The Fourth Grade Nothing Turns Forty


I'm a believer in celebrating whatever we can in life but I was floored when Penguin told me it was Fudge's 40th Anniversary. How could it be 40 years?  Then I looked at my grown children and remembered that the character of Fudge was originally based on my son Larry when he was a toddler.  So much for time flying and all that.


It's been a great 40 years and I can't thank my readers enough for embracing Fudge and my other books and passing them down from generation to generation.  I sometimes have to warn parents, if you want your kids to read and love the books you did, don't tell them you loved them.  That could be the kiss of death. parents are so uncool.  Who wants to read the books they read?  The secret is in leaving a book or two around the house as if you've no interest in them - and sometimes even saying, I really don't think you're ready for that book. New cover art helps, too, even if no cover art will ever compare to the edition you grew up with.   With younger kids it's different. You just start reading to them and with luck you'll be reading a chapter a night. 


I never dreamed all those years ago that Fudge would have such a long and happy life.  In those days I just dreamed of being published.  Who knew Ricky Bobby would one day read from Superfudge to his comatose friend in Talladega Nights? (Wait – comatose?) Who knew when I was in 5th grade cleaning out my pet turtle’s bowl that one day I would hear from kids who have named the family dog Turtle? I identified with Peter, in Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, when he brought home his tiny turtle and his mother more or less held her nose, as unhappy to have a turtle in the house as my mother once was.


When I finished Tales… I had no intention of writing about Fudge again.  For one thing, series weren't in in the 70's.  And I had too many other characters with their own stories rattling around inside my head.  So how did I wind up writing five books about Fudge and his family?  I could say My readers made me do it!  It was years of letters from them asking for another book about Fudge that led to the next book and the ones after that.  They’d send me ideas -  Fudge grows up and becomes a drug dealer. (Uh, no, I don’t think so.)  Peter puts Fudge in the dryer and turns it to high. (Definitely not.) 


But we wouldn’t be celebrating at all if it hadn’t been for Ann Durell at E.P. Dutton who saw promise in a picture book I submitted 40 years ago based on a story I’d read in the paper about a real toddler who’d swallowed a pet turtle.  She suggested I turn that story into a chapter book.  Big thanks to Ann, always.  And big thanks to my readers for their incredible loyalty.  I write because I can't not write -- but the pleasure comes from sharing what I write with you.


Free sample excerpts from these books are available for download on the product pages now!



NOOK owners: go to shop and search for “Judy Blume” to download her wonderful books now.

by LisaRedSox on ‎12-07-2011 08:39 AM

Judy Blume's books made being an adolescent girl so much more bearable. You always felt like someone understood exactly what you were going through.

by Anna_Louise on ‎12-07-2011 08:42 AM

I loved all those books and can't believe that it is 40 years old!  My son read them as well and loved them and now recently I am reading them to my third grade class who is loving it!

by NOOKADDICTJS ‎12-07-2011 08:51 AM - edited ‎12-07-2011 08:52 AM

Love Judy Blume books. She connected with me as a 12 year old in "Are you There God It's Me Margaret?" GREAT BOOK! Thank you Judy!

by Kelly-W on ‎12-07-2011 08:58 AM

Judy, thank you so much for helping me, and millions of others, through that rough adolescent period! I enjoyed reading all your books as a young adult and even re-reading them to my daughter when she was a young child. Also, thank you for "Summer Sisters". It was nice to read a great "grown-up" book from someone who was so special to me growing up! Thank you for all the wonderful stories and memories that will last a lifetime! I can't wait to share these amazing books with my grandchildren someday.


Kelly, Illinois

by Juicemom2 on ‎12-07-2011 09:14 AM

It's hard to pick my favourite Judy Blume book, they are all so wonderful. I love "Forever" and the whole "Fourth Grade" series, but "Are You There God, It's Me Margret" is just so wonderful...definitely my favourite!



by princessapr on ‎12-07-2011 09:16 AM

I always think Super Fudge was a milestone in my life.  I remember it was the first book I read with no pictures on every page.  I kept reading thinking there'd be a picture coming up, but there never was.  Then, I realized that, with no pictures, there was plenty of room for more story.


I already have a Judy Blume book for my little one when she's old enough to read. 

by Diertac ‎12-07-2011 10:09 AM - edited ‎12-07-2011 10:13 AM

My controlling and uptight mother specifically forbade me from reading anything written by Judy Blume after reading something she deemed too "spicy" in one of her books. (Probably "Forever" or "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret." is my guess)


Because of this, Judy Blume books became treasures to me, gold to be stashed away and hidden. I read every last one of her books, which I surreptitiously borrowed from friends, or checked out at the library. When my mother found "Are You There God?..." hidden between my boxspring and mattress during one of her routine searches of my room, I took to reading Judy Blume's books in classes, hidden behind my text books. I would go to friends' houses, just to read her books there. My thirst for the words of Judy Blume WOULD be quenched, dammit.


Thank you, Ms. Blume for the stories that guided me through so many of the awkward milestones in my life. Your words for some reason were a lightning rod that polarized my mother. I don't know why she reacted the way she did, but I did know that I would not allow her to be my censor, and I learned that I should censor no one either. Very valuable lessons.


And of course, I just loved Fudge!

by JeremyCesarec on ‎12-07-2011 10:16 AM

Thanks for sharing all of your great Judy Blume stories. Keep them coming!

by AilsaMaire on ‎12-07-2011 12:14 PM

Ms. Blume, what a loving tribute to your 40 year old "baby". Your books impacted me as a child more than words can express. I wish you continued joy and success. My oldest son is *almost* ready for your books. I look forward to casually adding them to the bookshelf for him to discover on his own. P.S. I'd love to see more on your blog!

by Blomette on ‎12-07-2011 01:06 PM

I read them with my own sons back in the 80s and early 90s.  Fond memories!

by LillieAna on ‎12-07-2011 10:32 PM

This brings back fond memories of reading Are you there God? It is me Margaret. Fortunately I don't remember my parents having any problems with me reading this book.

by stacywagon on ‎12-08-2011 12:43 AM
Trash!!! When my sister was in fourth grade she brought home a Judy Blume book. I was sixteen at the time and we always spent time together reading. If you think peeping tom trying to look in a window to see an older girl take her bra off and "wet dreams" appropriate family reading then get her books for your kids. When my Dad was through my sister wasn't allowed in the classroom when the teacher was reading that garbage. It was perverted then to me as it is today. Fourth grade people. Why doesn't the PTA stand and read that book if their so proud of it. As mother of a grown son and two grown daughters, our library and reading time was quite fun and adventurous despite the absence of the trashy Judy Blume.