To submit requests for assistance, or provide feedback regarding accessibility, please contact

Arts & Entertainment

Idea Case Studies

Judy Blume

Lesson time 8:20 min

Judy shares the inspiration behind some of her most iconic and enduring books and characters: Margaret, Fudge, and Blubber.

Judy Blume
Teaches Writing
In 24 lessons, Judy Blume will show you how to develop vibrant characters and hook your readers.
Get Started


From Margaret, what I remember is saying, now I'm going to write a book-- forget the rules. I had taken a class, and there was some rules about children's books. Everything has to be tied up neatly. Children can never eavesdrop. I mean all the things that-- I was just so-- not true for me. So my idea was I'm going to sit down now, and I'm just going to start telling this story that I know to be true, based very much on my own sixth-grade experience, although very different in terms of the characters. But am I, was I, like Margaret? Yes. I was small. I was skinny. I was a late developer. I was obsessed by the idea of growing breasts and getting my period. That was so much a part of that one year of my life. Oh, I tried everything. I had a little bra, and I tried socks in it. And I tried toilet paper. Maybe I didn't have a bra yet. Maybe I just put cotton balls inside my t-shirt, and they fell down. And I tried socks, and that was like a little overkill. And I just played with the idea of, when will this happen to me? A lot of my friends in sixth grade developed years before I did. Because at 12, some of them were fully developed. They had their periods. They had breasts. They were as tall as they were going to get. And I was just this little skinny Judy. And so that was a very big part of it. Puberty, the whole idea of growing up, I really wanted it. I wanted it. And I've met a lot of kids who are just the opposite. They say I never wanted it. I cried. I never wanted to grow up. But I did. I wanted to grow up. I think the fantasy of a lot of children is to be grown up. That's what we play that. We wanted to be grown up. So I was going to put that in, in this book. I was determined to put this in, whether it had ever been done before, I don't know. I didn't care. I was going to do it. And it never occurred to me to be afraid to do this, that there would be any problems doing this. This was real. This was, again, the reality that I knew. The question of religion and how do you choose a religion, that was fictional. And it's interesting when I think about the book today, it's really so much about finding your place, finding what you believe in. Margaret went out there looking for God everywhere, in churches and synagogues. But she never found the god that she had, obviously, inside-- the god that she talked to, that she confided in. I had my own relationship with God, a very private relationship with God that I also would never, ever have told anyone about. But that was true. I did say, are you there god? It's me, Judy, not Margaret. [MUSIC PLAYING] So for "Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing," the character of Fudge was definitely inspired by my little son, Larry, when he was that age. Larry was probably-- he was past toddler age by then. ...

Write timeless stories

Judy Blume broke the rules. Her refreshingly honest children’s books were banned by hundreds of libraries and loved by generations of readers, who bought 85 million copies of classics like Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret and Superfudge. In her first online writing class, the award-winning author teaches you how to invent vivid characters, write realistic dialogue, and turn your experiences into stories people will treasure.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

It helped me to at least start a few stories ,but I wouldn't be able to do that without Judy Blume thanks to her I'm going to complete writing a story

I was just so touched by Judy's way of being and og speaking honestly and directly to me. I feel incouraged to go in writing and have learned more about the importance of characters.

So great to hear Judy's take on writing. She's so successful that it was surprising to hear some of her struggles. I appreciate her candor.

This class is practical & encouraging. Judy does not disappoint! My admiration for her, which was already great, has grown as a result of this class.


Victoria S.

I love listening to her talk. She's so passionate about writing. Also, in quarantine looking for news articles is fun. There are some strange things going on in our world, like the elephants broke into a Farm and got drunk on whisky.

Corinne M.

I am loving to hear and feel the enthusiastic honesty of Judy Blume & how she came to creating her books!!!

Anna-Maria B.

It is so interesting and inspiring to learn how Judy created her characters. I'm feeling very honoured that she shares her knowledge with us!


What I am really enjoying about Judy's teaching is her sharing her personal process for developing ideas and stories. Each writer is going to develop their own method that makes sense to them and how they think/write, but I am learning a lot from her style and how personally she owns the information she teaches.


Judy Blume's books made such a massive impact on my life in early childhood. To watch her dissect some of those books and give background about herself is truly revelatory. However, the constant interruption of lesson downloads in the middle of segments is REALLY annoying and disjoints the viewing process because the entire programme is paused when these bloody prompts appear and then as you try to dismiss them, it can jump to the next section so you then have to stop the programme and go back to where you originally were. It would be far more helpful if you just provide a workbook, get the student to download it prior to the class and they can make notes or whatever without having to be prompted and allow us to watch the entire class without interruption.

A fellow student

As a teacher I can definitely see how you could get story ideas from students or things that go on in the classroom. It has me thinking about my own childhood memories too.

A fellow student

Remembering my childhood and my children's growing up is making me think in a way that I haven't done for a long time. It's too easy to forget. I need to mull over these memories.


I can relate to Judy's experiences that she wrote about in Margaret. This lesson, as well as the previous lessons, have me thinking/reflecting on my childhood experiences. I am thinking of how I can incorporate those ideas into my writing.

A fellow student

I grew up reading the Fudge books and Are You There God?, so it's fascinating hearing about the ideas behind them!

Kai D.

I love hearing about where the first sparks of an idea for a story came from. Sometimes I think about my own ideas and laugh about how I came up with them, that is, if I remember.