What beginning reader is not familiar with Barbara Park’s loveable Junie B. Jones? Born on April 21, 1947 and a prolific writer with over 40 awards to her credit, Parks was often asked, “Since you’re an adult, how can you write about kids’ feelings and make them seem so real?” Her answer was simple; ” As an adult, I still have many of the same feelings I had as a kid. I still get embarrassed. I still get scared. And there are plenty of times when I still feel insecure. As you grow up, society teaches you to ‘act like an adult.’ But that doesn’t mean that on the inside you’re ever as adult as you appear.”
She didn’t grow up wanting to be a writer, that desire evolved over time. Her first children’s novel, Operation: Dump the Chump, addressed childhood issues, and she continued in that vein. “If you don’t have much of a problem,” she wrote, “then you don’t have much of a story.”
Barbara Park died on November 15, 2013, of ovarian cancer.