Why Judy Blume, the Queen of Young Adult Literature, Received 700 Death Threats in One Day (2023)

Judy Blume is having a moment.

Yep, the 85-year-old American author of coming-of-age classics is finally getting what he deserves, between an upcoming adaptation of Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret (starring Rachel McAdams and some good '70s hits) and a new documentary entitled Judy Blume Forever.

Who is Judy Blume?

Blume burst onto the literary scene and captured the hearts and minds of young people around the world when Margaret was published in 1970.

Why Judy Blume, the Queen of Young Adult Literature, Received 700 Death Threats in One Day (1)

She would write a series of children's and youth classics, including Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing (1972), Forever (1975) and Tiger Eyes (1981), as well as books for older readers such as Wifey (1978).

Together, his 29 books have sold over 90 million copies worldwide.

ABC RN's For Everything! Host Beverley Wang isn't exaggerating when she says, "[Blume] is almost solely responsible for the YA genre."

The new documentary Judy Blume Forever delves into the author's story, tracing how she evolved from an anxious Jewish child with a vivid imagination growing up in New Jersey, to a bored housewife who makes up stories to entertain her two young children, to a poor writer and divorced. Titan. — and these days a retired author runs a bustling bookstore in Florida.

Why Judy Blume, the Queen of Young Adult Literature, Received 700 Death Threats in One Day (2)

(Video) Watch: TODAY All Day - May 15

Why do her books matter?

It has the phrase "We must, we must, we must increase our bust!" mean something to you? Maybe "Like my mother said, you can't go back to holding hands" sounds more familiar.

The first comes from Margaret and the second from Forever, both books that took the trials and tribulations of womanhood seriously and portrayed them in a far more realistic light than any previous high school textbook.

Why Judy Blume, the Queen of Young Adult Literature, Received 700 Death Threats in One Day (3)

"[His books] dare to acknowledge the existence of sex, menstruation, masturbation... and question religion. It's all about the inner life of young people," explains Wang.

Blume especially managed to capture the awkward in-between stage, when you're 11-12 and have one foot in childhood and one foot in adulthood.

"Judy Blume's strength is that she has this ability to really portray the inner lives of young people...and she describes their concerns and desires without judgment," says Wang.

Davina Pardo, who co-directed Judy Blume Forever, told Stop Everything!: "I got my period when I was 10... ... [and] being part of a conversation with Margaret and her friends that I haven't had in my own life was incredibly comforting.

How did Blume write so well in the eyes of young people?

Blume has impressive memory powers when it comes to her own childhood.

"[And] that memory extends to emotions," explains Pardo.

“She remembers what it's like to be a kid, feeling like your parents don't understand you, or your brother is driving you crazy, or your body is confused... She's able to tap into those feelings seemingly so easily. And she pours that empathy and that memory onto the page in a way that she really resonates with kids."

Why were these books so controversial?

Before Blume, young people rarely had the opportunity to read about issues that directly affect them. Blume took the taboo – birth control, puberty, bullying, divorce – and made it popular.

Wang says, "When I look back... [to] the pre-internet era in which she was writing and the way she put everything into children's books, it was incredibly radical, then and even now."

No wonder his books became coveted items passed between friends.

But these themes were also why Blume's novels were banned from libraries and schools in some southern states.

Judy Blume Forever co-director Leah Wolchok grew up in one of those states in the 1980s when Blume's books were banned.

She told Stop Everything!: “We shouldn't be reading books about a girl asking God or wanting her period or breasts… [or] touching herself.

"I wish I had read those books as a kid. I think I would have felt a lot better about myself if I had."

So why has there never been a documentary about this legend before?

Pardo says, "I think Judy wasn't ready to do that until very recently. She's been incredibly busy creating this work... and recently running the bookstore.

"As soon as she accepted the idea of ​​doing this [Margaret] adaptation and making a documentary, it all happened at the same time."

Describing convincing Blume to participate in the documentary as a kind of courtship, Pardo says Blume recently said, "I want to be here to see them [these projects]. I want them to happen, while I'm alive and I can be part of the process."

What did we learn from the documentary?

Wolchok says, "I think one of the biggest surprises [for us as filmmakers] was realizing the depth of his connection with his readers."

From the moment Margaret hit the stands, Blume began receiving thousands of fan letters. Blume often wrote back and engaged in decades-long correspondence with some readers, including two who appear in the documentary.

Why Judy Blume, the Queen of Young Adult Literature, Received 700 Death Threats in One Day (4)

Pardo says, "I knew the books were groundbreaking in many ways. I didn't realize how groundbreaking she was in her personal life."

