What to Read After... Judy Blume

Published on: 20 January 2020 Author: Anna McKerrow

Judy Blume is an absolute trailblazer when it comes to books for children and teens - but if you know young people who have enjoyed her stories, what should they try next?

The front covers of a selection of Judy Blume books

Titles such as Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret, Forever, Deenie, Starring Sally J Freedman as Herself, Superfudge, Iggie's House and Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing are iconic books in the canon of children's literature. But if you're looking for other books for the tweens in your life, where to start?

For more classic American authors...

If you're looking for other brilliant American authors who wrote books in the 80s and 90s about growing up, friendship and changing bodies, Paula Danziger's The Cat Ate my Gymsuit and There's a Bat in Bunk Five are perfect for tweens, as are Lois Lowry's Anastasia books - and, like Judy Blume, they stand the test of time.

For more recent stories...

Geek Girl

Louise Rennison's Georgia Nicholson books are perfect for tweens and young teens, as are Nat Luurtsema's Lou Out of Luck and Holly Smale's Geek Girl series.

Comedian Catherine Wilkins also handles worries, school and friendships brilliantly well in books like When Good Geeks Go Bad and The Weird Friends Fan Club.

Elsewhere, Carina Axelsson's Royal Rebel brings all things tween up to date by featuring a vlogging main character, as does Emma Moss' Girls Can Vlog and Rae Earl's Help! My Cat's a Vlogging Superstar! 

For something a little different...

The front cover of  The Monstrous Child

In Oh My Gods, Alexandra Sheppard imagines what would happen if a teen girl's family were Greek gods; Hope Valentine's family in Happy Girl Lucky are celebrities a la the Kardashians, and Francesca Simon's The Monstrous Child imagines the Norse goddess of the underworld, Hel, as a teen girl.

For some helpful non-fiction for boys and girls between 10-13...

The Girl Guide, What is Masculinity?Mind Your Head, and What is Gender? are all helpful, age appropriate reads.

And for politically-minded tween activists, Renee Watson and Ellen Hagan's Watch Us Rise is a fiction novel featuring some inspirational teen girl characters; Stories for South Asian Super Girls: A Treasure Trove of 50 Illustrated Biographies of Amazing South Asian Women chronicles the amazing achievements of south Asian women from Jameela Jamil to Jayaben Desai, a worker's rights activist; and Queer Heroes will educate Judy Blume fans of all ages about a variety of truly inspirational people, and encourage self-acceptance and expression in all of us - which was always the key message in her books.

Your suggestions

The front cover of Always Here For You

Illustration: Sophie Stand

Now it's your turn! We'd love to hear your suggestions and recommendations for Judy Blume fans - and to get you started, we asked Glenthorne High School librarian Lucas Maxwell for his tips.

He suggested Always Here For You by Miriam Halahmy for 12+ readers: 'A terrifying and current story about a girl who strikes up a friendship with someone online and gets involved in a dangerous game of lies and deceit.'

And he also recommended that 13+ readers try Sarah Govett's India Smythe Stands Up: 'A hilarious comedy about a girl who can't stop getting in her own way. When she's taken in by the coolest group of girls in school, she catches the eye of the most popular boy in town. She then embarks on a series of awkward misadventures that send her into a social nightmare. Funny and sharp.'

Over on Twitter, @StMichaelsLibOx said: 'I always think that Jacqueline Wilson is our equivalent to Judy Blume, as well as Lisa Thompson and Cath Howe - all are excellent at writing well about young people and their feelings.' Too true!

There were more fantastic suggestions from @ALibraryLady, who said: 'I would add Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo and Splash by Charli Howard, both thoughtful and perceptive stories that would appeal to readers of about 11+.'

So go on, let us know what you can recommend! You can get involved by leaving comments below or by tweeting us @BookTrust using the hashtag #WhatToReadAfter. We'll update this page soon with our favourite suggestions...

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