Posts Tagged “writing for children”

STEM Tuesday– Entomology– Book List

There are more than a million different kinds of insects living on our planet. They live in rivers and deserts and forests and … even our homes … and they outnumber us. So it only makes sense that we get to know them better.

Meet the Bugs:

Cover image og grasshopper and a bee

Buzzkill: A Wild Wander Through The Weird And Threatened World Of Bugs by Brenna Maloney

Reading this book is like listening to a friend tell stories. For example, there’s the time Brenna bought caterpillars watched their transformation into adult painted lady butterflies. She gives her personal take on insect defenses (getting stung), wrangling ants into an ant farm, and more.

Cover image with a number of bugs and a praying mantis

1,000 Facts about Insects by Nancy Honovich

This browsable book is perfect for the kid who wants to know cool insect facts without reading an entire book. Each spread focuses on some aspect of the insect world, from life cycles to senses to defenses. There are facts about migration, endangered insects, and conservation, about light-makers and love bugs, 50 fluttering facts about butterflies and lots, lots more.

Cover image with butterfly and bees flying and a ladybug and grasshopper peeking from the grass.

Encyclopedia of Insects: An Illustrated Guide to Nature’s Most Weird and Wonderful Bugs by Jules Howard, illustrated by Miranda Zimmerman

After some basic information and a list of some amazing insect feats, the book groups over three hundred insects by their orders. It provides the common and scientific names, size, diet, location and interesting details for some colorfully painted familiar and freaky insects from around the world. You’ll also find information on arthropods and invertebrates and a handy guide to determine whether you are an insect.

Cover image with a moth flying at night.

Moth: An Evolution Story by Isabel Thomas, illustrated by Daniel Egnéus

One of the most remarkable stories about natural selection is that of how the pepper moth adapted to the sooty pollution of the industrial revolution. Evolution is a big concept, hard to grasp sometimes, and this book does a marvelous job telling – and showing – how environmental changes affect insect populations. A picture book for the 8-10 crowd.

Cover image with a bumblebee

The Beekeepers : How Humans Changed the World of Bumble Bees by Dana L. Church

Bumble bees are a vital part of our ecosystems, pollinating crops that feed people and wildflowers and trees that feed wildlife. They are so successful, that people have commercialized their breeding, shipping bumble bee colonies to greenhouse growers across state – and country – borders. But what happens when commercially raised bumble bees escape the greenhouse and begin nesting in the wild?

For another book about bees, check out our interview on Where have all the bees gone? : pollinators in crisis, by Rebecca E. Hirsch from a couple years ago.

Cover image with a spider, centipede, ants and fly

Wicked Bugs: The Meanest, Deadliest, Grossest Bugs on Earth by Amy Stewart

Engaging and terrifying, this book explores the life cycles, habits, and dangers of forty-eight of the deadliest, dangerous, unwelcome, destructive, painful, and seriously threatening insects on earth – plus a few spiders, worms, and scorpions for good measure. It includes case studies of recent and historic instances of attacks or bites from these insects and any known treatments. Not for the faint of heart, though it is a good resource for identification, insect transmitted diseases and pest control.

Meet The Folks Who Study Them (Entomologists):

Cover image with a spotted beetle.

Beetle Busters: A Rogue Insect and the People who Track It (Scientists in the Field) by Loree Griffin Burns, photos by Ellen Harasimonwicz

The Asian Longhorn Beetle came to the US as a stowaway, tucked into wood used to ship products. With no natural enemies to control its spread, the beetle now infests trees from Massachusetts to New York and into Ohio, with the potential to cause more damage than Dutch elm disease, chestnut blight and spongy moths combined. This book follows the scientists tracking the insect and trying to save the forests.

Cover image with a boy lying in the grass with a magnifying glass looking at bugs.

Buzzing with Questions: the inquisitive mind of Charles Henry Turner by Janice N. Harrington, illustrated by Theodore Taylor III

At a time when most colleges didn’t accept black students, Charles Turner went to study zoology. He had a particular fondness for small creatures, insects, and used them to help answer big questions: how do ants find their way home? Can an insect solve a maze? Can bees learn to identify colors? This book will inspire emerging entomologists of all ages.

Cover image with two beetles facing off with large pincers.

