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BBW Day 3: Judy Blume visits StorySnoops today!

In the spirit of Banned Books Week, StorySnoops is hosting a series of interviews with our friends in the literary world.  BBW is the American Library Association’s annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment.  It highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States.  We hope you enjoy reading about these different points of view!  We really enjoyed putting this series together!

Our guest today is beloved author Judy Blume.  More than 80 million copies of her books have been sold and her works have been translated into 31 languages.  This highly acclaimed writer is the recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Library of Congress Living Legends Award, and the 2004 National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.  Judy is one of the most frequently banned writers in America, having found herself in the middle of an organized book banning campaign in the 1980s.  Since then she has championed intellectual freedom, working with the National Coalition Against Censorship to protect the freedom to read.

Judy asked that we use some of her previously released statements as answers to two of these questions.  However, we are snoopy Snoops and just had to throw a couple of extras in there for her!

What effect does a censorship climate have on a writer?

Chilling. It’s easy to become discouraged, to second-guess everything you write.  I’ve never forgiven myself for caving in to editorial pressure based on fear, for playing into the hands of the censors. I knew then it was all over for me unless I took a stand. So I began to speak out about my experiences. And once I did, I found that I wasn’t as alone as I’d thought.

You must have been surprised when people began to take issue with your themes about real-life adolescent experiences.

I wrote Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret right out of my own experiences and feelings when I was in sixth grade. Controversy wasn’t on my mind. I wanted only to write what I knew to be true. I wanted to write the best, the most honest books I could, the kinds of books I would have liked to read when I was younger. If someone had told me then I would become one of the most banned writers in America, I’d have laughed.

What’s your biggest fear about censorship with regard to young people today?

What I worry about most is the loss to young people.  Some people would like to rate books in schools and libraries the way they rate movies: G, PG, R, X, or even more explicitly. But according to whose standards would the books be rated? I don’t know about you but I don’t want anyone rating my books or the books my children or grandchildren choose to read. We can make our own decisions, thank you. Browsing at the library or in the books on our shelves at home, allowed me to find and read books I can still recall, books I might otherwise never have read.  I’m thankful my parents encouraged me to read.  Reading was a good thing in our family, not something my parents feared.

We have always wondered how you could possibly understand exactly what we all felt and experienced as young girls, both spoken and unspoken.  How do you do this?

I can’t explain it.  It’s just something I can do.  I know that’s not a satisfying answer — maybe it’s that I identify so closely with kids, am able to connect one-on-one with them.  Does it have to do with my ability to remember my own childhood so vividly?  I’m sure that’s part of it.  It’s just such a part of me I don’t question it.

Thanks for taking a few minutes with us, Judy!

Judy continues to write for young adults.  A film version of Tiger Eyes is tentatively scheduled to start shooting in October.  Keep an eye out for it in theaters!

Join us again tomorrow when Abby the Librarian stops by. Click here to see all of our interviews in the Banned Books Week series.

-The Snoops

10 Responses to “BBW Day 3: Judy Blume visits StorySnoops today!”

  1. OIF Blog » Banned Books Week Day 3: News and Videos Says:

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  2. Books a million censorship | People, Fun and Other Cool Stuff Says:

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  4. Mary @ Book Swarm Says:

    Oh, Judy Blume, where would the women of my generation (and this generation, too) be without you? Such fantastic books that really SPOKE to me in a way that a lot of the other books didn’t (Sweet Valley High, for example. Fun books but absolutely nothing like my life or what I was going through.).

    Thank you so much for this awesome interview with a pioneer of realistic YA fiction!

  5. Meagan Says:

    Thank you so much for this interview with the one and only Judy Blume! I borrowed it for my library’s facebook page (linking back to StorySnoops, of course).
    http://www.facebook.com/AlvinShermanLibrary

  6. Free to Read | Mighty Little Librarian Says:

    [...] there to read it!!! While you’re over there, make sure to read their other interviews with Judy Blume, Abby the Librarian, Meg Cabot, Carol Rasco, Ellen Hopkins, and Karen Yingling. I also got a [...]

  7. women health resources Says:

    Oh, Judy Blume, where would the women of my generation (and this generation, too) be without you? Such fantastic books that really SPOKE to me in a way that a lot of the other books didn’t (Sweet Valley High, for example. Fun books but absolutely nothing like my life or what I was going through.).

    Thank you so much for this awesome interview with a pioneer of realistic YA fiction!

  8. » Blog Archive » Nerd Alert! » Children's Book Reviews by StorySnoops - Our Blog Says:

    [...] but I didn’t spare Judy. I guess I didn’t scare her away because she STILL let us interview her. Easily – one of the high points of my life. (I TOLD you this post would make me look like a [...]

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