Judy Blume—Saving Kids with Books

Who is your author heroine? Who wrote that book that saved you or made you feel less alone or made you see the world and yourself in a different way?

My heroine is the extraordinary Judy Blume! As a child, I ate up her books. I saw myself in her characters, and I learned from the conflicts and struggles of Margaret, Deenie, Sheila, Linda, and Katherine.

I remember reading ARE YOU THERE GOD IT’S ME MARGARET in fourth grade. It was a secret read. A friend had somehow “acquired” the book, and we passed it around, reading it in private. Later we huddled together at recess and compared notes. It led to many more huddles where we now felt empowered to discuss and question taboo subjects, like puberty, sex, and religious beliefs. Judy Blume’s books made us feel less alone and less confused—able to explore our own identities.

Over the years Judy Blume's books have been challenged and banned for exploring “inappropriate” topics, but thank goodness she wrote the truth and didn't worry about what people thought. Deeply committed to children's intellectual freedom, Judy Blume has become a leader in the anti-censorship movement, always stressing the importance of offering kids a wide variety of books.

Books are an ideal way for parents and teachers to communicate with kids about topics, like discrimination, disability, bullying, and sexuality. Watch this awesome  Reading Rockets interview with Judy Blume about communicating through literature . . .

Judy Blume has always filled a gaping hole on bookshelves for kids  and is now filling bookshelves at her new bookstore, Books & Books Key West in  Florida!

For a future post I’ll be putting together a list of books that can create conversations with kids about important subjects, so please share any of your favorites in the comment section below!