The Culprits...er, Co-Editors:
Meet Dana of The Kitchen Witch! Dana is a former teacher, writer and personal chef. She stopped doing all of those things when she had children. While she doesn’t regret that choice, her life felt a little empty. She started to blog to remind herself that she still had a working brain, to rekindle her love for delicious food, and to have a space to write, which She. Does. Beautifully. *Swear jar* and all. @thekitchwitch
Dana's eldest daughter is a pubescent beauty who gave her "the hand" when she tried to have "the talk." Crushed my poor friend, Dana, to pieces! She felt like a failure as a parent, because of course we all want to out-parent our own parents. Thus, she asked the Twitterverse and all of La La Internet Land, "Where is our next Judy Blume?" She posted her lament to @HeatheroftheEO's weekly #JustWrite linky exercise.
I posted to #JustWrite that day, too, and in going through the other links, came upon Dana's quest to find the next Judy Blume. I made a comment agreeing with others that she should be, and suggested that an anthology might be cool. She wasn't about to go it alone, so she roped me into helping her. And so together, we seek to comprise an anthology of the voices that remember Judy, and miss her presence in their lives today.
Librarians, Teachers, Moms, GUYS! We know you have stories from your heart to share, here's how!
1. We are open to all formats: you can write a letter, have an imaginary conversation, tell a poignant story or a humorous anecdote, try your hand at poetry, give us a slice-of-life moment. We are open to it all.
2. SUBMISSIONS of around 500 words, give or take liberally (as you can see from the other submissions), will be shared right away (if you don't have your own blog, via guest post) and will be considered for inclusion when we get to the point of compiling and publishing. Either: E-MAIL TO Kim OR Dana, YOU CAN FIND EMAIL BUTTONS ON BOTH OF OUR WEBSITES, or....
3. Bloggers: YES, by all means, please post your submissions to your own sites. A) APPLY OUR CUTE LITTLE BADGE. Copy the code from my not so fancy mess over yonder, or visit Dana's site for it. B) Please be sure to include a link to this page and to Dana's post on the topic. C) Be sure to post your link to the Facebook page, otherwise how will we know? D) And then of course, tweet the crap out of your link and we will, too, using the #JudyBlumeProject hash tag! Please encourage your friends and readers to submit, too!
4. Please remember–your voice matters, and what Judy has done for so many of us matters, too.
Dana and I both want to extend thanks to the crazy (in a good way) people who have been so generous and supportive so far--including @TigerEyesMovie and @BlogHerLife--because Judy is worth it. Dig deep!
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I couldn't say it any better. We look forward to hearing from YOU and to having you on board.
Write from your heart, and stay tuned because I'm in the process of compiling all the posts to date and linking them here below.
We've laughed with them and shared their tears. Our Wonderful Contributors, so far:
I have always been a reader, and fortunately, I had the kind of parents who put up with my (obsessive) habit. I read in bed, on couches, at the kitchen table, while walking down the street, leaning against trees, and even in movie theaters and concerts (I never left home without a book in hand). It was like my adolescent security blanket.
Reading was my comfort, my pleasure, my escape. I could do anything, go anywhere, be anyone.
Not surprisingly, one of my favorite young adult authors was – and still is – Judy Blume. She is a prolific author with a gift for writing in both female and male voices, but for obvious reasons, I gravitated to her books about adolescent girls. I loved their awkwardness, confusion, humor, and social anxiety. It mirrored my own.
Continue Reading Dana Schwartz's touching tribute to the hero we hope to meet someday, too!
Like hoards of other bookish 9 and 10 year old girls of the past few generations, I spent the majority of my spare time in elementary school inhaling Judy Blume young adult books.
In case you don’t know about Judy Blume books (like, if you’re from another planet) they are basically just these books about angsty girls in middle school.
For me, these books were amazing. They were about girls just enough older than me so that I felt that via these characters, I was reaching out to a world just beyond my fingertips….
...It might be important to note (it might also not be) that I was raised in a conservative Jewish household, so Judy Blume books also gave me the kind of voyeurish thrill....
You must keep reading of Liz Davidoff's memories of not the perfect first period...is there a thing?
I can’t stop reading this Sylvia Plath poem, Mad Girl’s Love Song.
I’ve had a crush on Liam for 754 days. Yeah, we’re friends and stuff, but today something happened and it was scary and exciting and really I just don’t know what to think about it at all.
I was over at his house and his parents were out running errands. As usual we did some homework (but I hid my Latin so he couldn’t see how confused I get declining the nouns — why the hell does it have to be so hard?) together and before I could finish putting my books into my backpack, he was ON me....
Enjoy reading the rest of Erin Margolin's brilliant moment of sweaty remembrance, a la Forever-ish.
And just, woah! MG Sci-Fi author, Jim Denney, has contributed a remarkable story in four parts (to match the four books in his Timebenders series) as guest posts right here on West Coast Posse!
My son is in fifth grade, and has always been a bit of a reluctant reader. I bought Timebenders for him, loaded it on his tablet, and he didn't want to stop reading when the timer went off!
