Judy Blume books are beloved by generations for a reason. The iconic, best-selling author crafted heart-warming tales for younger children that are filled with humor and honesty and reveal what it’s really like to be a little kid figuring out the world. Her ground-breaking middle grade books were among the first to tackle previously taboo subjects like racism, bullying, and spirituality. Although those themes sometimes lead to controversy (like a recent attempt to ban two of her books from school libraries in Texas), they’re also what make each story so entertaining and impactful.
Here are our favorite, most delightful, and important Judy Blume books (in chronological order) that belong in everyone’s classroom library.
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The One in the Middle is the Green Kangaroo
Freddy feels like a “great big middle nothing” stuck right in the middle between his big brother and little sister, so when the opportunity to star in the school play and finally shine comes up, Freddy jumps!
Iggie’s House, originally published in 1970, tells the story of a Black family that moves into a white neighborhood and sixth-grader Winnie, who wants to be their friend.
Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret
Sixth-grader Margaret doesn’t come from a religious family, but she talks to God about everything from friends and family to who she has a crush on.
Then Again, Maybe I Won’t
Thirteen-year-old Tony Miglione gives us a glimpse into the mind of an adolescent boy trying to figure out the real world.
Andrew wants to have freckles just like his friend Nicky. But when his know-it-all classmate Sharon sells him her secret recipe for freckle juice for fifty cents, it turns out to be a disaster. Will Andrew come up with a way to get his freckles and show them all?
It’s Not the End of the World
Sixth-grader Karen feels like her world is ending because her parents are getting divorced. What can she do to keep them together?
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing
Peter Hatcher has a two-year-old terror for a little brother. Fudge is constantly pesky and disruptive, but when he walks away with his brother’s pet turtle, it’s the last straw for Peter.
Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great
City girl Sheila Tubman is excited when her parents tell her they will be spending the summer in the country. Appearing brave and confident, but secretly full of insecurities, will Sheila survive the summer and tackle her fears?
Seventh-grader Deenie just wants to be an ordinary middle school girl. But when she is diagnosed with scoliosis, she is suddenly faced with doctor’s visits, body stockings, and worst of all, a terrifying body brace.
The Pain and the Great One
Eight-year-old “The Great One” and her six-year-old brother “The Pain” take sibling rivalry to new levels as they compete to be their parents’ favorite. Told in two parts—one from each sib’s point of view—each of them is convinced that they come out ahead in the end.
One of Blume’s best-selling books, Blubber is a timeless take on middle school bullying and how quickly thoughtless words can cause damage.
Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself
A poignant story about a fifth-grade girl who tackles post-World War II life with endless curiosity, a wild imagination, and lots of humor.
Peter Hatcher thought he had his hands full with pesky little brother Fudge, but now his parents tell him they are going to have another baby…and move to New Jersey for a whole year! How will Peter possibly survive?
Just As Long As We’re Together
Twelve-year-old Stephanie finds herself caught miserably in the middle between her longtime best friend Rachel and new girl Alison.
Peter’s little brother Fudge is now five years old and in love with Peter’s nemesis, Sheila Tubman. So when Peter finds out his family is renting the house next door to the Tubmans for three whole weeks over the summer, he’s not sure he’ll survive.
Here’s to You, Rachel Robinson
Seventh-grader Rachel is a straight-A student, a talented musician, and an awesome friend. But she has a hard time holding her perfect life together when her big brother gets kicked out of boarding school and comes home.
In the final book in Blume’s Fudge series, Peter Hatcher runs into double trouble dealing with his pesky little brother Fudge and his mini-me cousin.
Soupy Saturdays with the Pain & the Great One
Seven short tales from the brother/sister team of The Pain and The Great One reveal the everyday love/hate relationship between siblings with humor and warmth.
Going, Going, Gone! with the Pain & the Great One
More adventures with the Pain and the Great One as they travel to the beach, the mall, and even the emergency room.
Cool Zone with the Pain & the Great One
Even though the road is not always smooth for this brother/sister team at home, they know deep down that they’ll always have each other’s back, especially at school.
Friend or Fiend? with the Pain & the Great One
Sometimes the relationship between siblings can be complicated. Sassy siblings Abigail and Jake are devoted to one another even as they ride the roller coaster between fun and joy and conflict and disagreement.
Do you have favorite Judy Blume books? Share in the comments below.
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And check out 15 Great Short Stories to Teach in Middle School.