Judy Blume -- one of the most prolific modern-day children's book authors (and also one of the most controversial) -- turns 75 years old on Tuesday, but she still has plenty of stories to tell. Here are five things to know about the legendary author.
* Her first book, "The One in the Middle Is the Green Kangaroo," was published in 1969. According to the author's website, when she first got the news that her book was being published, she threw her kids' Silly Sand in the air and jumped for joy, causing a neighborhood girl to think she'd gone crazy. Blume's first book was written using her old college typewriter, but she bought an electric typewriter soon after her first sale.
* One of her most beloved characters is modeled after her own son. In an interview with Scholastic, Blume said that the character Fudge (from the popular "Fudge" book series) is based on her youngest son, Larry, when he was a toddler. She also revealed that the character who is the most like herself is Sally J. Freedman, from the 1977 young adult novel "Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself." Some of her book characters' names have even come from the phone book.
* Many of Blume's controversial young adult novels -- including "Forever," "Blubber," "Deenie," and "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret" -- have landed on banned book lists. In 2004, parents at a Florida school district tried to have "Deenie" removed from elementary school libraries due to the book's references to masturbation, but instead the book remained on shelves and could continue to be checked out with a parental permission note. In an interview with International Reading Association, Blume said that reading a book like her sexually explicit 1975 novel "Forever" can satisfy a young person's curiosity, and called it "a safe way to come of age, a safe way to find out about the world."
* The always-vocal author is known for her prolific Twitter page, and has even called out an airline on the social networking site and engaged in a playful bibliography-off with comedian Patton Oswalt. On a more serious note, she used Twitter to link to her blog to announce her breast cancer diagnosis last year, in a post titled "!@#$% Happens."
* Blume's gorgeous Key West, Fla. home was featured in Architectural Digest earlier this year. The 2,500-square-foot home features glass walls, lush terraces, a "sexy" glass-enclosed indoor shower and a landscape that boasts a bevy or orchids and palms. She also keeps homes in Manhattan and a home on Martha's Vineyard and jokes that she's a "houseaholic." Check out a slide show of Blume's unique Florida home here.
Victoria Leigh Miller is a freelance writer. She has been writing about parenting topics since 2001.
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