Judy’s Childhood

Judy Blume

Lesson time 6:04 min

Judy was an anxious kid and used stories she invented as companions and a creative outlet. Hear her talk about the early beginnings of her rich imagination.

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


What was I like as a child? Well, it's funny because I always ask writers when I meet them, what were you like as a child, because I'm so curious. I was very small. I was anxious, but I was also, I like to make people laugh. Tremendously curious and imaginative. And I think, that's the big thing. The imagination never stopped. The stories that were inside my head, I kept a secret because I was afraid if I told anyone, guess what I have inside my head, they would think I was crazy. So this was something that was just for me. I don't know what my mother thought because I could spend hours outside when I was eight years old, bouncing a pink Spalding rubber ball against the side of the brick house-- red brick house. And I would do it for two hours before dinner, and, of course, I wasn't just bouncing a ball. I was running the stories inside my head-- wonderful stories, mellow dramatic stories. And I loved them. And I was never lonely. I had friends, and I loved being with my friends, but this was my special time alone to be with my stories. So that's why I'm so curious about, what were other writers like as children. I was fearful. I was very fearful. A lot of the things that my mother was afraid of, I was afraid of, but for instance, there was a church a few blocks away and when we were in the car-- and I was very small, maybe three, maybe four-- I was terrified of the stained glass window. I called it, the lady with no face. And my mother-- it's really funny because she didn't judge me on this. She just said, it's coming, and I would duck down in the front. We didn't have seat belts or car seats then. I would go down on the floor and cover my face. And she would say, it's OK. We've passed. And she never questioned me about this. It was just, Judy is afraid of the lady with no face. Judy is afraid of dogs. Judy is afraid of thunder and lightning-- which I'm still phobic about. But all kinds of things. And surely, it was that imagination-- what was it about the lady with no face that was so frightening? So I was that kind of child-- fearful, anxious, but also, a performer. Kind of two Judys-- two sides of one little girl. [MUSIC PLAYING] When I took piano lessons-- and I loved taking piano lessons-- I made my practice sessions much more exciting for me by keeping a notebook. And I invented a group of students that I had. I gave them names. I gave them what I now know, are back stories, but I had no idea then I was like 10 or 11 years old. And so when I practiced, I practiced as not as Judy, but as one of my students. And some of them were terrible. And I had to write that down in the notebook and some of them were better. And again, they each had sessions. They continued. I kept that notebook with my students and continued to see them as their teacher for a long time. I never s...

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.

Judy's course has really inspired me to use my own childhood stories to maybe reach a younger audience. This was very timely for me. Thank You Judy!

Judy Blume is the best. In 10,000 years after humans have terraformed Mars, there will be a statue of Judy Blume just outside the first martian library.

She comes across as the "girl next door'- that is, a very normal everyday person and not just a celebrity. She speaks from the heart.

I am not a writer in the sense that Judy is. However, I am a creative with a lot of original ideas that I'd like to put into the world. This class talks about fear & rejection, working through a project, and the safety you need when wrestling with your ideas. It's an incredible class regardless of your genre.


AuthorSheryl C.

I enjoyed looking back as a child. I pretend my dolls was my children. I play singer where I made up words like albums we enjoyed. My fears came from living in haunted house in my early life. I was real shy. I only got friends by others trying to make me talk but I got better in middle school.

Victoria M.

I enjoyed also looking back as a child. It really made me think and explore.

Karen M.

As an only child who spent much time alone, stories danced in my head as well.

A fellow student

It is interesting hearing about Judy as a child. I can relate to some of the things she was talking about, I used to throw a tennis ball on our roof and catch it in my baseball glove when I started playing softball as a kid. Driving around with no seat belts, life was simpler then, I am glad I grew up in the 70's!

Joshua A.

I’m so happy to start. I’m already a bestseller author but I want to jump into English. I’m pretty sure we will learn a lot from this amazing authors.

Jill B.

oh my, I bounced a rubber ball against my house when I was 10 years old...for hours. thinking of stories. Is that a thing?

Amy F.

I love hearing about Judy’s childhood!! I am an only child and her books (“Are You There God”) were my “friends” when I was growing up.

Phil A.

What an incredible lesson. I absolutely love the way she shares her childhood thoughts . They too go right to my heart, as I was an only child, filled with stories as well.

A fellow student

I feel a connection to Judy with this chapter. As well as the other students who have posted, I was shy and spent majority of my time living in my head, imagining different things. Writing was able to help me get those thoughts on paper and have fun with them! They kept me company during a rather lonely childhood which I am grateful for.

Neil G.

I liked that lesson. two a lot . I gues we all had active imaginations as children. I very much did and I lived a private inner life of imaginary creatures and bringing objects into character . I grew up as the youngest of four ina busy household . So I was kinda left to my imagination. Now at 62 I want to invigorate it with drive and purpose and finally get writing . Thanks Judy and all who have posted .