Judy Blume will receive the EB White Award for Achievement in Children’s Literature
A couple of years ago I was reading Judy Blume’s In the Unlikely Event and became frustrated by the overwhelming number of characters and plots. So I did what any sane person would do in 2015 – I tweeted at her. Her reply was sweet and direct and basically went like this – “just read the book and it will make sense.”
Honestly, I should be embarrassed by my frustration and the tweet. If you can’t trust Judy Blume, who can you trust? For goodness sake, she taught me about bras, periods, and sex during the time in my life when everything was a hormonal blur of puberty.
Every girl read (and I hope still reads) Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. It was easy to commiserate the stress of periods, bras, and boys and that ever confusing time of “what’s normal” and “god, I hope I’m normal.”
But for me, the book that changed my world was Forever. I read it in a day, hiding in my room, and learning all about first love, romance, and the awkwardness of coming of age. I also decided then that I never wanted to have sex on an expensive, colorful rug – like ever – but that’s just me. Blume describes this first love in a basic, normal story. Girl and boy meet, they fall in love, they have sex, birth control is involved, and no one dies of a superhuman STD at the end (like some parents would have you think). For those of us who had parents who never wanted to have “the talk”, Blume’s novels were (and are) our outlet for discovery.
The American Academy of Arts and Letters will present Blume with a Lifetime Achievement Award for achievement in children’s literature. Blume, 79, has definitely earned it by creating stories that stand the test of time and characters that we love and identify with – even 40 years later.
I often think about her reply to my tweet, especially these days when life is so uncertain. Just keep going and it will all make sense. Congrats to Judy Blume and thanks for creating stories that we all love.