Growing Reader

Tween

Teen

Judy Blume Forever:
The Perfect Blume Book at Every Age

by Devon A. Corneal

Image credits: Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing; Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret; Tiger Eyes; Wifey.

This week I went to the library and checked out all the Judy Blume books on the shelves. Predictably, someone had beaten me to Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. It was like being back in school, except in the interim someone changed all the cover art and I didn’t have to hide my copy of Forever underneath my desk. I rediscovered Dribble and Superfudge, cringed my way through Blubber, sympathized with Sheila the Great, and got a little nauseous thinking about pickle juice.

For nearly half a century, Judy Blume has been the author kids go to for honest stories about families, school, friendship, puberty, racism, death, sex, and, of course, freckles. Blume changed the landscape of children’s and teen literature by telling truthful stories about the topics other authors avoided, and did so with subtlety and compassion. There aren’t villains or heroes in her books, not really, just people grappling with real life and all its messy complexity. When she finished with stories for kids, she wrote books for adults because it turns out grown-ups have messy lives too. If you or your children haven’t yet discovered the magic that lies between the covers of her timeless stories, we’ve made it easy for you. Check out our “Best of Blume” list below and get reading.

  • Tween

  • Blubber

    Also available from:

    In this wrenching story of bullying, Blume shows the ugly side of teasing gone too far and the consequences of complacency in the face of cruelty. When Jill’s friends begin bullying a classmate, Jill joins in. But it isn’t long before she realizes that bullies are never satisfied with one target.

    Also available from:
  • Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret

    Also available from:

    An entire generation of girls learned about menstruation, training bras, and boys from Blume’s memorable protagonist Margaret Simon. But even more central to the story is Margaret’s search for religious identity. The half-Catholic, half-Jewish, 12-year-old Margaret has a lot to deal with and Blume guides readers through her journey with equal parts humor and respect.

    Also available from:
  • Deenie

    Also available from:

    Deenie could be a model (according to her mother) or a cheerleader (according to Deenie). Or she could hang with her friends and talk about her crushes like most seventh grade girls. Unfortunately, Deenie is diagnosed with scoliosis, and the treatment means she’ll live in brace from her neck to her hip for four years. Suddenly, Deenie’s world unravels and she has to decide who she is when everything has changed.

    Also available from:
  • Iggie’s House

    Also available from:

    Winnie can’t wait to meet the new family moving into her best friend Iggie’s house. Unfortunately, when the new neighbors arrive, Winnie is the only one who greets them with enthusiasm. Blume tackles racism head on in this story of a young girl’s discovery that her openness to change isn’t universal.

    Also available from:
  • Teen

  • Tiger Eyes

    Also available from:

    I love all of Judy Blume’s books, but I think she is her most masterful when she’s writing for adolescents. She has a way of describing the challenges and barrage of emotions that young people on the cusp of adulthood face without veering into melodrama or platitudes. Davey Wexler’s father has just been murdered and now Davey’s mother has taken her and her little brother to live with an aunt in another state. Davey is conflicted, lost, and angry until she meets a young man who helps her find her way back to herself.

    Also available from:
  • Forever

    Also available from:

    I confess, I didn’t remember much about this book except for a “character” named Ralph and an unfortunate event with cologne. That may be because I had to share a single copy with my entire class and we all read it surreptitiously under our desks. Sex was definitely not on the syllabus in my school district. Frank, funny, and insightful, Blume is a master at writing about the topics everyone else thought were taboo.

    Also available from: