Judy Blume (born Judith Sussman; February 12, 1938) is an American
writer known for children's and young adult (YA) fiction. Some of
her best known works are
Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret (1970),
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing (1972),
Deenie (1973), and Blubber
(1974). The New Yorker has called her books "talismans that, for a
significant segment of the American female population, marked the
passage from childhood to adolescence."
Publishing her first novel in 1969, Blume is credited as one of the
first authors to write YA novels about topics that some still consider
to be taboo. According to Blume, "I wanted to be honest. And I
felt that no adult had been honest with me. We didn't have the
information we should have had." Blume has received praise for
addressing the common, but often unspoken worries of her fans from
masturbation and menstruation to teen sex, birth control, and death.
This has also led to criticism from individuals and groups that would
like to see her books banned. The American Library Association
(ALA) has named Blume as one of the most frequently challenged authors
of the 21st century.
Despite her critics, Blume's books have sold over 82 million copies
and they've been translated into 32 languages. She has won a number
of awards for her writing, including ALA's Margaret A. Edwards Award
for her contributions to young adult literature. She was recognized
Library of Congress Living Legend and she was awarded the 2004
National Book Foundation medal for distinguished contribution to
1 Early life
3 Personal life
3.1 Marriages and family
5 See also
7 Further reading
8 External links
Blume was born on February 12, 1938, and born and raised in Elizabeth,
New Jersey, the daughter of homemaker Esther (née Rosenfeld) and
dentist Rudolph Sussman. She has a brother, David, who is five
years older. Her family was Jewish. Blume has recalled, "I spent
most of my childhood making up stories inside of my head." She
Battin High School
Battin High School in 1956, then enrolled in Boston
University. In the first semester, she was diagnosed with
mononucleosis and took a brief leave from school before graduating
New York University
New York University in 1961 with a bachelor's degree in
Education. In 1951 and 1952, there were three airplane crashes
in her hometown of Elizabeth. 118 people died in the crashes, and
Blume’s father, who was a dentist, helped to identify the
unrecognizable remains. Blume says she "buried" these memories until
she began writing her 2015 novel In the Unlikely Event, the plot of
which revolves around the crashes.
A lifelong avid reader, Blume first began writing when her children
were attending preschool, and she was living in the New Jersey
communities of Plainfield and Scotch Plains. She published her
first book, The One in the Middle Is the Green Kangaroo, in 1969. The
decade that followed proved to be her most prolific, with 13 more
books being published, including many of her most well-known titles,
Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. (1970), Tales of a
Fourth Grade Nothing (1972), Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great
(1972), and Blubber (1974).
After publishing novels for young children and teens, Blume tackled
another genre—adult reality and death. Her novels Wifey (1978) and
Smart Women (1983) reached the top of
The New York Times
The New York Times Best Seller
list. Wifey became a bestseller with over 4 million copies sold.
Blume's third adult novel,
Summer Sisters (1998), was widely praised
and sold more than three million copies. It spent 5 months on The
New York Times Bestseller list, with the hardcover reaching #3
and the paperback spent several weeks at #1. Several of
Blume's books appear on the list of top all-time bestselling
Blume's books have sold over 82 million copies and they've been
translated into 32 languages.
Judy Blume has won more than 90
literary awards, including three lifetime achievement awards in the
US. The ALA
Margaret A. Edwards Award recognizes one writer and a
particular body of work for "significant and lasting contribution to
young adult literature". Blume won the annual award in 1996 citing
the single book Forever, published in 1975. According to the citation,
"She broke new ground in her frank portrayal of Michael and Katherine,
high school seniors who are in love for the first time. Their love and
sexuality are described in an open, realistic manner and with great
compassion." In April 2000 the
Library of Congress
Library of Congress named her to its
Living Legends in the Writers and Artists category for her significant
contributions to America's cultural heritage. In 2004 she received
Distinguished Contribution to American Letters Medal of the
National Book Foundation as someone who "has enriched [American]
literary heritage over a life of service, or a corpus of
The film version of Blume's 1981 novel
Tiger Eyes was directed by the
author's son, Lawrence Blume. Released in 2012, it stars Willa Holland
as Davey and
Amy Jo Johnson
Amy Jo Johnson as Gwen Wexler.
