In honor of Banned Books Week, we urge you to revisit this powerful and moving message recorded by Judy Blume. When she stepped into the studio to record the introduction of the first-ever audiobook release of Forever…, her beloved bestseller that has often been challenged in schools and libraries, she also had a lot to say about her longtime passion for supporting our freedom to read (and listen!) and why “librarians can save lives.”
Listen to the full interview here or scroll down to read select excerpts:
Select excerpts from Judy Blume’s recorded interview:
Judy Blume on advocating for the freedom to read and listen:
“I think I’ve been an advocate for the freedom to read because the greatest gift my parents gave to me was the freedom to read. And that meant that I could take any book from their bookshelves, and they had a lot of books, anytime, whenever I wanted to read one. They never questioned, they never said, ‘No, no, no, you’re not old enough to read this book!’ Of course I wasn’t old enough to read the book and I only got out of it what I got out of it but oh, that freedom to read anything just made me into a voracious reader.”
“I think my parents gave me that gift and that lead to my becoming an activist and wanting kids to have the freedom to choose. Choosing is very important. Choose the books that they want to read, listen to the books that they want to listen to. I’ve always said ‘This is a good thing.’ If they have questions, if they are curious, let them come to you. You read the book, too, as a parent. Read the book before them, read the book along with them, and encourage them to come to you with their questions.”
What role do libraries play in this fight against censorship?
“Public libraries, those who are librarians, media specialists at public libraries, have been incredibly supportive over the years. Just wonderful. I know situations where that knowing librarian has put into a child’s hand just the right book, just when that young person needs to read it. That’s because they really know their books…Books are to be read and books are to be enjoyed, and books are to talk about, and think about. This is what makes a young reader. If you have a librarian like that in your life, how lucky, how very lucky you are. So, you know, I’ve always said that librarians can save lives and they do it every day by getting the right book to the right child at the right time.”
For more information about Banned Books Week, click here.
Check out Audible’s article: On the Enduring Legacy of Judy Blume