Remembering Children’s Author Barbara Park (1947-2013)

Children’s author Barbara Park died at the age of 66 on Friday November 15th after a long battle with ovarian cancer. She was diagnosed with cancer seven years ago. Since then she and her husband, Richard, founded Sisters in Survival (“SIS”), a non-profit, all-volunteer organization that offers financial assistance to ovarian cancer patients. Random House said contributions can be made to www.sistersinsurvival.org.

Barbara Park was the author of the well-known and much-loved Junie B. Jones series. Starting in 1992, Park wrote more than 30 illustrated chapter books about the smart-mouthed girl with an ungrammatical opinion of everybody. The first book in the series is Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus.  The Junie B. Jones character is well loved by many children and families, but not everyone approved of this trouble-prone character. Some parents and educators have been troubled by Jones’ language and cheeky ways, worrying that she was a bad example and might negatively influence her readers. The series has found itself on the American Library Association’s list of “challenged” books. Despite the trouble, according to Random House, Park’s books have sold more than 55 million copies in North America alone. The series has also been adapted into a popular musical theater production.

Parks was also the author of other award-winning novels and some bestselling picture books. These titles include: Dear God, help! Love, Earl, The Graduation of Jake Moon,  Mick Harte Was HereThe Kid in the Red Jacket, SkinnybonesMA! There’s Nothing to Do Here!, and Psst! It’s me—the Bogeyman.

To find out more about this author’s life, and read some of her answers to children’s questions, check out her webpage at Random House here.

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