Almost everyone has read at least one novel by Judy Blume, be it Superfudge or the classic Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. The characters were engaging and relatable and the plots were heartfelt, no matter what the setting.
Despite ending up on the banned book list for her novel Forever, which portrays a very candid and realistic account of teenage sexuality and love, we still managed to get our hands on her novels and enjoy them. Not only are her books fun, but they also had tons of lessons to be learned.
1. Kids can be cruel
Judy Blume's book Blubber is about how one girl can turn the whole class against someone. In fear of becoming the victim, kids will give into peer pressure and join the mean girl's rampage. The ending of the book just ends without any form of closure, but this relates to real life. There usually isn't an apology or a reason for the actions, it just ends one day.
2. Growing up isn't always easy
This lesson I learned from Starring Sally J Freedman as Herself, about a ten-year-old girl who moves from New Jersey to Florida after World War II. In her new home, she discovers racism is more common in the south and how to fit in at her new school. The beauty of this book is that there isn't a conflict, it's just the troubles of being a kid trying to adjust to the changing nature of life.
3. Your true friends will always be there for you
It's may be a cliche, but it's definitely a true one. When a new friend invades your tightly knit group, it can be a little scary. The important thing is that your friends will stay with you through the end.
4. Do what you love
Judy Blume is not one to hold her tongue. She is outspoken on issues she believes in, such as censorship. Some of Judy's best novels were featured on the banned book list. God forbid we can read books that deal with real life issues instead of wizards and sparkling vampires. But I digress—if there's anything I've learned from Judy, it's to do what you love and pay no mind to people who try to tear you down.
5. Shit happens
And there's nothing you can do about it. Life is just going to throw whatever it can at you. In most of Judy's novels, there isn't one huge central issue—it's all about dealing with life and it's daily obstacles. It's a simple concept, but yet relatable. When life gets you down, all you can really do is get back up and move forward.
In more ways than one, Judy Blume has been a mentor for me throughout my academic career. Whether I had my face buried in a book during study hall for entertainment or if I wanted advice, I could always count on her books.