Today in Literary History – February 12, 1938 – YA novelist Judy Blume is born

Judy Blume, the path-breaking American author of novels for young adults, was born on February 12, 1938. Her novels deal explicitly and realistically with everyday concerns of teen-aged girls and often serve young readers as a bridge between children’s books and more mature YA titles.

Her novels, mostly written in the 1970s, explored themes and subjects that weren’t usually covered in YA books. Blume’s 504509pcharacters dealt with problems like divorce, death, racism and bullying. Blume’s books are also known for their frank approach to sexuality, menstruation, birth control and masturbation.

Her best known novels — Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, Blubber, Deenie, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Forever and others — have become classics. Her books have also faced challenges because of their subject Judy-Blume-oldmatter and there have been many attempts to have them banned from libraries.

Still, her books have sold over 80 million copies, and have won countless awards. Blume often lends her name to organizations that defend the freedom to read and oppose censorship or banning of books.

Blume didn’t begin to write until her own children were preschoolers and she decided to try her hand at a teen novel. She turned out to quite a prolific writer and later in life began writing adult fiction as well, with several becoming New York Times bestsellers.

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