Throughout Blume's career, she has also made efforts to advocate for
organizations that support intellectual freedom. "Finding herself at
the center of an organized book banning campaign in the 1980's she
began to reach out to other writers, as well as teachers and
librarians, who were under fire." This led to Blume joining the
National Coalition Against Censorship. All of her efforts go into
helping protect the freedom to read. She is also the founder and
trustee of a charitable and education foundation, called "The Kids
Fund." Blume serves on the board for other organizations such as, "the
Author's Guild; the Society of Children's Book Writers and
Key West Literary Seminar; and the National
Coalition Against Censorship."
In October 2017, Yale University acquired Blume's archive, which
included some unpublished early work.
Marriages and family
On August 15, 1959, in the summer of her freshman year of college, she
married John M. Blume, whom she had met while a student at New York
University. He became a lawyer, while she was a homemaker before
supporting her family by teaching and writing. They had two
children: Randy, a therapist (born 1961); and Lawrence Andrew, a
filmmaker (born 1963). The couple separated in 1975 and were divorced
by 1976. Blume later described the marriage as "suffocating",
although she maintained her first husband's surname. Blume has
stated that Lawrence was the inspiration for the character of "Fudge."
Blume has one grandchild from her daughter, Randy - a grandson named
Elliot Blume-Pickle. Elliot is credited with encouraging his
grandmother to write the most recent "Fudge" books.
Shortly after her separation, she met Thomas A. Kitchens, a physicist.
The couple married in 1976, and they moved to
New Mexico for Kitchens'
work. They divorced in 1978. She later spoke about their split: "It
was a disaster, a total disaster. After a couple years, I got out. I
cried every day. Anyone who thinks my life is cupcakes is all
A mutual friend introduced her to George Cooper, a former law
professor turned non-fiction writer. Blume and Cooper were married in
1987. Cooper has one daughter, Amanda, from a previous marriage.
They reside in Key West.
Blume announced she was diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2012
after undergoing a routine ultrasound as she was preparing to leave
for a five-week trip to Italy. She stated that she had been diagnosed
with cervical cancer 17 years earlier, and had a subsequent
Judy Blume bibliography
Blume's novels for teenagers tackled racism (Iggie's House),
menstruation (Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.), divorce (It's
Not the End of the World, Just as Long as We're Together), bullying
(Blubber), masturbation (Deenie, Then Again, Maybe I Won't) sexuality
(Forever), and family issues (Here's to You, Rachel Robinson). Blume
has used these subjects to generate discussion, but they have also
been the source of controversy regarding age-appropriate reading.
Children's literature portal
^ "Judy Blume", Contemporary Authors Online, Detroit: Gale, 2016,
retrieved 5 Apr 2016
^ Holmes, Anna (22 Mar 2012), "Judy Bume's Magnificent Girls", The New
Yorker, retrieved 5 Apr 2016
^ Pen Pals with
Judy Blume in conversation with Nancy Pearl, Friends
of the Hennepin County Library, 2015, retrieved 5 Apr 2016
^ a b c 1996
Margaret A. Edwards Award Winner, Young Adult Library
Services Association (YALSA). American Library Association, 1996,
retrieved 5 Apr 2016
Judy Blume and Lena Dunham on What It's Like to be Pioneers in
Sexual Frankness", WorldNews (WN) Network, 7 Dec 2013, retrieved 5 Apr
^ a b c d e Flood, Alison (11 Jul 2014), "Judy Blume: 'I thought, this
is America: we don't ban books. But then we did'", The Guardian,
retrieved 5 Apr 2016
^ a b Most frequently challenged authors of the 21st century, American
Library Association, retrieved 5 Apr 2016
^ a b c d e Pryor, Megan, Judy Blume: Biography, Facts, Books &
Banned Books, retrieved 5 Apr 2016
^ Gottlieb, Amy. "JUDY BLUME b. 1938".
Jewish Women: A Comprehensive
Jewish Women's Archive (jwa.org). Retrieved
^ a b c Blume, Judy. "Judy's Official Bio".
Judy Blume on the Web.
^ Brown, Helen. In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume, review: 'a slice
of life', The Guardian, June 2, 2015.