Beetle Battles: One Scientist’s Journey of Adventure and Discovery by Douglas J. Emlen

Doug Emlen studies antlers, horns, tusks… weapons that just happen to belong to dung beetles. The cool thing about beetle weapons, he says, is their diversity: some are stubby, some long and slender, some like crowbars, some like sabers. Emlen shows readers how science happens in the field, from designing experiments and collecting data to rethinking the experiments (when they don’t work), and doing it all again.

Cover image of man using tweezers to examine ants climbing up a branch.

Naturalist: A Graphic Adaptation by Edward O. Wilson and Jim Ottaviani, illustrated by C.M. Butzer

E.O. Wilson is an insatiably curious biologist, well-known for his work on ants and insect societies. He reminisces about childhood expeditions to the creek with friends, and an effort to collect and study “all the ants in a vacant lot.” Ants may be small, but examining their societies led Wilson to ask big questions about social structure, genetics, and biogeography.

Cover image collage of scientists using bugs to solve crimes,

The Forensic Entomologist by Diane Yancey

A fascinating examination of the history (a collection of cases through time) and the numerous insects that have solved both murders and trafficking cases. It offers a look at the education and procedures for forensic entomologists and medical examiners, a detailed exploration of how bugs illuminate the time of death, location of death, DNA of victim, and neglect, and explores the factors that can cause mistakes and future forensic applications.

Bug Field Guides and Activities:

Cover image with a beetle, ladybug, caterpillar, and bee larvae.

Ultimate Explorer Field Guide: Insects (National Geographic) by Libby Romero

Divided into two sections – Incomplete Metamorphosis and Complete Metamorphosis – this book is loaded with information, photos, jokes, challenges, and interesting behaviors or facts, as well as any bite, sting, or chemical reaction danger an insect poses. Interspersed throughout are double spread “Insect Reports” on wings, bug vs. insect, invasive species, and much more. The introductory information, Quick Id Guide, glossary, and additional resources round out this engaging insect guide.

Insects and Arachnids (Field Guides) by Carla Mooney

After defining each and their roles in nature, vivid photographs accompany descriptions and fascinating side bars, as well as “How to Spot” and “Fun Facts” sections for each insect, spider, and other critter. Easily browsable, it is divided into the categories: True Flies, Beetles, Wasps and Bees, Ants, Moths and Butterflies, True Bugs, Spiders, Ticks and Mites, and Scorpions.

Cover image of bugs visiting a science fair.

Bug Science: 20 Projects and Experiments About Arthropods: Insects, Arachnids, Algae, Worms, and Other Small Creatures by Karen Romano Young, illustrated by David Goldin

A tongue and cheek presentation, full of cartoonish illustrations, guides kids though the scientific process (concept, question, plan, materials, procedure, and recording of data) necessary to perform experiments with flies, ants, butterflies, fleas, spiders, and other creatures.


This month’s STEM Tuesday book list was prepared by:

Sue Heavenrich examines fungi

Sue Heavenrich, who writes about science for children and their families on topics ranging from space to backyard ecology. Bees, flies, squirrel behavior—things she observes in her neighborhood and around her home—inspire her writing. Her most recent book is Funky Fungi (with Alisha Gabriel). Visit her at www.sueheavenrich.com.

Author photo of Maria and pink roses.

Maria Marshall, a children’s author, blogger, and poet who is passionate about making nature and reading fun for children. When not writing, critiquing, or reading, she watches birds, travels the world, bakes, and hikes. Visit her at www.mariacmarshall.com.

STEM Tuesday Team Shoutout!!

 

As we come up on our sixth anniversary of STEM Tuesday (yes – SIX years!) I thought it would be a great time to remind you of the AMAZING authors who make STEM Tuesday possible.

The STEM Tuesday blog posts are written by a group of award-winning children’s authors, teachers, and writers who are passionate about presenting STEM/STEAM topics in a way that kids of all ages will find exciting, inspiring, and engaging.

You can find more information about each of them by visiting their websites, purchasing some of their books, and also inviting them to your schools and conferences.

 

And now….. Meet the STEM Tuesday TEAM!

