February 14th, 2009 | Published in Google Books
My bookshelves at my parents' home are filled with children's literature, and one of my favorite authors growing up was Judy Blume, who turned 71 yesterday. On a recent trip back home, I spent quite some time in my old room, reflecting on books that affected me most as a child growing up in Israel. Yet this visit was different from previous trips back home. I was thinking about these books not just as an adult but also as the parent of a newborn spending her first autumn at her grandparents' home. Which books will she be reading when she grows up? Will she join the family club of Judy Blume aficionados?
Looking back at my teen years, one of my favorite books was Blume's Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. I was in awe of her ability to capture the confusion, angst, and the whole range of emotions I was feeling in those crucial years. In Deenie and Blubber, I learned how important acceptance is, while Tiger Eyes taught me about coping with death. I was fascinated by the tense friendships in Just as Long as We're Together. And as the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, I connected on a very personal level with Blume's Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself which deals with antisemitism.
When my daughter turns 10, we'll share laughs reading Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and Superfudge, and as she grows older I will introduce her to more of Judy Blume's work. As someone who cherishes her childhood books and who's helped preserve children's songs, I hope that generations to come will keep reading and learning from Judy Blume's classics. To Life, Judy Blume!