Thank God for Judy Blume!

I remember being in 5th grade and my school was having a book fair.  Breaking open my piggy bank (actually it was a Campbell’s soup bank), I took all my money to school that day.  I always loved books, I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t reading something, anything.  So, off I went to school with money in hand.  I heard my friends shrieking over the Beverly Cleary books, the new Nancy Drew book, and as I walked over to a spinning rack of books, one book in particular caught my eye.  It was, “Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret”.

I don’t know why, but something made me hold Judy’s book tightly against my chest, and not really share what I purchased that day.  You see, I was a 5th grader, coming from a broken and abused home, living with my great-grandmother, and somehow going to a private school where everyone arrived happy and seemed to have their life together….but me.  I realize now, looking back at my younger self, that nothing is ever as it appears.  However, I certainly always felt the odd person out.

From that point on, I was a Judy Blume girl. I bought anything Judy.  She was the mom I so desperately wanted for myself.  Well, any person who was not emotionally or physically abusive would do!  From each page, I learned it was okay to be different, okay to ask questions, okay to be me, and despite my childhood, still have value in this world.  Reading Judy Blume books served 2 purposes for me: I learned from the journey of each character how to survive my pre-teen and teen years, and also there was this other voice-the voice of the author, that somehow made me feel not so alone.

Now, as a parent of 2 teenage sons and 1 preschooler, I have those same conversations with my children, that Judy had with all her young readers: forbidden love, feelings of inadequacy, first time crushes, etc. There is nothing in my household that is taboo.  Most of all, I realize that God was there all along, and Judy was the voice God used to talk to me at such a young age.  I don’t have many fond memories of my childhood, but Judy is that ever present light that gave me hope to move forward and to know that it truly does get better.

Thank-you Judy, for being my surrogate mom and for teaching me to value myself, that I do have a voice, and that I matter.


Lisa Salazar

National Read a Book Day!

Happy National Read a Book Day!!  While I read every night, it’s always fun to have a day devote to recognizing the importance of reading.  We all know the benefits to reading and how important it is to start early.  So, I reflected on my childhood favorites, as well as some of my children’s favorite books, too!  Even though I do not typically review children books, my love for reading began when I was a child.  I thought I’d share a few really great books that I grew up loving and they are books my children grew up reading as well.



I remember reading this book as a child, and later buying this book for our oldest son.    We purchased the whole Dr. Seuss collection and my husband would read to my stomach, so that he could hear (while I was pregnant).  Phillip grew up on Dr. Seuss and loved the books!

This book was my younger sons, favorite book!  We’d read it to him and build up the anticipation of “who is that monster at the end of the book?”.  Sesame street books were his favorite and he loved every one of them!







This is one of my daughter’s favorite books! While I didn’t have a book like this growing up, my daughter loves touching the honey bees and counting with me.  It’s a book that she loves reading over and over again with me :)





As a child, this is a book that I read over and over again.  It was a simple book, but with a powerful image.  I always felt so sad at the end, wondering why the little boy couldn’t appreciate what he had.  It’s a book that is my all time favorite!

Judy Blume books were my saving grace growing up!  I absolutely loved every book she wrote and while everyone was reading, Beverly Cleary books, I was reading these thought provoking books that seemed to speak to me each time I opened the books.  While I also love Beverly Cleary books, my life was so stressful and full of turmoil that I couldn’t resonate with the innocence Ramona had and the intact family she came from.  However, as an adult, I have come to appreciate Beverly’s books as my sons loved hearing all her books on audio.  When we’d go on trips or simply be driving around, we nixed the videos and played audio books instead.  It was so entertaining for us and I have many fond memories of our trips when my children were young.  However, as a child from a broken and abusive home, I connected so much with Judy Blume, and this book is one of my absolute favorites!


Long before 90210 was the craze for all teenage girls, Sweet Valley High had already made its mark in the literary world!  If you were a girl and loved romance, most likely you were also reading your Sweet Valley High books, too!  I remember saving my money and buying every book!  Francine Pascal couldn’t write quick enough for me!! I loved her books and was absolutely excited when Francine Pascal released a book, titled Sweet Valley High Confidential recently!!

So, what are some of your favorite childhood books?  I’d love to hear from you!  Again, it doesn’t matter what genre of reading your prefer, doesn’t matter if it’s a holiday or not, making time to read is what is most imporant :)