Week 1: Book List 

Author Sue Heavenrich Sue Heavenrich

Sue Heavenrich is an independent environmental journalist and children’s writer. She has written for a variety of magazines including Ranger Rick, Highlights, Cobblestone, and Organic Gardening as well as local and regional newspapers. When not writing, she’s either in the garden or tromping through the woods. www.sueheavenrich.com

Book Diet for a Changing Climate

 

 

 

 

 

 

Writer Maria MarshallMaria Marshall

@MariaMarshall_

For as long as anyone can remember, Maria had a book in her hands. During the summer of herthird grade year, she read every book in the Library’s children’s section A to Z. She loved to write, make up stories, and create elaborate treasure hunts and maps for my brother and sister. So she went to college and wrote for four years to earn a degree in English and Political Science. Then she took my love of writing and telling stories to Law School. Maria is passionate about using picture and chapter books to make reading and nature fun for children. Check out her Picture Book Buzz Blog

 

 

Shruthi Rao authorShruthi Rao

Shruthi was that kid who actually enjoyed writing essays in school! She wrote her first novel when she was eleven. It was an Enid Blyton rip-off. It was terrible (so she says). She didn’t write stories for a long time after that. Instead, Shruthi got a Master’s degree in Energy Engineering from one of the top schools of India, and worked in the IT industry for four years.

And then, in the 2000s, she rediscovered her love for writing. Shruthi blogged at Hallucinations! and wrote short stories and essays for a number of publications. She now writes books for children of all ages, both fiction and non-fiction. www.shruthi-rao.com

     

 

Susan SummersSusan Summers

Susan started her career as a zookeeper and enjoyed working with polar bears, wolves, and owls – to name just a few of her favorite animals. Interest in science and nature firmly took hold and she followed that career by becoming a wildlife biologist. In this engaging field, she was able to participate in research on a variety of wildlife, including bears, bats, and fabulous birds! She wanted to share her interest in nature with children, so she got a Master’s in Education, and went on to teach ecology as a museum educator. She had this rewarding career for over 20 years. Currently, she is focused on becoming an author, writing about science and nature among other things. In the meantime, she lives happily with her husband of 30 years and with two fur children that she’d love to tell you about. She’s thrilled to be part of STEM Tuesday [and looks forward to sharing her enjoyment of this topic with you].

Science magazine

Science Scope

 

 

 

 

 

Callie DeanCallie Dean

Callie Dean is a musician, writer, educator, and program evaluator. She teaches applied research at Eastern University and is passionate about the role of the arts in effecting community transformation. She lives in Shreveport, La., with her husband and two sons.  She is the director of CYBER.ORG, a STEM education organization with a national network of more than 25,000 K-12 teachers. Callie has written a wide variety of K-12 STEM curriculum materials, including nine cybersecurity badges for the Girl Scouts of the USA. She’s an aspiring PB/MG author, a member of SCBWI, and a 2022 PBParty finalist. Her  areas of interest include technology, cybersecurity, citizen science, and the intersection of science with art.  www.sojo.net/biography/callie-dean

 

 

Author Lydia LukidisLydia Lukidis

Lydia Lukidis is the author of 48 trade and educational books, as well as 31 e-Books. Her latest STEM book, THE BROKEN BEES’ NEST (Kane Press, 2019), was nominated for a CYBILS Award, and her forthcoming STEM book, DEEP, DEEP, DOWN: The Secret Underwater Poetry of the Mariana Trench will be published by Capstone in 2023. Lydia writes for children aged 3-12, and her artistic mandate is to inspire and enlighten. A science enthusiast from a young age, she now incorporates her studies in science and everlasting curiosity into her books. For more information, please visit www.lydialukidis.com.

broken Bees nest bookThe Space Rock Mystery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 2:  In the Classroom 

JAnet Slingerland authorAtoms and Molecules Book
Janet Slingerland is the author of more than 20 books for readers in grades K through 12. Her favorite subjects include STEM, history, and the history of STEM.

Janet grew up reading, writing, and conducting science experiments. After working for 15 years writing computer programs, She started writing books.

 

Author Carla MooneyBook The Human Genome  Carla Mooney 

@Carlawrites

Carla Mooney is an award-winning children’s author from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

She is the author of numerous nonfiction and fiction books and magazine articles for children and teens. She has won several nonfiction awards for her books.

