Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Judy Blume Interview

Growing up, Judy Blume was one my favorite authors. I read and re-read Superfudge and Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing until the pages fell out. And don't get me started on Forever . . ..

Now Judy has a new series of books out featuring "The Pain and the Great One" for a new generation of readers, and I was thrilled and super excited when I was asked to be a part of her blog tour.

Here are my questions and Judy's responses!

1) The characters in your books seem so authentic, and the issues and feelings they experience are just as relevant today as they were 20 years ago. How do you so effectively capture the point of view of children and young adults?

JB: I wish I knew. I connect with kids, I identify with them – always have.

2) As an author whose books have been challenged and as someone who opposes censorship, what advice can you give parents and children who want to speak out against censorship?

JB: Yes. Check out judyblume.com/censorship/toolkit.php

National Coalition Against Censorship put this tool kit together for my website. You’ll find out everything you need to know about fighting censorship there. But the first step is to get involved. Read the book that’s been challenged. Censors usually take words and phrases out of context. Remember, it’s never about just one book. If you say, “Well, I don’t care if they ban that book,” the next time it could be one of your favorites. Where does it stop? Where do you draw the line? The book that may be wrong for your child or your family may be the very book that’s perfect for another child or another family. That’s why it’s important to have a wide variety of books from which to choose. Intellectual freedom is one of our rights. It’s up to all of us to protect it.

3) What do you like the most about "The Pain and The Great One" series? Do you think your readers like the same things?

JB: I hope so! I like the humor. I love the illustrations by James Stevenson. I like the give and take between Jake and Abigail. I like their sensible parents. I like Mary, Jake’s first grade teacher who is based on my best friend from childhood who is also named Mary and who teaches first grade. And then there’s Fluzzy, the cat. Don’t get me started on Fluzzy!

4) The characters The Pain and The Great One are based on your son and daughter. Is Fluzzy the Cat's character based on a pet or person in your life?

JB: Let’s say that originally the characters were inspired by my daughter and son. By now Jake and Abigail have taken on their own lives, though I still get ideas from my grown children, as well as from my grandson. About Fluzzy…hmmm… We had a cat when my children were young, then another when they were teens. Now my daughter has the cat. He visits me every weekend during the summer. So I’ve been observing cats up close and personal for a long time. There’s a bit of each one in Fluzzy.

5) What question do you wish someone would ask, and what is your answer?

JB: I’m not going there!

(Shucks, I tried to get some "dirt" for you folks, but Judy wouldn't budge.)

Thank you so much Judy for taking the time to answer my questions. It was truly an honor.

Check out Judy's other stops on the tour:

12/1: Big A, little a
12/2: Bildungsroman
12/4: Jen Robinson’s Book Page
12/9: The Well-Read Child
12/10: Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
12/12: A Patchwork of Books


  1. Sorry the "dirt" question didn't pan out Jill. But still a fun interview! Thanks!

  2. I love James Stevenson's art work, too. He does wispy so well!

    Thanks for the interview.