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Remembering Barbara Park This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

Since I was six years old, I've enjoyed and appreciated each book that Barbara Park has written. Hearing about her death last year shocked me deeply. She died on November 15, 2013, after a long fight against ovarian cancer. Barbara was as strong and brave as the main character of her beloved series. Junie B. Jones taught me how to stand up for what I believed during my childhood.
I remember picking up books by Barbara Park and thinking how funny they were. After finishing each one, I felt very accomplished. Barbara's books feature humorous kids with distinct personalities. In the Junie B. Jones series, the main character is a sassy girl who tries to act like an adult. Her personality brings joy to readers as they go on fun adventures and learn the meanings of new words and phrases. In each of Barbara's books – including the Junie B. Jones series and her most popular book, Skinnybones – readers learn that you can't always get what you want, sometimes you have to go with the flow, and that you should always stand up for yourself. Many of the characters are confident. By example, they show kids that they can also be confident and stick up for themselves.
Children enjoy Barbara Park's books because the characters are realistic, humorous, and relatable. Junie B. is sarcastic and loves to use phrases, sometimes saying them incorrectly. In Junie B., First Grader (at last!), Junie says, “But today I am dropping her like a hot tomato!” These silly mistakes make children laugh as they learn. The characters also have relatable experiences, like being bullied, having a new sibling, or getting glasses.
As a teenager, I responded differently to the books than when I read them as a child. Now I understand the deeper meanings. Junie B. used to be my role model because I wanted to be stylish, sassy, and confident too. I used to think that she was perfect. Now I realize that Junie isn't perfect. Like me, she gets abandoned by her friends, feels lonely at times, makes embarrassing mistakes, and suffers the consequences. Junie shows me there's always a bright side to any sad event.
Reading Barbara Park's books helped me grow and become the person I am today.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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Musicgig said...
Apr. 24 at 3:10 pm:
I used to love reading her Junie B. Jones books. I was a big fan of  her books as a little kid. it is a shame that she died. 
 
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