^ "How I Became an Author",
Judy Blume on the Web, retrieved 5 Apr
^ Goldblatt, Jennifer. "Blume's Day", The New York Times, November 14,
2004. Accessed October 1, 2015. "It wasn't until after Ms. Blume had
gotten her bachelor's degree in education from
New York University
New York University in
1961, was married and raising her son, Larry, and her daughter, Randy,
and living in Plainfield and later Scotch Plains, that she started to
commit her stories and characters to paper, cramming writing sessions
in while the children were at preschool and at play."
^ "Paperback - The Best-Selling Children's Book of All-Time".
Infoplease.com. Retrieved 2009-05-15. Through 2000. Reprinted
from Publisher's Weekly, copyright 2002.
^ Flora, Carlin (January 1, 2007). "Judy Blume: Mating IQ"[dead link].
^ Lopez, Kathryn Jean (September 30, 2000). "Early Blumers: In defense
National Review Online
National Review Online Weekend. National Review.
^ Best Sellers: August 16, 1998. The New York Times
^ Paperback Best Sellers: May 30, 1999. The New York Times.
^ Paperback Best Sellers: June 12, 1999. The New York Times.
^ "Biography of Judy Blume". Incredible People: Biographies of Famous
People. incredible-people.com. Archived from the original on March 11,
2015. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
^ D'Ooge, Craig. "News From the Library of Congress". Library of
Congress. USA.gov. Retrieved 2015-03-11.
^ "Distinguished Contribution to American Letters". National Book
Foundation. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
^ Wyatt, Edward (September 15, 2004). "Literary Prize for Judy Blume,
Confidante to Teenagers". The New York Times.
^ Vilkomerson, Sara (February 24, 2012). "Judy Blume's 'Tiger Eyes'
movie". Entertainment Weekly.
Judy Blume Archive Strengthens Beinecke Young Adult Collections
Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library".
beinecke.library.yale.edu. Retrieved 2017-10-10.
^ Tracy, Kathleen (2007). Judy Blume: A Biography. New York City:
Greenwood. p. 152. ISBN 0313342725.
^ Susan Dominus. "
Judy Blume Knows All Your Secrets", The New York
Times, May 18, 2015. Retrieved May 18, 2015.
^ "Judy Blume". NNDB. Retrieved 2011-07-24.
^ a b Green, Michelle (19 Mar 1984), "After Two Divorces, Judy Blume
Blossoms as An Unmarried Woman—and Hits the Best-Seller List Again",
People, retrieved 2010-12-10
^ Blume, Judy (30 Jun 2004), "Smart Women",
Judy Blume on the Web,
retrieved 5 Apr 2016
^ "Double Fudge",
Judy Blume on the Web, retrieved 5 Apr 2016
^ Richards, Linda L. (2008). "Judy Blume: On censorship, life, and
staying in the spotlight for 25 years". January Magazine. Retrieved
^ Whitworth, Melissa (February 8, 2008). "Judy Blume's lessons in
love". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2009-05-12.
^ Kindelan, Katie (September 5, 2012). "
Judy Blume Shares Breast
Cancer Diagnosis". ABC News. Retrieved 2012-09-06.
Blume, Judy (1999). Authors and Artists for Young Adults (Gale
Research), 26: 7–17. Summarizes and extends 1990 article, with more
emphasis on Blume's impact and censorship issues. By R.
Blume, Judy (1990). Authors and Artists for Young Adults (Gale
Research), 3: 25–36. Incorporates extensive passages from published
interviews with Blume.
Lee, Betsy. Judy Blume's Story, Dillon Pr., 1981.
Find more aboutJudy Blumeat's sister projects
Media from Wikimedia Commons
Quotations from Wikiquote
Data from Wikidata
Judy Blume on IMDb
Most frequently challenged authors of the 21st century at American
Library Association Banned & Challenged Books
Works by Judy Blume
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing
Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great
The One in the Middle Is the Green Kangaroo
Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.
Then Again, Maybe I Won't
It's Not the End of the World
Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself
Just as Long as We're Together
Here's to You, Rachel Robinson
In The Unlikely Event
Non-fiction and others
Judy Blume Diary
Letters to Judy: What Kids Wish They Could Tell You
The Pain and the Great One
Places I Never Meant to Be
ISNI: 0000 0001 1302 3744
BNF: cb118924511 (data)