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Judy Blume

Researcher: Christen Shaw

 

Judy Blume was born Judy Sussman on February 12, 1938 in Elizabeth, New Jersey. The daughter of a dentist and a homemaker, Judy dreamed of becoming many extraordinary things when she grew up. In her mind, she could see herself being a detective, a cowgirl, a famous actress, or a ballerina. She was highly imaginative and spent much of her time writing stories and making up characters in her head, but never wrote any of it down.

After graduating from an all-girls public high school on New Jersey, Judy attended college at New York University. There she met John M. Blume. They were married in 1959, Judy's junior year of college. In 1961 she received her bachelor's degree in education. That same year, she had her first child, her daughter Randy. In 1963, she had her son, Larry.

Judy and her family lived in suburban New Jersey. She had her degree, but never became a teacher. Much like when she was a child, she would daydream and write stories in her head as she did her household chores. She started to write her stories down when her children began preschool. After two years of rejection letters, Blume was feeling discouraged. She enrolled in a children's writing course at New York University. Although she believes no one can teach you how to write, she felt she needed the support and encouragement. When the session ended, she reenrolled and took the class again. During that second semester, she sold some of her stories to magazines, got her first picture book accepted for publishing, and wrote most of her book, Iggie's House. Since then, she has brought us many beloved stories like Are You There God? It's Me Margaret (1970), Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing (1972), Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great (1972), Blubber (1974), and Superfudge (1980).

John and Judy's marriage ended in 1975. The following year she married Thomas Kitchen, but in 1978, that also ended in divorce. In 1987 she married George Cooper, a non-fiction writer, and gained a stepdaughter, Amanda. Now, all three of their children are grown and they have one grandchild. In 1999, Judy's daughter Randy had her first book, Crazy in the Cockpit, published. It was dedicated to her mother.

Judy Blume has enjoyed a long writing career. She has written over 21 books and received over 90 awards, including thirty "Children's Choice" awards in the United States as well as some over-seas. In 1996, for her lifetime achievements, Blume won the American Library Association's Margaret A. Edwards Award. She is the founder of The Kids Fund, an educational charity foundation she established in 1981, a member of the Authors' Guild, the Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and a member of the Women's National Book Association.

Blume writes honestly and from the heart. Her stories draw from her experiences growing up and take place in places that she has lived or spent time. Many of her books are set in New Jersey, where she spent so much of her childhood. Her belief in that honesty and her willingness to address subjects that many kids struggle with, such as religion and puberty, are what many people love and relate to in her writing, but it has also made her books the target of censorship.


Bibliographic Citation Format:

Author's last name, first name, middle initial. "Title of biography." SPECTRUM Home & School Magazine. [http://www.incwell.com/Spectrum.html] (date accessed). © K. B. Shaw

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