Maybe it was 40 years ago, but I remember it as vividly as if it had happened yesterday.
My older brother had some sort of illness, and my mother handed him Judy Blume’s “Forever” and whispered, “I think you might be old enough for this now.”
I watched him place it on the coffee table and an entire week went by without the book moving an inch. When the opportunity presented itself, I snatched it up and read it voraciously.
The book was based on the sexual awakening of young adults six or seven years ahead of me, but I loved it. I think I probably learned quite a bit, too.
I remembered this incident when I saw a quote from Judy Blume on Reddit in 2013:
“If you want [kids] to read my books, don’t tell them so. Maybe just leave around a paperback with a new cover and say, ‘I’m not sure you’re ready for that.'”
It was as if she could see right into my heart.
Recently I bought “Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret” on audiobook and began playing it in the car for my eight-year-old daughter. She was riveted and, during lunch, asked if we could continue listening on the way home.
The only other artist I’ve seen with that kind of multigenerational appeal is The Beatles.
One thing that I find just as wonderful as her books is her quotes.
Here are 10 of my favorites:
“That’s not a bad word…hate and war are bad words, but f*ck isn’t.”
“Something will be offensive to someone in every book, so you’ve got to fight it.”
“Librarians save lives: by handing the right book, at the right time, to a kid in need.”
“It’s all about determination, I think, as much as anything. There are a lot of people with talent, but it’s that determination.”
“Yes, I was a great daydreamer. You know what I worry about? I worry that kids today don’t have enough time to just sit and daydream.”
“I never planned to become an activist, but things happen. You either take action, or you don’t. Standing up and speaking out for what you believe in—well, it feels a lot better than doing nothing.”
“I’ve always believed that learning to think for yourself, learning to make intelligent, thoughtful decisions, is one of the most important parts of an education.”
“Life is a series of unlikely events, isn’t it?”
“How we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives.”
“I’m really quite bad at coming up with plot ideas. I like to create characters and see what will happen to them when I let them loose.”