Judy Blume asks that you stop being so weird about what your kid reads.

Literature
Janet Manley

March 1, 2023, 8:45am

The new celebrity vodka is a celebrity-owned bookshop, I think. Take it from Judy Blume, who owns and runs Books & Books with her husband in Key West, and has thus been granted a birds’ eye view of our consumption patterns.

Blume spoke to The Atlantic’s Amy Weiss-Meyer recently, and noted the propensity for helicopter parents to vet their kids’ books:

“‘The parents are so judgmental’ about their kids’ book choices, she told me. “They’re always, you know, ‘What is this? Let me see this.’ You want to say, ‘Leave them alone.’ ”

Obviously a nice irony there, for parents to try and filter the books their children are buying at a bookstore owned by the author who brought us the dog-eared YA classics Forever (on sex), Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret (on period-pad belts), and Deenie. People have been attempting to ban her books and keep the children from learning about masturbation since the 1960s, when she started publishing, and she’s more popular than ever! Forever is being adapted by Netflix currently, while Disney+ is reportedly developing a Superfudge show.

This is not the first time Blume has rolled her eyes at parents’ attempts to steer their kids toward certain books and away from others. Speaking at the Hay Festival of Literature and the Arts in Wales in 2014, she said:

“A lot of people worry much too much about what their children are reading,” she said.

“A lot of people will want to control everything in their children’s lives, or everything in other people’s children’s lives.

“If a child picks up a book and reads something she has a question about, if she can go to her parents, great.

“Or else they will read right over it. It won’t mean a thing.

“They are very good, I think, at monitoring what makes them feel uncomfortable. If something makes them feel uncomfortable they will put it down.”

My mum in fact gave me a host of Judy Blume books when I was a tween, and otherwise paid no attention to what I was reading, which was a series of tawdry and violent books beginning with Bryce Courtenay’s The Power of One (I’ll never unsee the words “the one-eyed snake”).

Funnily enough, children have been polite enough not to tear the (heavily fabricated) Three Cups of Tea from their parents’ hands. Parents, show the same courtesy!

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