What can I say about Judy Blume? My most favorite book of sixth grade, Just as Long as We're Together - she wrote it. I think over the next few years, I read that book 10 times. The book that every 11-year-old girl should read, Are You There God, It's Me Margaret - she wrote it. The best books for little kids, The Pain and The Great One, Freckle Juice, Tale of a Fourth Grade Nothing and Superfudge - Judy Blume again. Seriously, generations have grown up with her books - the first was published in 1969. (She also writes for adults - I recently mentioned Summer Sisters in this post.)
There's a great story in our local paper about Blume. She talks about her writing, her three marriages, her father, her children, her fight against censorship and her philosophy of life. She's 70 years old, living in Key West most of the year, owning a local cinema with her husband and taking tap dance lessons (there's video of this if you're interested - lady can dance!). One of my favorite quotes from the article, Blume says, "When I started to write, I vowed I would never write books that kids would do book reports on. I wanted them reading me on window seats, under the covers with flashlights."
That's exactly what I did. I read them before bed, on the boat during the summer, in the car on long trips. She spoke to me as a young girl, as a new teenager. She knew what it was like to be (and demonstrated through her characters) teased by a brother, fighting with your best friends, confused by your body. She's truly a classic. Her books will never go out of style.
What about you? Are you a Judy Blume fan? Do you have a favorite book she's written? Were there other authors who spoke to you during your adolescent years?
[More notes: Judy Blume also makes a stop at our local Fitzgerald Theater next week, June 12, to talk about her new series of The Pain and the Great One books. You can also listen to a great interview with Blume on B&N's Meet the Writers. Her Web site is a kick, too, with her blog, her advice for writers and an archive of titles.]