 

author Karen Latchana Kenney

book Folding Tech   Karen Latchana Kenney

@KLatchanaKenney

Karen writes books about animals, and she looks for them wherever she  goes—from leafcutter ants trailing through the Amazon rain forest in Guyana, where she was born, to puffins in cliff-side burrows on the Irish island of Skellig Michael. She especially enjoys creating books about nature, biodiversity, conservation, and groundbreaking scientific discoveries—but also  civil rights, astronomy, historical moments, and many other topics.

 

 

Jenna GrodzikiJenna Grodinski

Jenna Grodzicki is the author of more than twenty fiction and nonfiction children’s books. Her books include Wild Style: Amazing Animal Adornments (Millbrook Press 2020) and I See Sea Food: Sea Creatures That Look Like Food (Millbrook Press 2019), the winner of the 2020 Connecticut Book Award in the Young Readers Nonfiction Category. Jenna lives near the beach with her husband and two children. In addition to being a writer, she is also a library media specialist at a K-4 school. To learn more, visit her website at www.jennagrodzicki.com.

I See Seafood book

Wild Style book

 

 

 

Week 3: Writing Tips & Resources

Author Heather L. MontgomeryWho Gives a Poop? book Heather L. Montgomery 

@HeatherLMont

Heather L. Montgomery writes for kids who are wild about animals. Her 14 nonfiction books include SOMETHING ROTTEN: A FRESH LOOK AT ROADKILL, LITTLE MONSTERS OF THE OCEAN: METAMORPHOSIS UNDER THE WAVES, and BUGS DON’T HUG: SIX-LEGGED PARENTS AND THEIR KIDS.

 

Writer Mike Hays Mike Hays

@coachhays64

Mike Hays has worked hard from a young age to be a well-rounded individual. A well-rounded, equal opportunity sports enthusiasts, that is. If they keep a score, he’ll either watch it, play it, or coach it. He also is a history fanatic, especially regional history. A molecular microbiologist by day, middle-grade author, sports coach, and general good citizen by night.

 

Kirsten Williams Larson authorWood, Wire and Wings book  Kirsten W. Larson

@KirstenWLarson

Kirsten used to work with rocket scientists at NASA. Now she writes books for curious kids. Kirsten is the author of WOOD, WIRE, WINGS: EMMA LILIAN TODD INVENTS AN AIRPLANE, as well as 25 nonfiction books for the school and library market.

 

Margo LemieuxMargo Lemieux

A recently retired professor of art, Margo is devoted to seeing that the A stays in STEAM. Science & technology need the heart that comes with art. It was lack of heart that led to the ecological crisis we have today. The process of creativity is closely related to that of scientific inquiry.

She is a  published picture book writer and illustrator, editor, poet, and amateur ukulele player. In her art projects, she often included science concepts as a way of connecting learning.

 

 

Week 4: Author Interviews

author christine Taylor-butler

book The Circulatory System
Christine  has written more than 80 books including The Lost Tribe series. She has been an advocate for diversity in character representations and led by example.

Taylor-Butler majored in civil engineering and architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, graduating in 1981. She has written nonfiction for Scholastic, including for their True Book educational series.

 

 

Andi DiehnAndi Diehn

Andi Diehn grew up near the ocean chatting with horseshoe crabs and now lives in the mountains surrounded by dogs, cats, lizards, chickens, ducks, moose, deer, and bobcats, some of which help themselves to whatever she manages to grow in the garden. You are most likely to find her reading a book, talking about books, writing a book, or discussing politics with her sons. She has 18 children’s nonfiction books published or forthcoming. www.andidiehn.com

 

Space Adventurer Book Cool Women in Technology

 

And me,

author jennifer swansonLEGO AMazing Earth book  Jennifer Swanson

@JenSwanBooks

Jennifer Swanson is the award winning author of over 40+ nonfiction books for children, mostly about science and technology. Jennifer’s love of STEM began when she started a science club in her garage at the age of 7. While no longer working from the garage, Jennifer’s passion for science and technology resonates in all her books but especially, BRAIN GAMES (NGKids) and SUPER GEAR: Nanotechnology and Sports Team Up (Charlesbridge), Astronaut-Aquanaut, and Parents’ Choice Gold Award Winner, Save the Crash-test Dummies. Her  BRAIN GAMES book was even #13 on the The Planets.org 50 Best Science books Ever Written.

 

We hope you are enjoying our STEM Tuesday blog. If you use it in your classroom or homeschool, please let us know. And if you have a topic that you would like us to cover that we haven’t yet, leave your suggestion in the comments below.  GO STEM!!