"She struggled with society's expectations in many ways throughout her life: deciding to become a writer... [and] entering this male-dominated industry and leaving a marriage she wasn't happy in, even though divorce was kindly taboo. in season."

In the face of death threats (she once received 700 in one day and was the target ofa pamphlet by Phyllis Schlafly), Blume was an outspoken activist against censorship and book bans.

Amidst a new wave of US book bans (Forever was banned in Blume's home state of Florida again this year.) she continues to fight and work with organizations like the National Coalition Against Censorship.

Wolchok says, "Writers who are black or brown writing black or brown characters, or writers who are queer or trans writing queer or trans characters, these are the books that most need to be out in the world right now; that most need to be on the shelves of our classrooms, in our libraries. And these are the books that are being challenged, and Judy fiercely defends these authors."

Why Judy Blume, the Queen of Young Adult Literature, Received 700 Death Threats in One Day (5)

The documentary also includes interviews with writers and actors Molly Ringwald, Lena Dunham and Anna Konkel (Pen15co-creator), all hardcore Blume fans.

"Blume laid the groundwork for the work they all do. Not just the questions and emotions their characters had, but also their imperfections, their flaws," says Wolchok.

Where can I watch Judy Blume Forever?

It is available to stream on Prime Video.

What about Rachel McAdams' haircut and Margaret's new movie?

While there have been a few small film adaptations of Blume's books in the past, this is the first big-budget film adaptation of Margaret, her most beloved book.

The movie - starring Rachel McAdams (and her very trendy '70s shaggy haircut), Kathy Bates and Abby Ryder Fortson as the titular pre-teen - received rave reviews (although, oddly enough,It was a failure at the US box office.).

Lauren Mechling em The Guardianwrote: "The film is a fun comedy that is also a fantastic evocation of the fear and longing that comes with standing on the precipice of adulthood."

With reviews like this, we're eagerly awaiting an Australian release date.

Loading content from YouTube


What is in the unlikely event by Judy Blume about? ›

In the Unlikely Event is a 2015 novel by Judy Blume. It follows fifteen-year-old Miri Ammerman and her family and friends as they cope with three plane crashes from December 1951 to February 1952 in their home of Elizabeth, New Jersey.

What happens in the book Forever Judy Blume? ›

Forever is the story of young love between Katherine and Michael. Seniors in high school, they meet and cannot get enough of each other. As young relationships are wont to do, they get very serious about one another very quickly and their relationship becomes more physical in nature.

What is the meaning of unlikely event? ›

If something improbable should occur. For example, In the unlikely event that I'm held up, please cover for me, or In the unlikely event that we should have snow in May, we're still well equipped to cope with it.

What is the probability of an unlikely event? ›

An unlikely event would have a probability between 0 and ½. A likely event would have a probability between ½ and 1.

What is the theme of the story forever? ›

Katherine and Michael fall in love quickly and earnestly, promising each other “Forever” (79), and through their relationship, the novel explores the challenges of first love. While Katherine and Michael's relationship is meaningful to both, they learn that first love does not always necessarily mean last love.

Who is Judy Blume summary? ›

Judy Blume has an influence all her own. Throughout her career, she has written books for children, young adults, and adult readers. Blume is known for her frank depictions of issues facing children and teenagers. As a result, in the 1980s an organized effort was made to ban her books from libraries and schools.

What is an example of unlikely to happen? ›

There are unlikely to be many such cases. The second would be highly unlikely to happen now. It is now unlikely to join the fleet until next month.

What does in the likely event mean? ›

A likely event is an event which will probably occur. The probability of a likely event occuring is close to 1. Examples. Tossing one hundred coins and getting at least one head. Rolling two die and getting a sum greater than or equal to three.

What is an unlikely event closer to? ›

The probability of an event which is very unlikely to happen is closest to zero and from the given options 0.0001 is closest to zero.

What are the 3 types of probability? ›

Three Types of Probability
  • Classical: (equally probable outcomes) Let S=sample space (set of all possible distinct outcomes). ...
  • Relative Frequency Definition. ...
  • Subjective Probability.

What is an event very unlikely to happen if probability is closer to? ›

The probability of an event which is very unlikely to happen is closest to zero and from the given options, it is 0.0001.

What is the moral of the story themes? ›

Theme is the central idea of a text that is implied by the author several times in a book or a story while moral is the message or the lesson that the author wants readers to get from the story.

Why do we remain oblivious to the future? ›

For instance, “we remain oblivious to the future” speaks of a lack of knowledge and preparation, which indicates that we are walking blindly into what awaits us. Contrariwise, we are “lost to the past,” meaning we are essentially slaves to it, as if fighting to break free is a “lost” cause.

