about genitalia. We discuss some of the tough topics contained in this book, including death of a parent, child abuse, and suicide. While there are some heavy topics in the book, we also explore some lighter subjects and find out that one of our hosts retained virtually nothing from social studies class and another has a history of wearing lingerie over her clothes instead of under. We consult an expert on the state of Wyoming to find out why being named Wyoming might be a real compliment. These Books Made Me is a podcast about the literary heroines who shaped us and is a product of the Prince George's County Memorial Library System podcast network. Stay in touch with us via Twitter @PGCMLS with #TheseBooksMadeMe or by email at TheseBooksMadeMe@pgcmls.info. For recommended readalikes and deep dives into topics related to each episode, visit our blog at We cover some tough topics in this episode and in lieu of links to articles, we'd like to share some resources for anyone who needs them: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 Childhelp Hotline:   1-800-422-4453National Runaway Safeline: 1-800-RUNAWAY
Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.
Mar 24 2022
Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.
Judy Blume didn't intend to write one of the most frequently challenged and banned books of all time when she penned Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. She just wanted to write a book that captured the trials and tribulations of adolescence, complete with girl talk about bras, periods, and boys. We wonder why the pretty tame discussion of puberty, and a storyline about an agnostic 12 year old figuring out her relationship with God, organized religion, and her family, continues to scandalize Americans who just keep challenging the book into the ALA Most Frequently Challenged lists every decade. We deconstruct whether the book holds up 50 years later and try to figure out just why feminine hygiene products still give some folks the vapors. We learn about some pervasive myths about periods, play historical women's health trivia, and chat with a Peer Educator about the importance of quality sexual education for adolescents.These Books Made Me is a podcast about the literary heroines who shaped us and is a product of the Prince George's County Memorial Library System podcast network. Stay in touch with us via Twitter @PGCMLS with #TheseBooksMadeMe or by email at TheseBooksMadeMe@pgcmls.info. For recommended readalikes and deep dives into topics related to each episode, visit our blog at  We cover a lot of ground in this episode and used some books and articles as jumping off points. Here’s a brief list of some of them if you want to do your own further research:Judy Blume as accidental Censorship Fighting Firebrand:  Updated depiction of feminine hygiene products in the book:  Feminine products over the years:
American Girl - Josefina
Oct 21 2021
American Girl - Josefina
This episode marks our final foray into the American Girliverse and our season 1 finale. We delve into the world of Josefina Montoya,  our most introverted girl to date, but possibly the most resourceful. There is a piano disaster (and subsequent miraculous piano healing), a rattlesnake attack (and subsequent semi-miraculous healing), a deceased parent, a deceased goat, and a kind of squicky wedding. We discuss the great blanket gambit of 1824 and decide we may need to rebrand as a Tia Dolores stan account. Josefina introduces us to Florecita, truly the GOAT goat, whose passing we mourn to this day. We reminisce about our own families and traditions as we examine some of the Mexican roots of this series, from language to food to enigmatic musical fathers. We are also joined by a very special expert, Professor Tey Diana Rebolledo, who served on the AG advisory committee and has fascinating insights into the creation and legacy of Josefina. These Books Made Me is a podcast about the literary heroines who shaped us and is a product of the Prince George's County Memorial Library System podcast network. Stay in touch with us via Twitter @PGCMLS with #TheseBooksMadeMe or by email at TheseBooksMadeMe@pgcmls.info. For recommended readalikes and deep dives into topics related to each episode, visit our blog at                                                                               We mentioned a lot of topics and articles in this episode. Here’s a brief list of some of them if you want to do your own further research:Curanderismo: of fiber arts and textiles in New Mexico: Grande blankets and weaving history: not yuca (don't eat this kind):
American Girl - Addy
Oct 7 2021
American Girl - Addy