Judy Blume: The Author, the Legend… The MOVIE!

Judy Blume, author

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret was the first book I bought with my own money. Later, Judy signed it for me at a meet-and-greet at Eeyore’s, the iconic and sadly, now defunct children’s bookstore on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

“To Melissa,” she inscribed. “Love, Judy Blume.” Yes, Judy had written “Love” in my book. This was more valuable than my collection of Bonne Bell Lip Smackers and Wacky Packages combined.

Margaret: The OG

I read Margaret obsessively, for months. Soon, my once-pristine paperback felt apart (above, left) and I retired it to my bookshelf, only to be brought out for special occasions, like birthdays, or to impress my friends. I purchased a new Margaret (this time, my mom paid for it), and when that copy fell apart, I bought another. And another. And then another…

I Must… I Must… I Must Increase My…

As a voracious reader with an underdeveloped body and an overactive imagination, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret—which was published in 1970, when books weren’t banned for using words like “menstruation,” “masturbation,” and “wet dreams”—had an enormous impact on me. I could relate to Margaret’s yearning for breasts, and for her period, and for her desire to impress the girls in Nancy Wheeler’s secret club, the Four PTS’s. And who could begrudge Margaret’s crush on Philip Leroy? Sure, Jay Hassler was nicer, and he had clean fingernails, but Philip Leroy was hot.

Margaret Simon, Movie Star

With that in mind, you can imagine my reluctance to see the movie version of Margaret. I knew it couldn’t possibly be as good as the book, but I was too curious not to go. Plus, my 23-year-old daughter, an avid Margaret fan too, gamely agreed to go with me. So, off we went.

I was grateful to see how closely the movie hewed to the book, especially its 1970s setting, updated and enhanced by a more inclusive and diverse cast. Abby Ryder Fortson, the 15-year-old star, brings Margaret to life, with a perfect combination of moxie and self-reflection, and Kathy Bates, whose incomparable comic timing makes Margaret’s grandma, Sylvia Simon, sparkle like a Swarovski crystal, gives a standout performance as well. Other notables include Elle Graham as alpha girl Nancy Wheeler; Isol Young, as the misunderstood Laura Danker; and Amari Alexis Price as Margaret’s effervescent pal, Janie.

But the best part of the movie…?

The cameo of Judy Blume walking her dog, along with real-life husband, George Cooper. I could have watched that all day. 😀 (For more on Melissa’s admiration for Judy Blume, check Are You There Judy? It’s Me Melissa.)

Kidlit Authors ❤️ Judy Blume

I asked MUF contributors and other children’s authors—including bestselling author and illustrator Debbie Ridpath Ohi, who illustrated the fabulous Simon & Schuster Judy Blume book-cover reissues (see above, and below)—to share their admiration for the Queen of Kidlit.  Here’s what they had to say…

Debbie Ridpath Ohi

“While I was growing up, reading Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret helped me realize that I wasn’t the only one thinking these crazy thoughts, and that everything was going to be okay.”

Debbie Ridpath Ohi, illustrator of the Simon & Schuster Judy Blume book-cover reissues and award-winning author and illustrator. Learn more about Debbie on her website and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

(For more on Debbie’s experience illustrating the Judy Blume cover reissues, click here.)

Beth McMullen

“I saw the movie with a group of friends, and we agreed it felt like a surreal trippy visit to the 1970s that felt faithful to the book. I had completely forgotten about the religious exploration part of the book, which reminded me how much that resonated with my young self. I grew up in a very small, very Christian town and I was a weirdo transplant from New York City who was raised in a non-religious household.

Looking back now, I release how strange it was to identify as ‘not’ something, rather than as something, and how often I was called upon to defend my lack of religious affiliation in this community. Most middle-grade authors I’ve met have, at some point, felt like they were on the outside looking in, and this was certainly my experience around religion when I was young.”

–Beth McMullen, MUF member and author of the Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls series,  Lola Benko: Treasure Hunter series, Secret of the Storm series, and others. Find Beth on LinkTree and check out the Writers with Wrinkles podcast, which she co-hosts with MUF member Lisa Schmid.

