Judy Blume Documentary to Shed Light on Author’s Youth in NJ

Judy Blume, who was born and raised in Elizabeth, is one of America’s most beloved authors.

Judy Blume
Judy Blume grew up in Elizabeth. Photo courtesy of Elena Seibert

Lifelong fans of the iconic children’s and young-adult writer Judy Blume will get the chance to revisit their childhood now that a documentary about the best-selling novelist is in the works.

The story of the New Jersey native and author of numerous classic titles—including Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, Blubber, Superfudge, Tiger Eyes, Wifey, and Forever…—is being produced by Imagine Media. A release date has not yet been set.

Montclair resident Leah Wolchok, who was behind the Emmy-winning documentary Very Semi Serious, is set to codirect and produce the project, along with Davina Pardo and Imagine’s documentary team.

Blume’s 29 books—including 1970’s “Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret”—have sold a total of more than 90 million copies.

Blume, who was born and raised in Elizabeth, is one of America’s most beloved authors. The documentary is the coming-of-age tale of the author and the generations of readers who found themselves in her books. Blume has been writing for more than 50 years, and her books have left an indelible mark on popular culture.

Many of Blume’s books were controversial for their frankness about puberty and sex, including Forever… and Wifey, and often landed her in the center of debates about whether they were appropriate for children and teenagers. She has been placed at or near the top of the list of authors most frequently banned, according to the American Library Association.

Her 29 books have sold a total of more than 90 million copies in 32 languages.

The upcoming film tracks her trajectory from fearful, imaginative child to storytelling pioneer who elevated the physical and emotional lives of tweens and teens to banned writer who continues to fight back against censorship today.

Blume, 84, is one of the most well-known authors of children’s books in the world today. She lived in New Jersey for much of her early life. In March, a Garden State Parkway service area was named for her; in 2010, she was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame.

In 2015, Blume wrote a novel, In the Unlikely Event, based on her experiences growing up in Elizabeth. Over a two-year period, three planes crashed in her hometown, leading newspapers to dub the densely populated place Plane Crash City.

Blume credits her parents for encouraging her to feed her imagination with books and giving her the freedom to see plays and explore New York City while growing up in the Garden State.

“I had the freedom to be a kid—a lot more freedom than kids today,” Blume said in a 2015 interview with New Jersey Monthly. “And the greatest thing my parents gave me was that they were both readers, and I had the freedom to read. I think from books, that allowed me to satisfy my curiosity about the adult world.”

Click here to leave a comment

By submitting comments you grant permission for all or part of those comments to appear in the print edition of New Jersey Monthly.