Junie B. Jones Is Still Alive

I never check my phone at 6 a.m., but a text from my daughter caught my eye.

“Barbara Park died.”

A little girl, cuddled on a sofa, deaf to her siblings playing nearby and to her mother’s call for dinner, because of a fictional character, is the best compliment for a writer.

Few adults are able to put themselves in the shoes of their six-year-old self.

Even less can write about what being six means.

Barbara Park did remember being six. She even said that she was six.

Junie B. Jones, the loud-mouthed first grader, wasn’t exactly a role model, and I met some teachers who didn’t like her that much. They found her challenging, I bet.

But to the kids she was a real kid. And they loved her.

When I cleaned my family library this winter, I kept many books from the time my children were very young. I couldn’t find the Junie B. Jones books.

Barbara Park kept Junie B. in first grade for years, before she moved her up a grade.

I wonder if she hasn’t gone to college.


  1. I somehow didn’t get introduced to Junie B until very recently. I was working at the local Boys and Girls club, and trying, desperately, to get the kids to understand my love for books and stories. To help with this I did “Cookies and Classics” where I read a chapter or two from a story, and the kids got to munch on cookies (and sometimes get extra if they stayed until I was done reading!). I’d usually get a chapter, before they lost interest, or drifted away, or were clearly only still sitting there for the extra cookie but had completely checked and were no longer listening to the story.
    But someone donated some Junie B. And when I got halfway through and decided I needed to get moving on another program I was supposed to be running they begged me to finish. It was the only book that they sat all the way through, and made me read STRAIGHT through.
    And that’s what’s so amazing, I think, about writing. Barbara Park may have passed on, but the lively, amazing character whose story she told will continue to inspire and entertain for generations.

    • I’m so happy to read that some reluctant readers couldn’t have enough of Junie B.
      That’s so great that you found the book and had this experience with the children.
      Thank you so much for stopping by and adding your story about this little Junie. B.

  2. I hadn’t heard of these books Evelyne, but it’s a great legacy to have given so many children so much joy.

  3. Oh you should read one of them. Junie B is a real little girl with a mix of flaws and qualities and she bounces off the page. My daughter who let me know about the death of the author has loved these little books when she started to read on her own. Thank you, Andrea for stopping by again.

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