Article image

14 Insights From the Mind of Judy Blume

Judy Blume has been a source of truth and empowerment for young readers of several generations. The author, born in 1938, has written several influential novels over the years — iconic classics such as Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, and Forever, to name just a few. Published in the 1970s, these were not only some of the first works of young adult literature to address teenage sexuality in a frank and honest manner, but they also acted as realistic and relatable guidebooks of sorts for navigating puberty, friendship, family, school, death, and more — all through an unapologetic young female perspective.

Blume's influence on YA literature and pop culture has been significant not only because of the topics she writes about, but also because of her efforts to fight against the censorship that she and many other writers have faced for their so-called taboo works. In the 1980s, as her books started to face controversy, she joined the National Coalition Against Censorship. Throughout her career, Blume also has been an outspoken advocate for children’s literacy, supporting teachers and librarians in their important roles in young people’s lives.

Modern-day talents such as Lena Dunham and Mindy Kaling are but a few of the people who have cited Blume’s work as a major influence on their own. And as the beloved books continue to be adapted into new feature films ​​(such 2023’s Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, starring Kathy Bates and Rachel McAdams), it seems sure that the 85-year-old author’s work will continue to make yet another generation of youngsters feel less alone. Here are some of the most insightful quotes from Blume’s gifted literary mind.

Writing saved my life. It gave me everything.

Share Quote

Rejection hurts. It can even be humiliating, but it doesn’t kill you. You still eat your supper, bathe your kids, go to sleep, and get up again the next morning. Rejection only made me more determined.

Share Quote

I never planned to become an activist, but things happen. Standing up and speaking out for what you believe in — well, it feels a lot better than doing nothing.

Share Quote

I don't know that you become a writer. You just are.

Share Quote

What's important to us remains the same. It's that inside stuff: the need for love and acceptance, and getting to know yourself and your place in the world.

Share Quote

Let children read whatever they want and then talk about it with them. If parents and kids can talk together, we won't have as much censorship because we won't have as much fear.

Share Quote

If you want them to read my books, don't tell them so. Maybe just leave around a paperback with a new cover and say, “I'm not sure you're ready for that.”

Share Quote

It's not just the books under fire now that worry me. It is the books that will never be written.

Share Quote

I didn’t know I was really a writer until I read it in “The New York Times.”

Share Quote

I am certainly a fearful person, but fearless in my writing.

Share Quote

I didn't know anything about writers. It never occurred to me they were regular people and that I could grow up to become one, even though I loved to make up stories inside my head.

Share Quote

What I remember when I started to write was how I couldn't wait to get up in the morning to get to my characters.

Share Quote

My parents gave me that gift of, “reading is a good thing.” I mean, my mother was afraid of everything. But she was never afraid that Judy is reading.

Share Quote

You can't think about your audience. You're going to be in big trouble if you think about it. You've got to write from deep inside.

Share Quote

Featured image credit: Aaron Davidson/ Getty Images Entertainment

Author image
About the Author
Nicole Villeneuve
Nicole is a writer, thrift store lover, and group-chat meme spammer based in Ontario, Canada.
Play more header background
Play more icon
Daily Question
Fill in the blank: "Beautify your inner world with love, light, and ___." - Amit Ray

More Inspiration

happiness theme icon

When I grow up, I’m gonna look up from my phone and see my life.

separator icon
Phoebe Bridgers
motivation theme icon

My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.

separator icon
Desmond Tutu
hope theme icon

The truth is the light and light is the truth.

separator icon
Ralph Ellison
love theme icon

As one goes through life, one learns that if you don’t paddle your own canoe, you don’t move.

separator icon
Katharine Hepburn
wisdom theme icon

The smallest deed is better than the grandest intention.

separator icon
Anonymous
happiness theme icon

Beware; for I am fearless, and therefore powerful.

separator icon
Mary Shelley
motivation theme icon

When we sow a seed, we plant a narrative of future possibility.

separator icon
Sue Stuart-Smith
hope theme icon

Love yourself first and everything else falls into line.

separator icon
Lucille Ball
love theme icon

Love is free; it is not practiced as a way of achieving other ends.

separator icon
Pope Benedict XVI
wisdom theme icon

The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life.

separator icon
Rabindranath Tagore
happiness theme icon

I'm afraid I'm an incorrigible life-lover, life-wonderer, and adventurer.

separator icon
Edith Wharton