I've been known to announce my love for Judy Blume at dinners, friends' parties, and once during a conversation with a stranger on a plane. Every time I claim that at 32 she's still one of my all time favorite authors, I expect a look of disbelief and then, "You mean that children's book writer?" Except the funniest thing happens. People look relieved, confess they love her too, and then tell me that [Insert one of her many titles here] was one of their favorite books as a kid.
For the mention of an author's name to elicit such enthusiasm, especially since many fans around my age haven't read her books in decades, is pretty rare. It's a testament to the fact that Judy Blume isn't merely a children's book author. She's a stand-in teacher, friend, and even sometimes, a mom. So it's not surprising that when I asked my co-workers if they'd like to pay tribute to Ms. Blume a fair number chimed in (including myself):
"Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret was a deeply important part of my awkward preteen years. It was the first book I saw as more than just entertainment: It was a health book (much more honest than my mother was going be to me about women’s health issues at that age); it was a confidante (even my friends weren’t baring their souls to that depth); and mostly, it was the first time I realized that writing, something I had always loved, could really and truly be a career. Judy Blume wrote directly to me, or so I thought, and in turn I wanted to be her when I grew up." -- Ali Foster, Site Merchandising Specialist
"When I was 12-years-old few names meant as much to me as Margaret Simon. Although she wasn't a friend in the traditional meet-up-in-person-after school sense, Margaret and I were BFFs in the place most special to me: my mind. Looking back I see that she was an intermediary between my teddy bear best friend to an actual human BF who I could actually call at any hour of the night. Like the stuffed Gund panda still atop a shelf in the room I grew up in, I refuse to dispose of my copy of Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret nor Margaret herself. Some things I'll hold close to my heart forever." -- Jessica Schein, Site Merchandiser