Grab your middle grader (they still love to be read to), snuggle up, and meet Zandria, Martian Girl!
Back-to-School with the #JudyBlumeProject, Part One, Martian Girl: My Last Day on Earth
Back-to-School with the #JudyBlumeProject, Part Two, Martian Girl: A Terrible Distraction
Back-to-School with the #JudyBlumeProject, Part Three, Martian Girl: A Boat That Can Carry...
Back-to-School with the #JudyBlumeProject, Part Four, Martian Girl: Mad, Sad, Mad, Sad
My Judy Blume book collection is showing its age. "Blubber" is held together with duct tape. "Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret" is coverless, fastened with a binder clip. "Deenie" has lost two pages.
Many of my girlhood paperbacks have ended up at Goodwill, but the Judy Blumes aren't going anywhere. My 7-year-old daughter has read "Superfudge" and "The Pain and the Great One," but I keep the others lined up high in her closet, waiting for her. No iPad or Kindle yet -- I want my daughter to turn the same pages I did when I was a girl. I reread them sometimes, to admire Blume's clean writing, and to feel 12 again.
Grateful Amy messaged us abut her terrific experience with Judy at the Tiger Eyes Premier.
"When I was a kid, my mother loved to take pictures of me reading books. Curled up in the recliner on Christmas morning, reading a new book while still in my pajamas; stretched out on a towel on Wrightsville Beach; laying across the floor at Grandma Hamm’s house. All with a book in my hands.
I didn’t realize just how many times she’d taken photos like this until I graduated from high school, and she gave me a present: A photo album that chronicled my life so far. All 18 years of it. And on almost every other page, I’d find these sorts of photos."
Ugh! Tears! Please enjoy the rest of Alison's post at Chasing the End of My Rainbow.
Journalist Heather Greenwood Davis, aka Globe Trotting Mama, is an award-winning feature writer.
In Grade 4, I was Sheila the Great.
I’m not kidding.
Despite my fuzzy hair and brown skin, I was convinced you had me in mind when you wrote the novel.
I was also Margaret and Tony and Peter.
I started a newspaper at my school in grade 4 because of your books. I dreamed of being a writer because of your books." Please continue reading Heather's guest post on WCP!!
"I grew up in the booming immigrant mecca of Miami Beach during the early 70’s, which I am positive was not inhabited properly until there were two discoveries. First, air conditioning and second, mosquito control.
In this booming immigrant mecca, my mother feared that I would have no religion, so she sent me to a church she never visited, with people she never met and had me baptized a Baptist. Baptist was as a good of choice as any other, she said. Her memories of traveling Baptist preachers in the coalmines of West Virginia, trying to save their souls from the devil (and a fiery final resting spot) sealed the deal. Okay, fair enough, but who the hell is Baptist on Miami Beach? No one is Baptist! If you are going to give me religion, at least make me a Catholic or a Jew like everyone else."
Continue reading Velva's guest post on The Kitchen Witch with bonus recipe!
"It’s the period book. Everyone calls it that. They never say its awkward, seven-word title. But also, that’s what it is: the period book. The one where the girl gets her period. And a bra.
I am 11 years old. I have neither my period, nor a bra. But I want to read the period book. Everyone is reading the period book. All they talk about is the period book. If I don’t read the period book, they certainly will talk about me.
Mom hasn’t yet pulled me into the basement, as she one day will, to talk about “it.” Not the just small “it”—the period “it”—but the big “it.” After a conversation where I declare I know what “it” is, she won’t say we need to talk about “it.” Instead she’ll tell me, 'We need to talk about the birds and the bees.'”
Read Author, Denise DiFulco's, terrific slice of life guest post contribution that appeared here on West Coast Posse. We're so grateful for the generosity of authors and bloggers!
"I remember being in 5th grade and my school was having a book fair. Breaking open my piggy bank (actually it was a Campbell’s soup bank), I took all my money to school that day. I always loved books, I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t reading something, anything. So, off I went to school with money in hand. I heard my friends shrieking over the Beverly Cleary books, the new Nancy Drew book, and as I walked over to a spinning rack of books, one book in particular caught my eye. It was, 'Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret'”.
Read the rest of Lisa's touching and poignant post on Books in the Burbs.
"The year I turned eleven, my mother went to the psychiatric ward of the hospital, and I spent every weekend at my grandmother’s house. I remember Saturday nights the best, hamburgers and Coke in front of the television with TJ Hooker and Love Boat. Fantasy Island, if I didn’t fall asleep. My grandmother was already in her late seventies, too old probably for a rebellious, snappy-eyed girl who swung her hair in anger and rolled her eyes in vexation."
Yvonne Rupert's gift for writing is apparent in the words that are left unsaid.
This letter was a semifinalist in the 2013 Massachusetts Letters About Literature competition, Level 1 (grades 4 through 6). The author is 12 years old.
"Dear Judy Blume,
The idea of deformation has always been very freaky to me. Weird faces, legs, arms, bodies, and even backs. Especially hunchbacks. A big bump on your back seemed like something that would happen from old age, or maybe from hurting yourself. I had no idea that you could get one from scoliosis. I also had no idea how common scoliosis is. Or that I had it. I read Deenie before I found out about my back. Of course, I was sure I would never be stuck in a big clunky Milwaukee brace like Deenie was."
