Gabrielle Union on Judy Blume and the library as a sanctuary

We are so thrilled that Gabrielle Union will join us for this year’s Opus & Olives. In preparation for the big event, we asked Gabrielle a couple questions to help fans get to know her better in this #opusexclusive.

Tell us something that people might not know about you.

All my first lessons about sexuality came from saint Judy Blume.  My friends and I passed around those marked-up, annotated copies of Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret? and Forever until they were dog-eared and worn. I was hopefully uninformed and naïve, so much so that I needed an anatomy lesson the first time I tried to use a tampon.  I’m sure I’m like many women of my generation—the generation before you could find anything and everything on the internet—who looked to Judy as our guide through the very strange and scary world of becoming a woman. Now, as a grown-up lady who has fully embraced her sexuality, I think back to this and feel a little silly, but maybe a bit lucky to have been so uninformed.

Tell us what you love about libraries.

In high school I spent a free period working in the school library. It became my sanctuary, and in the process I developed a close relationship with our librarian. Each day I spent there was a space to explore new ideas, new ways of thinking and new possibilities for me. I was a good student, I read three newspapers every day—I was what you might call a classic overachiever but that was part of my identity. My father told my sisters and me when were young that as Black women, to compete and not gain negative attention we had to be stellar. Not just good, but stellar. The librarian helped me feel like I could be as interested in current events or books as I wanted to be, not to prove anything, but because being well-informed and well-read is part of being a citizen in the world. I think libraries can and often do help kids see the world beyond what they experience every day, and librarians who take the time to encourage a kid who is hungry to know things can change a life.

Meet Gabrielle and the rest of our bestselling lineup in person on October 8 at the RiverCentre in downtown Saint Paul!

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