I know, I know, we are getting a plethora of Judy content right now – but isn’t it high time the woman had her moment? Time Magazine’s Influential that’s for damn sure. There is not a single contemporary of mine who doesn’t hear her name and say, “Oh I loved her books when I was growing up.” Judy is our apple pie nostalgia, our quintessential big sister, and most importantly, the one who told us that what we were exploring about ourselves was NORMAL. Better yet, let’s talk about it MORE. Not to mention her incredible staying power – I have fourth graders dipping into her books as we speak, and I fall right into it alongside them, mourning Deenie’s back brace and gasping at Fudge’s antics as I step back into those familiar worlds. Judy is truly a samepage queen, with books that span the youngest readers to adult novels. We never have to say goodbye to Judy, because she grows up and experiences life right alongside us. Yet more importantly, she sheds light on conversation topics that are at the heart of why I began this blog – when adults and young adults and children can use books to have important discussions focused on topics that matter, I really believe that we can build a better world. I can wax poetic about her contributions to the zeitgeist, her authenticity, and her activism work against censorship. But honestly, take some time and look her up yourself.
It’s interesting to me to think of the correlation between the characters Judy Blume created and what we might not have if she hadn’t graced our lives with her words. Is there no Beezus and Ramona without The Pain and the Great One, her picture book with Tomie dePaola and Irene Trivas? Do we not find our appreciation for characters who come on strong and assuming like Hermione Granger without witnessing the full emotional scope of Sheila Tubman from the middle grade Fudge series? Do we get to experience the sexual tension of Nick and Norah without Katherine and Michael from her YA capstone Forever? Perhaps we do, but I think we’re all willing to say that Judy went there first.