In honor of Judy Blume’s 80th birthday on February 12, we're looking back at the author’s classic novels capturing the heartache and hilarious moments of childhood and adolescence. Although many of these classics were written in the 1970s and 1980s, the themes are timeless—dealing with a baby brother, confronting bullies and having a first crush. Here are some of our favorites.
We first meet Peter Hatcher, his “frenemy” Sheila and his obnoxious little brother, Fudge, in Tales of A Fourth Grade Nothing. Full of memorable characters and funny moments, this is a great read for kids 6 to 9 or a family readaloud, especially for kids with younger siblings.
In Superfudge, the fun continues as Peter’s family moves from New York City to New Jersey after Peter gets the news that there will be a Fudge No. 2: his baby sister, Tootsie. Fudge is now in kindergarten and the adventures continue as they both navigate the new school year.
Fudge-a-mania gives readers more of Peter, Fudge and his nemesis Sheila, from Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great. The Hatchers and Sheila’s family end up renting a vacation home together, and Peter develops his first crush—on a librarian (of course!).
First published in 1974, Blubber is on many anti-bullying reading lists. Linda, or Blubber, endures cruel pranks from her classmates, including Jill. But when the tables turn on Jill, she fully realizes how painful bullying can really be.
Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret is my absolute favorite of the Blume classics as it captures the innocence, confusion and full-on drama of being a preteen girl. When will my body begin to grow; does so-and-so like me; what do I do if he does? The list of endless questions occupied my sixth-grade brain, and this novel was perfect then and now for any tween entering the horrifying, yet memorable, middle school years.
Perhaps the most controversial because of the topics covered, Deenie is about a young beautiful woman coming to terms with a recent diagnosis of scoliosis, a curving of the spine. After shattering her mother’s dreams that she'll become a model, Deenie learns how to deal with her relationship with her parents, as well as with others and herself. This one's for older kids or teens.
Happy birthday and thank you, Judy Blume, for captivating our hearts with your stories for the past 40-plus years!
What's your favorite Judy Blume book?