Then Again Maybe I Will {My Love For Judy Blume}

Reading is the bane of my existence.  Not me, I love books, but the middle school VSCO girl I have living with me does not like reading and fights me every day about it.  It’s part of her homework, but she’d rather be on Tik Tok or watching YouTube.

When I ask, she lies and tells me she’s done her reading.  But books that shouldn’t take long to read, take her months to read. While I may be a helicopter parent with anything that could potentially involve her being kidnapped and sex trafficked, when it comes to homework, I like to be hands off.  Mainly because we get in big fights about it and at this point, I think she’s old enough to take responsibility for her own work.

Judy Blume Books for Middle School

She was always an awesome reader in elementary school, reading at least two grade levels above her own.  But that’s when the problems started.  She couldn’t find books that were of interest, and we were continually trying things she didn’t like.

I started reading Harry Potter to her when she was in 2ndgrade.  It took us forever to finish {those books are hard to read aloud, so I suggest you don’t even try.  Find an audio version.}  By the time she was old enough to read them on her own, she took forever reading them!

If there’s a movie made from a book, I won’t let her watch the movie until she’s read the book. For the HP series, she got through book three and gave up on both the movies and the books making me a broken hearted mom.

Since I’m trying to recreate my childhood through her, I make her watch all my favorite 70’s and 80’s movies, but I also make her read all the books of my childhood.  We started with Beverly Cleary and she enjoyed all of the Ramona books. The Mouse and the Motorcycle books were a huge hit, and they’re one of her favorites.  I tried getting her into the Henry Huggins books, but she wasn’t interested.

Next, she moved onto Judy Blume and loved the Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing series.  When she was having trouble dealing with her parents divorce last year, I suggested It’s Not the End of the World.  She liked the book, but it hit too close to home and left her in tears most of the time as it was the end of her world.

She was gifted a set of the young adult Judy Blume books, and she’s enjoyed all of them.  I love these books because even though they were written in the 70’s, they have timeless lessons.  Kids in those books are going through the same emotional crap kids go through today.

While Ella went through Growing and Changing at school {ie sex ed}, I thought it was a good time to pull out Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret?  At the same time, I decided I should read Chelsea Handler’s Are You There Vodka, It’s Me Chelsea?  I thought maybe we could exchange notes.

She read Deenie, about a girl with scoliosis, and Blubber about a girl who is bullied, written before bullying was known as bullying.  Both books are lessons in treating others with kindness.  A much-needed lesson in today’s middle school environment, when social media and smartphones are ruining everyone’s life.  See above regarding Tik Tok and not reading…

One of my favorites as a kid was Starring Sally J. Freeman as Herself about a Jewish family living in Miami after World War II.  She’s currently reading her last one, Iggy’s House.  This is a book about a black family that moves into a white neighborhood in 1970. Some in the neighborhood didn’t mind, but others were not so kind.

We’ve talked about the book every night and the actions of the not so nice neighbors.  She has a hard time reading things where people are blatantly mean, but I’ve assured her there is a good lesson in the book.

She’s also reading Then Again, Maybe I Won’t about a family that moves when their son is in middle school.  Having been a part of a family that moved while I was in middle school, I can say it’s a horrifying experience.

I loved these books as a kid, and I love them even more as a parent.  They have prompted conversations about kindness, race, religion, growing and changing bodies, middle school angst and crushes, and also divorce. They’ve made her think and made me think, and I think that’s what it’s all about.

Bravo, Judy Blume, bravo!

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