It’s Time To Explore!

By Himanshu Nimbhorkar

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“The best books come from someplace deep inside…. Become emotionally involved. If you don’t care about your characters, your readers won’t either.”

Judy Blume and her writings have engaged, informed, educated and inspired generations. Born in Elizabeth, New Jersey on February 12, 1938; Judy Blume is an acclaimed and celebrated writer with twenty something novels to her name spanning across decades of impactful writing career.

Handling sensitive themes tenderly has been one of her strong points. Through her writings Blume has maturely dealt with the concepts of puberty, emotional and physical transitioning during early adolescence, etc.

A voracious reader herself, she began writing post her marriage in order to have some parallel activity going along with the responsibilities of a homemaker. And there was no looking behind thereafter. ‘The one in the middle is the Green Kangaroo’ was her first published work followed by ‘Iggie’s House’. Then came her absolute bestseller ‘Are you there, God? It’s me, Margaret.’ thus altogether revolutionizing the young adult genre for the years to come.

Blume’s other books include ‘Tales of a fourth grade nothing’, ‘Otherwise known as Sheila the great’, ‘It’s not the end of the world’, ‘The pain and the great one’, ‘Blubber’, ‘Freckle Juice’, ‘Deenie’, ‘Forever’, ‘Tiger eyes’, so on and so forth.

Her list of awards and laurels is endless. Countless number of American awards revolving around literature have been bestowed upon her. Her books over the years have been adapted into multiple different films and TV series.

The issues kids face aren’t openly discussed even in today’s time and age. Back then it was far more difficult for Blume to get her work out there battling with the censorship problems her writings had to go through. The themes she incorporated into her work always attracted eyeballs. Sexual education and understanding children’s emotional state was, is and will always be an extremely vital part of their growing up years. Their slow and steady transitioning phase from being little children turning into young adults make them go through a huge number of changes occurring within them both on the physical as well as emotional front. These are some extremely significant topics, sub-topics and themes that need to be explored and discussed, especially with children in their own familiar language and patterns.

Judy Blume did that thing effortlessly for years and decades, so much so that children (especially young girls) kept writing back to her long letters filled with their own set of experiences and the relatability they felt while reading her books, which eventually also ended up making them aware of their own physical selves.

“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.” This quote of Blume aptly addresses the all-important concern of the conversational gap between young innocent children and society at large.

The thread further continues in one of her books ‘Tiger eyes’, “Each of us must confront our own fears, must come face to face with them. How we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives. To experience adventure or to be limited by the fear of it.”

It’s time to pick a Judy Blume book and explore. Explore human nature, explore children’s psyche, make peace with our own selves, understand ourselves better physically as well as emotionally; and most importantly pass it over to young innocent children for them to make peace with their own selves. It’s time to explore!

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