Project Chickens before the Eggs – Lesson 80 – Good Egg Interview with Judy Blume

There are very few writers about whom one can say their thoughts; their words have made such an impact that the world is forever changed just because they came through.

You can say that about Judy Blume.

Is there anyone among us who has not read a Judy Blume book? We wondered how she could have known us so well when we read Are you There God? It’s me Margaret. When friends’ parents got divorced, It’s not the End of the World was passed around and when we were older, we sneaked furtive looks at Forever, the book that had a teen girl actually having sex. Before she was married. Because she thought she was in love. Imagine.

For many of her ideas and for her honesty, Judy was censored in schools, libraries, and by parents. Although it must have stung, to have your very own words spark such an outrage must have been one of the finest honors in her life. Through her words Judy got people to react and take action. Those are some powerful words.

To this day, Judy fights the good fight against censorship and has this to say:

I believe that censorship grows out of fear, and because fear is contagious, some parents are easily swayed. Book banning satisfies their need to feel in control of their children’s lives. This fear is often disguised as moral outrage. They want to believe that if their children don’t read about it, their children won’t know about it. And if they don’t know about it, it won’t happen.

Today, it’s not only language and sexuality (the usual reasons given for banning my books) that will land a book on the censors’ hit list. It’s Satanism, New Age-ism and a hundred other isms, some of which would make you laugh if the implications weren’t so serious. Books that make kids laugh often come under suspicion; so do books that encourage kids to think, or question authority; books that don’t hit the reader over the head with moral lessons are considered dangerous.

To this day, Judy continues to write for all age groups. What’s amazing is that our daughters (and even some of our sons) are still reading the books we read while young as well as newly written books. Judy has a way of capturing a simple, pure, and timeless honesty about what it’s like to grow up and live on this spinning planet of ours.

Judy shows resilience, endurance, and on top of that the woman can write. That’s one powerful combination that has clearly changed the world for the better.

When it came time to choose our “Judy Blume” chick, there was no discussion. The answer was obvious. Remember the smallest little Amberlink chick who got sick after one of her sisters died? The one that we put into a chick ICU box to keep her safe and warm? The little girl I held warm to my chest clucking to her softly, giving her encouragement to continue?

This is the chick that beat the odds and survived.

She is still the smallest of all her sisters but this little chick has spirit, pluck, and a heart bigger than all of the White Mountains in her new state. She’s independent, clever, strong, and still likes to snuggle down while you cluck gentle endearments into her ear.

Really, was there any other chick that would do?

It is with great honor and joy that I introduce to you the newest named addition to our flock: “Judy Blume”.

Our very own "Judy Blume" chick

Look! "Judy Blume" is wearing a crown in this photo

Good Egg Judy Blume’s Interview

What is the best advice an older relative or family member gave you?

My father told me to live life to the fullest, to make every day count. I try to remember that.

If you were given one wish to use anyway you wanted, what would you wish for?

A decent life for kids everywhere, where they have hope for the future and can dream about what they want to be when they grow up, knowing that anything is possible.

If you were allowed the use of a large billboard over a well traveled road, what would you put on the billboard?

Reading will change your life!

What’s the passion that drives you to get up every morning?

My work — knowing that today could be the day it all comes together. Unless it’s a Friday — then it’s tap dance class.

What is your ideal dinner? What would you eat and with whom would you share it?

Pasta with fresh veggies, a crunchy green salad, and a cupcake from Magnolia Bakery (in NY) — served at home in Key West under a starry sky, with my husband George for company, and Ella playing in the background.

Do you have any favorite chicken stories or memories?

Since I live in Key West, where chickens roam freely and are protected by law – I have more than one chicken story. My favorite is the day my husband was at the Post Office. When he returned to our Jeep and opened the door he found a newly laid egg in the driver’s seat. He brought it home, cooked it and ate it! Everyone who lives here can tell you a chicken story. We’re probably the most chicken friendly town in the US.

Thanks for being such a Good Egg Judy!

About Judy Blume

Judy Blume spent her childhood in Elizabeth, New Jersey, making up stories inside her head. She has spent her adult years in many places doing the same thing, only now she writes her stories down on paper. Adults as well as children will recognize such Blume titles as: Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret; Blubber; Just as Long as We’re Together; and the five book series about the irrepressible Fudge. She has also written three novels for adults, Summer Sisters; Smart Women; and Wifey, all of them New York Times bestsellers. More than 80 million copies of her books have been sold, and her work has been translated into thirty-one languages. She receives thousands of letters a year from readers of all ages who share their feelings and concerns with her.

Judy received a B.S. in education from New York University in 1961, which named her a Distinguished Alumna in 1996, the same year the American Library Association honored her with the Margaret A. Edwards Award for Lifetime Achievement. Other recognitions include the Library of Congress Living Legends Award, the 2004 National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, and in 2009 the University of Southern Mississippi Medallion for her lifelong contributions to the field of children’s literature.

She is the founder and trustee of The Kids Fund, a charitable and educational foundation. She serves on the boards of the Author’s Guild; the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators; the Key West Literary Seminar; and the National Coalition Against Censorship.

Judy is a longtime advocate of 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. Since then, she has worked tirelessly with the National Coalition Against Censorship to protect the freedom to read. She is the editor of Places I Never Meant To Be, Original Stories by Censored Writers.

Most recently Judy has completed a four book series — The Pain & the Great One books — for young readers, illustrated by New Yorker cartoonist James Stevenson, and she has begun work on a new YA novel.

Judy and her husband George Cooper live on islands up and down the east coast. They have three grown children and one grandchild.

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5 Comments

Filed under Good Egg Interviews, Project Chickens before the Eggs, Teaching kids

5 responses to “Project Chickens before the Eggs – Lesson 80 – Good Egg Interview with Judy Blume

  1. Gina

    I don’t know any other author who is as versatile as Judy Blume. Not only did she blaze the trail for YA authors, but her Fudge series for middle graders (especially boys) and her “grown-up” books are amazing, too!!

  2. Pingback: Authors kids can’t get enough of – Good Egg Chicken naming project update « Simple Thrift – creative living on less

  3. Pingback: Lesson 303 – Small town chicken – Chickey Cantor – does good « Lessons Learned from the Flock

  4. Just browsing through your posts and saw this one. It brings back some good memories. I remember when ‘Forever’ was doing the rounds in my boarding school – we read it in secret at night I think in case our super stern house warden confiscated it. I think I will let my little girl read it when she is a teenager – its a good start!

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