Léna is also a Regional Manager for Writopia Lab whose mission is to foster joy, literacy, and critical thinking in kids and teens from all backgrounds through creative writing.

"Well, the question is, what do you want to believe? Do you want to live in a world where things are possible, or in one where they aren't?" Cin, Edges.

Monday, September 30, 2013

I Held Hands with Judy Blume!!!!!

There aren't many people I would drive through two hours of bumper-to-bumper traffic to see, but when my sister suggested I meet her at the main branch of the New York City Public Library on 42nd Street and 5th avenue to see Judy Blume and Eric Carle for a special reading and panel discussion celebrating the NYPL's first ever list of 100 great children's books of the past 100 years, of course I said YES!

(And yes, my grandmother's A Wrinkle in Time is on that list . . .)

And . . . I was late. (Because of said traffic.) But what a treat! The woman is 75 years old and looks thirty years younger. Every fiber of her being is attentive and completely engaged. She talked about the joys of revising - yet another reason why I love this woman! (Not just for Are you there God, It's Me, Margaret, Deenie, Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great and the mind-blowing FOREVER.) She read a snippet from Double Fudge and every word was GOLD. She had us in the palm of her hands!

Leonard Marcus as the moderator was fabulous as usual. Eric Carle was adorable, and read his brand new book called Friends, but Judy was a childhood idol. Judy wrote for ME. She understood - she knew what it was like - she could read minds!

And I never got to meet her, to hold both of her hands and tell her what a difference she made in my life.

Until this morning. (She kept holding onto my hand as she high-fived the elementary school kids who were in the audience. So gracious!) I did not not ask for a photo or an autograph -

The hand-holding was more than enough!

Afterwards, my sister and I were treated to a private tour of the NYPL's acclaimed exhibition The ABC of it: Why Children's Books Matter which I urge you all to RUN to. It was also curated by Leonard, and he and the librarians and the conceptual artists did an amazing job. (Yes, A Wrinkle in Time is included, in the Banned Books section.) Look! There's the car from the Phantom Tollbooth! And the Wild Thing! And the Secret Garden! And, and, and . . . Just GO! You won't regret it. Tell them I sent you!

PS Whose hands would you like to hold?



  1. Awesome!! I would want to hold hands with Ray Bradbury, Jane Austen, and of course, your gran. :)

  2. She was the BEST hand-holder, of course!

  3. That's a wonderful account, Lena, and a fantastic suggestion! I will visit that exhibit! Love, Toni Marrero

  4. I would love to hold hands with basically every author. I probably could not pick one that would mean the most because they've all contributed vastly to my life and style of writing. Perhaps your hand would be a good hand to hold though, considering it was in your segment at Leakycon that I got my idea for the book I'll be writing during Nano this year (just a few years later than I thought of the idea, I know.).

    Robin McKinley would be a good hand to hold as well.

  5. Primeau gets a surprise when the "father" Jamie accompanies his kid on the ice rocking a mullet wig and a John Leclair jersey. Jamie tries to out-show his child in comic fashion. He constantly trips, hacks, and knocks his kid over. Primeau was observing all this but not taking any action.

  6. Wish I could hold your gran's hands. Ironically, I did meet her - she spoke at my church about a decade before her death - but I was too shy to speak to her. She was not among the people who inspired me to become a writer (mainly Eudora Welty and my own mother did that) but she did keep me alive through the long, dark winter of my freshman year of college, when I spent every free moment curled up with 'Irrational Season,' wishing I could go to sleep and never wake up. I don't think it's exaggerating to say she saved my life.

    Incidentally, it's a delight to me to learn that her granddaughter is also a writer. It seems to me that would have pleased her, DOES please her, wherever she is now, and since I love her and owe her, it pleases me as well. And it's just straight-up lagniappe that you are a fine writer in your own right, and you choose subjects very much to my taste.

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