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Arts & Entertainment

Writing for Younger Readers - Part 1

Judy Blume

Lesson time 14:30 min

Learn how to tap into the childhood version of yourself to authentically relate to younger readers. Kids have big questions and want their lives reflected in the books they read.

Judy Blume
Teaches Writing
In 24 lessons, Judy Blume will show you how to develop vibrant characters and hook your readers.
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I have this feeling that those of us who write or maybe work in any creative field-- there was something about the way we were born, something about the way we were children, that set us apart. We're not better. We're not worse. We're not really different. But this is something that we have inside us. Maurice Sendak once said, I've never had children but I was a child. And I think that's true of all of us who write for children. We are in such touch with the children we were-- that little Judy, whoever she is. I mean, she's right there, you know, and I have such memories. Can you remember the way your classroom smelled on a wet winter day. All of the details-- I have them. They're with me. Other people don't. And that's fine. But I think that's a difference between those of us who choose to write for children, and those of us who don't. If I were trying to get you to go back into your childhoods, maybe I would start with school, and I would say put yourself into your whatever grade-- put yourself into a third grade classroom. Who's your teacher? Who's sitting around you? What are you doing? I mean, I can go back, today, into my third grade classroom, and it's all there. You have to make a real effort to do that-- to go back and to find those details no matter how long ago it was, and how much things have changed. And you know what? If you can't really get there, then absolutely go into schools. Ask if you can help out at a classroom where you're writing a book and you need to observe. I know lots of people who do that. During the course of writing a book, you want to be able to see it. I hated secrets when I was growing up, and I remember that. They were always keeping secrets from the children. Don't tell the children. Don't tell the children. Don't tell-- tell them what, what, what? And what I made up in my head-- in my stories-- was usually much worse than what I would have learned had my parents told me the truth. So I think there's that-- secrets that adults are keeping from children. Things that they think children don't understand that children actually do understand or want to understand. So I like writing from that point of view. But again, you have to put yourself back into the child that you were. But a lot of times, adults want to forget about it and block it out because it was tough. Because there's no kid who grows up without having a lot of problems. Nobody. And the things that you have to come to terms with and go through, and the way you're treated, and the way you've treated other people. But sometimes you have to force yourself back there. When I started to write, and I got the first two books out of the way, then I knew that I wanted to write about kids on the cusp. I liked the idea of the 11, 12-year-old just on the edge. Because somewhere around that age, ...

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.

this was by far, the best class ever. Loved the material and instructor style.

First, let me say that Judy Blume is a national treasure. How lucky are we to learn from her and to benefit from her honest discussions about being a working writer. She has inspired me to keep moving forward and not to edit myself too much (at all) in my first draft. Just get it out on paper then sort it out in the next draft.

Class 1 was good. Don't give up and Don't listen to anyone who says you can't write. This wisdom made me cry. My first page is no longer blank.

Judy Blume is a true artist and an enlightened human being. Wonderful class, highly recommended.


Liz L.

This lesson was very helpful. I think the rule for keeping the story going is the best, most useful information I have ever received.

Michael (Mike) B.

I really enjoy Judy she has a great way of taking you into her way of creating. I enjoy listening to her I hope that I shall obtain a great deal of her mannerisms.

Victoria S.

I love listening to Judy talk about childhood. Listening to her brings back so many memories I haven't thought about in a while. Like my third grade teacher who layered on maroon lipstick so much that she left lipstick stains on her milk carton straw. I am so happy I chose Judy to help me get back to where I once was and can find who I am again.

Clara S.

I like Judy’s openness when writing about adolescent’s issues that were once taboo, yet, she manages to do it with sensitivity and finesse.

AuthorSheryl C.

I am so happy to hear a known writer say she hates themes. I know how it is. I have tons of books and I read only little of them. I read most of my research books on writing. It's been hard for me to get in a book unless its good or better than my idea. I remember one of my college courses which I finished. I never got the degree in public health thou. I wrote my first research paper from my own knowledge cause I worked a year and some months at my city local public health department. My professor goes you talk like you had MA in public health. This was my first semester for associate degree. I do it all the time when writing. I just felt like I was doing it all wrong.

Jonathan C.

I let life get in the way and stopped watching these amazing lessons for a while. To celebrate the new year and its possibilities, I logged in to start back up and I’m so glad I did. Judy’s words are nourishment my soul needed to kick itself back into gear and get writing again. Hearing her process, especially in this lesson, rang so true and helped me fight past some of the “do nots” I was taught.

A fellow student

Judy is talking to ME!!!!!!! The only thing I would like better is if we were sharing a cup of coffee or tea :)

A fellow student

Judy's knowledge, experience and energy are all important factors that make her lessons engaging and binge-worthy.

Therese P.

Judy was amazing! I love that she really wants to tap into who these young people are versus telling them who to be. Applause! Thank you!

Eileen N.

She is just great. Love the enthusiasm. Found that a couple of her books were banned (this makes her even more appealing), subjects too realistic and in opposition to what most adults want children to believe. I remember reading a book about teenage pregnancy, cannot remember the title. The younger sister may have been Joan who perfected a snort of derision, the best friend was named Suky (who looked like hair was combed with an eggbeater) and the boyfriend called his pregnant girlfriend Funny Face. Does anyone remember this?? i don't think she tells him about her condition until maybe the end of the book if at all. Is it Jean and Johnny by Beverly Cleary? (that just came to me)