What can be written at the end of a story to explain the meaning and theme? ›

The epilogue of a book is a section of writing at the end that takes place outside of the setting, perspective, or frame of the story. It's often intended to provide closure and resolution by explaining what happens after the main narrative arc has come to an end.

Why is Judy Blume important? ›

Ever since she began writing in the 1960s, Judy Blume has taken the world by storm with her countless books for children, young adults, and adults. She is best-known for her young adult novels, which deal with controversial subjects such as puberty, sex, religion, bullying, and depression.

What is the writing advice from Judy Blume? ›

Award-Winning Author Judy Blume Shares 6 Inspiring Tips From 50 Years of Writing (and 85 Million Books Sold)
  • Write the book you want to read. ...
  • Character is paramount. ...
  • The first draft is "pure torture." ...
  • Writing is rewriting. ...
  • Don't let the critics stop you from writing. ...
  • Write because you have to.
Jan 19, 2018

What audience does Judy Blume write for? ›

Over the years, Blume's writing has matured and her audience has expanded with each new book. While she at first wrote for younger children, as Blume's audience aged she began writing for adolescents and later for adults.

What age are Judy Blume books aimed at? ›

Amazon.com: Judy Blume - Ages 9 To 12: Books.

What did Judy Blume enjoy as a child? ›

Judy Blume grew up in Elizabeth, New Jersey, the setting of many of her books. As a child, she dreamed of being all kinds of things — detectives, a spy, an actress, even a cowgirl, but never a writer. Though she loved to read and made up stories for her paper dolls, it never occurred to her that she could be a writer.

How many Judy Blume books are there? ›

What is Daisy's condition in the unlikely event? ›

Daisy learned shortly after her wedding that her sexual organs had not matured due to an unnamed congenital condition. A visit to a doctor revealed that she would always remain child-like and would never be able to engage in sexual activity or have children.

Is Forever by Judy Blume appropriate? ›

Forever is written for an older age group than Judy Blume's other novels for children. It caused a storm of controversy when it was first published because of its explicit sexual content.

What was Daisy's problem? ›

Brittany Murphy as Daisy Randone, a sexually abused eighteen-year-old girl with OCD who self-harms and is addicted to laxatives. She keeps and hides the carcasses of the cooked chicken that her father brings her in her room.

Why was Daisy rejected? ›

The reason behind her being rejected and scrapped was because it was deemed too scary for young children, with many of the children in test audiences crying during Daisy's performances. Unlike other rejected toys in Poppy Playtime, Daisy has her own cutout, voice lines, and collectible.

What makes Daisy a bad person? ›

She is often considered callous, spoilt and heartless for her pursuit of wealth and her abandonment of Jay Gatsby. However, perhaps this is an unfair judgement, and she is simply a victim of her situation and the materialistic world she lives in.

Is every last word appropriate for 13 year olds? ›

This book is for mature tweens/teens. Overall, there are some really good messages. This is a must read for anyone who is interested in a story about acceptance with friends.

Is me before you age appropriate? ›

Me Before You is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for thematic elements and some suggestive material.

What age should read Never Let Me Go? ›

Parents Need to Know

Though this book, by one of England's most acclaimed living novelists, was written for an adult audience, the teen and young adult characters make it appealing to younger readers, and the prose is simple and straightforward enough to make it accessible to readers aged 12 and up.

What is the main message the author wants to tell the reader? ›

The term theme can be defined as the underlying meaning of a story. It is the message the writer is trying to convey through the story. Often the theme of a story is a broad message about life. The theme of a story is important because a story's theme is part of the reason why the author wrote the story.

What is It's Not the End of the World Judy Blume about? ›

It's Me, Margaret, Judy Blume's classic It's Not the End of the World is a sensitive, honest story of family separation. Karen's parents have always argued, and lately they've been getting worse. But when her father announces that they're going to get divorced, it seems as if Karen's whole world will fall apart.

What is the main idea of Judy Blume Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing? ›

Lesson Summary

Sibling rivalry is one theme in the book, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, by Judy Blume. Another theme is love of family: family is important and we overlook problems because of that love. Finally, the book also shows us that one way to deal with problems is through a sense of humor.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Madonna Wisozk

Last Updated: 02/01/2023

Views: 6045

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (48 voted)

Reviews: 87% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Madonna Wisozk

Birthday: 2001-02-23

Address: 656 Gerhold Summit, Sidneyberg, FL 78179-2512

Phone: +6742282696652

Job: Customer Banking Liaison

Hobby: Flower arranging, Yo-yoing, Tai chi, Rowing, Macrame, Urban exploration, Knife making

Introduction: My name is Madonna Wisozk, I am a attractive, healthy, thoughtful, faithful, open, vivacious, zany person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.