Report: “Judy Blume Talks Censorship With 16-Year-Old Bookstore Owner: ‘It’s People Like You Who Give Us Hope'”
For the past few months, Blume has been everywhere — from the red carpet premiere of the feature adaptation of her 1970 classic “Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret” in Los Angeles last week, to Variety’s Power of Women ceremony in New York City, where she was honored earlier this month. But on Monday night in Studio City, Calif., it was Blume’s husband George Cooper on the other side of a cell phone camera lens. As Blume was introduced to an eager (and pink-masked) crowd by 16-year-old Annabelle Chang, who owns Annabelle’s Book Club LA, Cooper sprang from his seat behind the desk to capture the moment on his cell phone.
For Blume, looking back at her books’ initial challenges in the 1980s is a reminder of how “ridiculous” and surprising it was. (“Is puberty a dirty word? Is it a dirty subject?” she remembered thinking. “Do adults know this is going to happen to their kids whether they like it or not?”)
As a longtime resident of Key West, Flor., Blume has a front row seat to these restrictive policies, which left her family with a simple choice: “Run away or stay and fight. We all have to speak out or we’ll lose these precious rights of ours.”
When Chang replied that Blume’s persistent fight against censorship is inspirational to her, the author turned the compliment back around.
“It’s people like you who give us hope, because you’re the next generation and you’re who’s going to be most affected it,” Blume told the teenager. “So, you’re the ones who have to speak out and fight the good fight. I know that you are already doing that.”
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About Gary Price
Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.