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.

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