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One of America’s most treasured authors of children’s and young adult fiction, Judy Blume‘s voice broke the mold. Known for her honest take on controversial topics like menstruation, masturbation, teen sex, and birth control, Blume’s writings have been banned by hundreds of libraries and beloved by millions of readers around the world – with classics like Superfudge, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret translated into 32 languages.
In a selection of her own favorite books provided to Strand Books, Blume included classic works of fiction by Saul Bellow, Joyce Carol Oates, and Philip Roth, along with Ludwig Bemelmans’ 1939 masterpiece Madeline. Find a list of Judy Blume’s book recommendations below, and for a deeper look into her creative process – from character development to dialogue and storytelling – check out her Masterclass on writing timeless stories.
Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
“The first book I fell in love with at the Elizabeth (NJ) public library. I found it on my own, memorized it (I must have been around four and couldn’t read yet). I loved it so much I hid it so my mother would not be able to return it to the library. I thought it was the only copy in the world. To this day I feel guilty. It was the first book I bought for my daughter’s library when she was born.” -JB
“One of the books I found in the bookshelves flanking the fireplace in our living room. I was 12 and interested in the world of adults and the secrets they kept from children. I still remember a steamy scene involving an eagle, one I must have read hundreds of times. Fortunately, my parents placed no restrictions on what books I could read. In our house reading was a good thing.” -JB
“I had two small children. They were playing in the backyard sandbox. It was summer. Bath time came and went, suppertime came and went. But I could not put down this book. It was unlike anything I’d ever read. When my then husband came home and found me reading and the children still playing outside, he was not happy. But I was.” -JB
“One of my go-to novels for inspiration as a writer. It never fails to amaze me.” -JB
Martha Quest by Doris Lessing
“I was swept into another world by these five novels. I went from reading one to another to another. Still, the first, Martha Quest, remains my favorite. It was my husband, George, who introduced me to them.” -JB
(via Strand Books)