Guest post by LAURA REED, Manager, Children’s & Teen Services
I recently had the opportunity to live out a childhood and professional dream – when you’re a children’s librarian, sometimes these two things intersect – I got to be in the same room as Judy Blume.
Judy Blume of Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret, Blubber, and Forever, fame. Judy Blume who felt like a friend, confidante, and teacher to me as a young girl, and who helped me through some very difficult times. Judy Blume who turned me into a reader. Judy Blume who I have recommended to children again and again throughout my career. Yes. That Judy Blume!
When I heard she was reading at the Toronto Public Library’s Appel Salon, I was overcome with excitement. When I found out I had a ticket, I squealed. As I drove to Toronto for the event, I had to hold back tears. I was on my way to Judy Blume. Me, along with 1,000 others. The event had sold out in 3 seconds! Throngs of young and middle-aged women (okay, there were a few men) were emotional waiting for it all to begin. Joy was in the air.
They say not to meet your heroes, but I can say in this case, they are wrong. Judy Blume, in conversation with Rachel Giese, was an absolute delight. She was smart, funny, thoughtful, and kind. Just who we wanted her to be. She spoke about her latest adult novel, In the Unlikely Event, which is not autobiographical, but is set in the place and time of Blume’s youth. It tells the story of an eight-week period in the early 1950s in Elizabeth, New Jersey, when three separate planes crashed into the town, and the rippling impact that had on individuals in the community. I would highly recommend it as a great summer read.
The audience was clearly grateful. The most powerful moment of the evening came when a woman, a woman with a severe speech impediment, approached the microphone and fought to express herself and to make sure Judy Blume heard her. What did she have to say?
“Thank you for being my friend, and for giving me hope.”
Needless to say, there was not a dry eye in the house. This brave woman spoke the truth for us all.
Judy Blume Knows All Your Secrets – a profile in the New York Times
“It’s hard to be sexy when you’re on a deadline.” – a profile in The Guardian
In the Unlikely Event – a review in the Toronto Star
Follow Judy Blume on Twitter