Manitoba-based Karin Adams is the author of Lights! Curtains! Cows! and No TV? No Fair!, both available at McNally Robinson Booksellers. Humour and a kid-centered universe are the essential ingredients in her books. Karin's favourite stories remain those she read as a young(er!) person. Join us at McNally Robinson Grant Park on May 16, 2010 at 2:00 pm to celebrate the launch of No TV? No Fair!.
The best thing about being a children's writer is that my favourite pastime (reading children's books) and my research (reading children's books) are one and the same. I am currently re-discovering the works of Judy Blume, children's author extraordinaire. As a reader, it's been great catching up with "old friends" like Peter Hatcher, Margaret Simon, and Sally J. Freedman (as herself, of course). As a children's author, I've spent some time thinking about why Blume's books are so beloved and enduring. Here's what I've come up with so far:
1. Judy Blume is a master at creating authentic characters. Even her secondary characters, with a word or subtle action, are somehow fully-realized. They are funny, smart, sometimes sarcastic, insecure, soul-searching, confident, bold, shy, doubting, earnest-often all rolled into one. (My favourite characters are in Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and Superfudge)
2. Judy Blume does not write "issue books", she writes stories. Yes, her characters struggle with everything from religion to sibling rivalry, divorce to fitting in at summer camp. But you don't put down one of Judy Blume's books feeling as though you've been taught "a lesson". Instead, you get to meet someone you like and see the world through their eyes for a little while. (Try Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret and It's Not the End of the World)
3. Judy Blume has a flair for balance. In her stories' most serious situations, there is often humour (Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself), and in her funniest scenes, you will find heart (Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great). Blume's beautifully balanced approach is another example of her skill in writing "authentically" (because life is a little of this and a little of that, isn't it?).
I encourage young readers to discover the many works of Judy Blume. For grown ups, why not re-discover this author? Are the stories and characters as you remember? Have they somehow changed (or have you)?
|Categories: Reviews, Discussions, Authors|