Tonya Duncan Ellis

“Judy Blume was like that Big Sis who knew everyone’s secrets. I’ve read all of her books for tweens and teens, and they definitely influenced me as I wrote The Snitch and other books in my Sophie Washington series. Beloved characters like Fudge, Margaret, and Sheila the Great stay with me as an adult and played a huge role in making me a reader and book lover!”

Tonya Duncan Ellis, author of the Sophie Washington series. Learn more about Tonya on her website and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Chris Baron

“Like most kidlit writers, when I hear the name Judy Blume–I smile. I also think of Blubber, and the sharp white curves of the lettering on the cover. I watched that book spin on the fifth-grade book carousel while Mrs. Goldberg taught us math problems. I wanted to read it but was told the subject matter was a little ‘too much’ for me. But one day, I tucked it beneath The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe. I Immediately identified with Linda [aka ‘Blubber,’ the character bullied for her weight] for her demeanor and size, and the truthful and brave way Blume wrote this story. I felt like it had been written for me.

Whenever I read any of Judy Blume’s books, I still feel connected to Blubber. In my deepest writerly dreams, I hope that I can write books like this–with honest, memorable characters whose focused and relational stories are as intimate as a Sunday afternoon with friends, and as universal as the questions they make us ask about ourselves.”

Chris Baron, author of All of Me, The Magical Imperfect, and The Gray (out 6/13). Visit Chris on his website and follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

Heather Murphy Capps

“I can’t understate the influence Judy Blume had on my life as a young person. My BFF in grades 3-7 was Michelle, and we read Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret together– multiple times. Feeling deeply connected with Margaret’s narrative, we helped each other figure out how to use maxi pads, monitored our (seemingly slow-motion) progression toward puberty, and cheered each other on as we checked off those all-important development milestones. (“We must, we must, we must increase our bust!”) I think Margaret contributed to the foundation of that friendship, which was a fundamentally important part of my life during those years. (Sadly, we lost touch.)

As a writer, Judy Blume’s work serves as mentor text—a running tutorial every time I craft or edit character arc and emotional resonance. Blume’s work is timeless, and her influence on the MG space is one I will always appreciate, honor, and hope to emulate.”

Heather Murphy Capps, MUF member and debut author of Indigo and Ida. Learn more about Heather on her website and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Sally J. Pla

“I just finished watching the Judy Blume documentary (I loved it, of course). What moved me most was when Judy got choked up and cried, remembering one word in one book: The F word. It appears once, at a critical moment, in Here’s to You, Rachel Robinson. Her editor told her it would cause banning, but he supported whatever decision she made about leaving it in or taking it out. Judy resolved not to take it out. Because censoring herself wouldn’t be true to the story, true to the character, true to her readers or herself. And in recalling this decision, she broke down in tears. Those tears moved me so much. Such a small thing: one word. Such a big, important thing: artistic integrity. This loyalty to her vision, and to her readers’ real lives, will always stay with me.”
–Sally J. Pla, author of The Someday Birds; Stanley Will (Probably) Be Fine, and the forthcoming The Fire, the Water, and Maudie McGee; creator/editor of A Novel Mind. Find  Sally on Linktree.

Mae Respicio

“Judy Blume’s books took me through girlhood with glimpses of love, friendship, and periods… Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret was such a heart book for me that I was specifically asked by my beloved elementary-school librarian, Mr. Reilly, to take a break from checking it out so that other kids could have a chance to read it. And as a middle-grade author who writes about everyday kids in their everyday worlds, her books were one of my very first inspirations.”
Mae Respicio, author of How to Win a Slime War, Any Day with You, and The House That Lou Built. Learn more about Mae on her website, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Carol Weston

“So many girls identify with Margaret. Me, I identified with Judy. My first book was Girltalk: All the Stuff Your Sister Never Told You, and Newsweek once called me a “Teen Dear Abby.” But I didn’t want to be Dear Abby, I wanted to be Judy Blume. I wanted to write fiction. I was over 40 when I finally made the leap.Did it help that I heard Judy speak at Marymount College? I think so. Her beloved father, like mine, had died too young, and she choked up talking about her grief. Getting rejections was hard too, but she persevered. She was so real and so radiant. So generous. I was starstruck. Still am.

