Judy Blume, everybody’s favorite chronicler of teen awkwardness (I mean, who doesn’t love “Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret?”), is going to be awarded the E.B. White Award, a lifetime achievement award for children’s literature this May. Part of the prize is receiving $10,000, given by the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
79-year-old Blume is known for being incredibly prolific— in her heyday, she wrote almost 30 books for children, teens, and adults. The surprising thing that keeps her going? Her daughter, she told Tablet awhile back. Her daughter told her to “get up every morning, sit at your desk and write down anything and everything and it will come.” As a writer myself, I can’t help but appreciate this simple candor–and to admire Blume for being so dedicated to her craft and passion.
Blume is not often thought about as being a Jewish writer in the mainstream, but many of her books deal with Jewish identity–notably, “Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself” is about a young Jewish girl who moves from New Jersey to Miami Beach, and tries to find her place in the world. Blume has helped countless teens deal with the strangeness of growing up, which is not something to trivialize, as her books tackle racism, menstruation, divorce, bullying, masturbation and sexuality. This is something Blume mentioned wishing she had:
“I wanted to be honest. And I felt that no adult had been honest with me. We didn’t have the information we should have had.”
In the past, Blume was named a Living Legend by the Library of Congress in 2000 and received the annual Distinguished Contribution to American Letters Medal of the National Book Foundation in 2004.
Don’t forget to check out this video we made about Judy Blume to learn more about her life (like the fact that she’s from New Jersey!):