On we trek through the American Girls canon as we journey through Addy Walker's world. We explore the formation of the Addy advisory committee, Connie Porter's writing style, and the way the series presents slavery and the Civil War time period to children. We discuss how this Harriet also might be a sociopath and how colorism is depicted in the text and in the illustrations, with a sidebar about the controversy surrounding the Addy illustrators and their work. All of us want to wear Addy's Christmas dress, reminisce about double dutch, and wish we could give poor Sarah (who deserved a spinoff!) a hug. Once again we have some real questions about AG chronologies and the economy of spool puppets. We also talk about the impact of Addy and just how revolutionary the Addy doll's textured hair was. Sadly, we also discover that none of us are all that great at spelling bees. We are joined by a very special guest who is foundational to the creation of Addy Walker and her story. These Books Made Me is a podcast about the literary heroines who shaped us and is a product of the Prince George's County Memorial Library System podcast network. Stay in touch with us via Twitter @PGCMLS with #TheseBooksMadeMe or by email at TheseBooksMadeMe@pgcmls.info. For recommended readalikes and deep dives into topics related to each episode, visit our blog at                                                                                 We mentioned a lot of topics and articles in this episode. Here’s a brief list of some of them if you want to do your own further research: Links:The Creation of Addy Walker: Porter: Hair: bee words:
American Girl - Felicity
Sep 23 2021
American Girl - Felicity
We are diving back into the American Girl canon with Felicity Merriman. Felicity was a second wave American Girl and infamous horse thief. We learn about the author of the original six Felicity books (as well as several of our previous AG books), Valerie Tripp, and wonder whether the gender roles focus in the Felicity books is particularly successful or just kind of confusing. In this episode, we tackle some big issues with the framing of slavery and plantation life in both the fiction and non-fiction parts of the book. We also learn that Kelsey doesn't believe in animal best friends and that Hannah has some grave concerns about what happened to Posey the lamb. We debate whether Ben really has what it takes to make it as a soldier, Ella explores Felicity's historically inaccurate hair and suggests some improvements, and everyone learns that nobody's getting jiggy with it in debtor's prison. We'll also horse around with our community expert, Tara Roberts, who has some insights about that Felicity and Penny relationship.These Books Made Me is a podcast about the literary heroines who shaped us and is a product of the Prince George's County Memorial Library System podcast network. Stay in touch with us via Twitter @PGCMLS with #TheseBooksMadeMe or by email at TheseBooksMadeMe@pgcmls.info. For recommended readalikes and deep dives into topics related to each episode, visit our blog at                                         We mentioned a lot of topics and articles in this episode. Here’s a brief list of some of them if you want to do your own further research: Isaac and the Role of Black Soldiers in the Revolutionary War Prisons Housewives in Felicity Many Faces of Felicity
Matilda
Sep 8 2021
Matilda
We take a break from the American Girls (in more ways than one!) this week to discuss a British childhood classic of both page and screen, Roald Dahl's "Matilda". Matilda is a quintessential bookworm who uses her unmatched smarts and special powers to triumph over her less than ideal surroundings dominated by neglectful and at times abusive adults. In this episode, Hannah, Kelsey, and special guest/Matilda enthusiast Sarah discuss the eternal art vs. the artist debate, examine the various tropes of womanhood present, and *gasp* - consider whether the movie might be better than the book?! We also talk to Dr. Margaret Peterson from the College of Education at the University of Maryland about the depiction of teachers in children's literature.  These Books Made Me is a podcast about the literary heroines who shaped us and is a product of the Prince George's County Memorial Library System podcast network. Stay in touch with us via Twitter @PGCMLS with #TheseBooksMadeMe or by email at TheseBooksMadeMe@pgcmls.info. For recommended readalikes and deep dives into topics related to each episode, visit our blog at                                                                                 We mentioned a lot of topics and articles in this episode. Here’s a brief list of some of them if you want to do your own further research: Roald Dahl Family Apology for Anti-Semitic comments: of anti-semitism in Roald Dahl's works and personal life: in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Dahl's life: Stevens article that Kelsey cites re: at vs. artist debate: article about art and artists: that kids SHOULD read things that scare them: things actually just straight up go over kids heads. But not everything, which is why parent’s discretion is always suggested.