Books have always been a huge part of my life. I think it has a lot to do with being a child of the 80’s and not owning an Atari. My love for books began early. Nancy Drew, Encyclopedia Brown, Choose Your Own Adventure – all books that I read before 3rd grade.
In the fourth grade my aunt sent over a box of old things our cousins had outgrown. At the bottom was a book called Blubber. And here began the valuable life lessons I would learn from one of the greatest authors of all time.
Blubber is a book about a young girl named Jill who joins her classmates in bullying Linda, an awkward overweight girl in her class.
Kids are such dicks sometimes.
This book has stuck with me my entire life. It made that much of an impression on 4th grade me. Over the years I have read nearly all of Judy’s books and I learned something from each one. But Blubber is where it all began.
Lesson #1 – What goes around comes around. This is a biggie. It might not be in the 4th grade or even the 5th, 6th or 7th. But in the 8th grade being a jerk will catch up with you. And it’s going to hurt. Trust me.
Lesson #2 – Mean Girls. Either you know one or you are one. Just because they are nice to you today, doesn’t mean they will be nice to you tomorrow. Try not to take it personally when the little witch admires the shirt you’ve picked out when you’re shopping together and then buys it out from under you. That’s just how Mean Girls roll. Deep down you will know if someone befriends you for genuine reasons. Follow your gut. And if you are a Mean Girl, see Lesson #1.
Lesson #3 – Don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid to be you. To be the voice of reason. To defend someone. To disagree. To say you’re sorry. I could go on and on but you get my point. If you truly believe in something then stand up for it. Be fearless.
Lesson #4 – If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all-. That girl with less than perfect teeth? This may come as a shock asshole, but she’s well aware they aren’t amazing without you bringing it to her and everyone else’s attention. Every. Single. Day. Most people will grow into adulthood and get past whatever it was they were teased about as a kid. But I can guarantee you they will never forget it. Nor will they forget the shitty way you made them feel. Later on you will hope that people remember you as being kind. There will come a time in your life where being a beautiful person becomes more about who you are and less about how you look. And let’s be real– assholes (literally) aren’t pretty. So don’t be one.
I also loved the book Iggie’s House. The story of a young girl who’s best friend Iggy moves away and a black family buys the house. They are the first and only black family in the neighborhood and the book covers the topic of prejudice.
Lesson # 7 –We are all human.- I know, for the most part a pretty obvious statement. And when adults stop heaping their narrow minded garbage onto their kids, this world will become the amazing place for all that it should be. Because kids could care less what color someone’s skin is. They just see someone to play with, a schoolmate, a friend. An equal. I watch this every day at 3:30 when school lets out and my 7 year old stays to play on the swings with her friends. A beautiful, diverse little group of kids. If only everyone could hang onto a bit of their 1st grade selves.
Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret is one of Judy’s more well-known books. It is about a young girl who moves from the city to the suburbs, has made new friends and who has chosen a school project about what kind of faith she would like to belong to, as she grew up with no religious affiliation. This book covers the gamut of pre-teen girl stuff – first bras, first periods, first kiss.
Lesson #8 – Bras and periods sound fun….until you have them. – Santa gave me a black bra in my stocking when I was in 6th grade and I was completely horrified because my dad was sitting there when I opened it. Wtf Santa? The white and tan bras weren’t humiliating enough? Scarred for life. And periods? Don’t believe the commercials. A “happy period” is the unicorn of periods. Completely mythical. It just doesn’t exist.
Lesson #9 – You will never forget your first kiss. – Seriously. You won’t. Which is incredibly unfortunate for me some. Drop-in centers, churches, closets at birthday parties. You can’t un-ring a bell. If it isn’t somewhere nice and cliché like under the stars, just say NO.
So you see where I’m going with all of this. Judy Blume opened a door for me that I really had no idea existed, and I credit her with my lifelong
obsession love for reading. Which only becomes a problem when a person has a thoughtful husband who buys them incredible books for Christmas and then complains that they’ve not talked to anyone in the house for a week and a half because they’ve spent every waking moment with their face in a book. True story.
Judy, my husband thanks you.
This post was written by my childhood friend Shauna. I constantly ttry to force her to write for Mommy’s Weird because she is so damn good. She has also written about Hot Cross Buns, Parenting Fails that involve calling her sons teachers assholes, her famous hate of Elf on the Shelf and she has been featured on CRAP MY FRIENDS POST ON FACEBOOK. I would also like to say that it was Peter that she kissed in the church in #9.