Continue reading dear 12-year-old Lila's award-winning letter via guest post hosted by Dana.
"I never read Judy Blume’s Forever.
I wanted to.
But I was too timid to ask. I was too timid to get it out of the library. I was too timid to even think a complete thought about what the book might even be about.
When I was about 14, I was standing at the kitchen counter chopping an onion. My mother was behind and to the right of me, reaching into the refrigerator. My father walked into the room and without a pause or an introduction said to me, 'You know what a condom is, right Jen.'” And that's when we spit water out our noses! Read Jennifer Grow @ProjectUnderblog
"Dear Judy Blume,
You use the word “stupid” a lot in the Fudge books. A lot a lot. Like several hundred percent more then we use at our house. And as a mindful (sometimes accidentally self-righteous) mother, I try to make sure that we shop for our vocabulary in only the finest, freshest family books. So when I started reading Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing to my 5YO and 8YO I found myself almost instantly editing as I went. I justified that this was okay because 1) Peter was older than my girls, 2) he was a boy, and not technically real
3) he lived in NYC, and as a Jersey girl transplanted in the DC area, I’m fully aware that Northern vocabulary is somewhat harsher than it is here in the hidden-behind-super-manners-not-quite South."
Keep reading with Cindy Kane, the brains behind Bad Mommy Moments, and FYI, it's a BOOK, too!
"Dear Judy Blume….
Have you ever visited England, Judy? Or I should say did you ever visit England in the 1980’s?
That’s when I was growing up in the North East of England. If you’ve ever seen Billy Elliot, it was kind of like that, but with less people breaking into song and dance routines (unless you count 11.30pm as all the pubs close). Believe it or not, there really were some very talented singers listing up those streets around midnight, with their newspaper wrapped fish and chips, ink-stained fingers reeking of vinegar."
Continue reading and check out the rest of DizzyMamma's site.
"Dear Judy,One corner of the book shelf in my daughters’ room contains [a stack of your books]:
Of all these, Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret is the one I look at wistfully, remembering. Oh, sure, I remember how I felt when I read Blubber. I’ve always tried to put myself in Linda’s shoes. Even when I found myself being the mean girl, which, admittedly, felt good after years of being the picked-on girl, I remembered Jill’s mom’s simple words: “You should try putting yourself in her place.” Oh, the talks my girls and I have had about bullying after reading that book. Was it called bullying back when I read it? In the 80s, I think we considered bullying to be extreme, when there was physical violence."
Please continue reading Arnebya's contribution and more glorious writing on her site.
"The Baby-Sitters Club. Goosebumps. Sweet Valley High. I swiped at the turnstile of chapter books, turning around to see my mother with an armful of Jacqui Onasses biographies.
I sighed loudly. “This is boring. I’ve read all this stuff.”
Typical 12-year-old dramatics. Having just started junior high, I had no interest in the lengthy manifestos my mother was fond of, yet was becoming tired of the childish stories I usually bee lined for." You Know You Love Gossip Squirrel, Jamie Ryan...keep reading!
"Dear Judy Blume,
I’ve always loved reading. Driving into town to our quaint, ancient library in the downtown of the small town where I grew up is one of my fondest memories. My Mom, my sister and I would go at least once a week. We’d spend an hour perusing the shelves to find a whole stack of stories that would entertain us until the next time we’d return. Mrs. Kay, the diminutive librarian with snow white hair and the unmistakable shake of Parkinson’s was so kind, quiet and helpful." ....
"I’m starting to think the librarian was in on the town gossip just like everyone else. How else would she know to direct me to your books just when I need them so? My parents were the first ones in town to get a divorce; no one could understand what I was going through. But you did. Karen spoke my language about what it feels like to be a daughter of divorce. It was so, so comforting."
Keep reading Tiffany's heart-felt post over at Elastamom.
"My mother, horrid as she is, won’t let me read Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret. OK, she wasn’t horrid, she isn’t horrid, but this is a horrid thing to do to a girl who has no idea what this whole thing called puberty is all about. So I did the only thing I could do. I read it without her knowing.
Which is how I ended up in my bathroom, with the door locked, sitting on the pink shag carpet, my hands together, pulsing in and up, chanting [say it with me...]"
Continue reading Amy's (aka Gibby's) guest post that brought her out of hiatus.
Author, Chris Kuhn has been so supportive, and had this to say:
"So I only found out about the Judy Blume Project this morning, and already my heart is stirring and my mind is spinning.
You see, Judy Blume and her many early works written for fragile prepubescent girls helped me get through a really awkward and confusing time of my life. Hair sprouting in places for no reason, boobs that appeared to show up out of nowhere and thoughts – lots of thoughts, bad thoughts, dirty thoughts, about…well… you know… boys, boy parts and why all of the really good shows on HBO were on much, much later at night."
Continue reading and check out the rest of Chris's beautiful blog AND BOOK!