I love the new movie, of course, and also the new documentary. Judy said she went to a therapist because it was such a responsibility to recieve so much mail from girls. I’ve been an advice columnist at Girls’ Life since 1994 and have sometimes felt buried in letters. I appreciated Judy’s therapist’s advice: “You can’t save everyone.” True. But I love that Judy hasn’t given up on trying. I’m a fan. Forever!”
–Carol Weston, author of Speed of Life, Girltalk, the Ava and Pip series, and more. Learn more about Carol on her website and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Mindy Alyse Weiss

“I remember how much I LOVED Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, and how relatable yet shocking it was, in the best possible way. Judy really changed kidlit! The novel that made the biggest impact on me as a kid was Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. Later, while getting my degree in elementary education, I saw the magic of reading it aloud—and of course I read it to my daughters. My oldest was in kindergarten, the youngest in preschool, and they sat, mesmerized, begging me to read another chapter or two before stopping for the night.”

–Mindy Alyse Weiss, Mixed-Up Files contributor, MG author, and host of #PBParty and co-host of #PBFest. Learn more about Mindy on her website and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Faran Fagen

“I enjoyed reading Judy Blume’s book growing up, because I felt like she spoke to me. I actually met her in Key West, at her bookstore. She was so nice, and took a whole bunch of pictures with me and then signed her new book, which I bought for my wife. As far as the documentary, I couldn’t stop watching it, and I plan to watch it again. The most striking takeaway was that no matter how famous she got, or how much her life changed, Judy always took the time to connect with children—her readers—and put them first.”

Faran Fagen, Mixed-Up Files contributor, teacher, journalist and MG author. Find Faran on Facebook and Twitter.

Kellye Crocker

“Judy Blume has had a tremendous impact on me, both as a lifelong reader and writer. She told the truth to young people. That’s powerful and an incredible gift. Many of novels I read as a kid painted a false, saccharine picture of what life was supposed to look like, so I distinctly remember the shock I felt at reading Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. Here were girls like me, worrying about periods, boys, fitting in, and existential questions like: ‘Does God exist?’ and ‘Will I ever need a bra?’ (My mom refused to take me shopping for one until a boy in my fifth-grade class drew a picture of me with two dots on my chest. Deeply mortifying! But I’m…fine… Really! Um…I mean, mostly.)

Judy Blume’s books are funny and entertaining, and I devoured them all. But they were so much more. Validating. Informative. It was as if Judy showed us a secret world that other adults pretended didn’t exist—like what happens to boys during puberty. (No one told me!) I still remember someone’s well-loved copy of Forever being passed around the middle-school bus—with certain passages marked, of course. (They didn’t tell me about that, either!)

Judy was one of the first authors to write truly realistic fiction for and about young people, and she paved the way for other authors, and for me. She’s also fought tirelessly against censorship and the folks who believe they have the right to decide what other people’s kids should read. Judy Blume is a national treasure!”

–Kellye Crocker, debut author of My Dad’s Girlfriend and Other Anxieties. Learn more about Kellye on her website and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Wendy McLeod Macknight

“I was in grade six—small for my age and two years away from getting my period—when I heard rumblings about a BOOK. And not just any book, a book written by a female author who KNEW what it meant to be twelve years old and feeling less than. Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret was being passed from girl to girl like a sacred text, but I couldn’t wait: I used my savings to buy my own copy and devoured it in one sitting. Then promptly reread it. It was the first book I’d ever read that addressed the inner lives of young girls. Judy Blume got us. She KNEW. She UNDERSTOOD. We were no longer alone.

She became my patron saint, her work a beacon of safety and understanding as I navigated the choppy seas of middle school. I’m not sure Judy Blume made me want to be a writer, but I do know this: Judy Blume made me believe things would be okay. And honestly? That was everything.”

Wendy McLeod MacKnight, author of The Frame-Up, The Copycat, and It’s a Mystery, Pig Face! Follow Wendy on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Rosanne Parry

“I saw a preview of the movie a few weeks ago, and I was really touched by it. I was happily surprised to see that they kept the early Seventies setting. Even nicer to see all the glory and agony of girl friendships played out so beautifully, without cellphones, cyber bullying, or the continuous drumbeat of gun menace that children face today.”

Rosanne Parry, Mixed-Up Files contributor and New York Times bestselling author of A Wolf Called Wander, A Whale of the Wild, and the upcoming A Horse Named Sky. Learn more about Rosanne via her website and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.