In the world of children’s authors,
there are many, but there is only one Barbara Park. Barbara Park is an amazing
author and inspiring person. She has written numerous children’s books while
raising children and money for several organizations. Her books introduce the
love of reading to young children. Barbara Park was a writer, mother, inspiration,
and founder of a non-profit organization.

On April 21, 1947, Barbara Park was
born in a small town called, Mount Holly, New Jersey. She grew up in Mount
Holly with her mother, Brooke, her father Doris, and her older brother, Brooke
Jr. As a small child, she would read comic books, like Archie Comics and annoy her older brother (Barbara Park by Molly
Kolpin). She and her family spent many days on the beach in New Jersey. Barbara
went to a high school called, Rancocas Valley Regional High School located in
her hometown. Later, she went go to college at Rider College for two years,
then transfer to the University of Alabama where she majored in secondary
education.

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Park wanted to teach high school
history and political science classes, but shortly after graduating college,
she married Richard Park and realized that teaching was not for her (Barbara
Park by Molly Kolpin). She and her husband had two sons named Steven and David,
and later two grandsons and a dog named Maggie. Since her husband was in the
Air Force, she spent most of her time at home watching her children. One day,
one of her sons brought home a funny book by Judy Blume and that is when
Barbara realized that she could write humorous books for children
(www.librarypoint.org/barbara_park). Sadly, Barbara died on November 15, 2013, in
Scottsdale, Arizona, after a long and heroic, seven-and-a-half-year battle with
ovarian cancer. She was sixty-four years old.

Park grew up during the times of
Elvis Presley and when gas was only eighteen cents a gallon
(www.thepeopleshistory.com). In Mount Holly, New Jersey, it was an, “everyone
knew everyone type of town (www.mountholly.gov)” When Park was growing up, the
town’s population was only about eight thousand people. The town has grown to
about ten thousand over the past sixty years. Park never ever thought she would
be an author. She read picture books and got in trouble (www.juniebjones.com).
When she was going to school, girls and women would wear dainty dresses and
little hats, while men and boys dressed in dapper clothing
(www.thepeopleshistory.com)

Gender differences were more
pronounced in the baby boomer era than they are today. Women who did not
conform to the typical housewife role were criticized and men were the only
ones allowed to bring in money (www.thepeopleshistory.com). During this period
of time, and even now, women are seemed to only be useful for common skills
that everyone needs to know in order to survive: sewing, cleaning, cooking, and
looking after children (www.thepeopleshistory.com). Not only were women seen as
objects and not people, the 1950’s was the time for baby boomers and war
(www.thepeopleshistory.com). “Popular culture in the 50’s can be captured in
just a few words which speak volumes, ‘The Cold War,’ ‘Baby Boomers,’ ‘Korea,’
and ‘The Red Scare (www.thepeopleshistory.com).'”

Barbara Park is best known for her
series, Junie B. Jones. Junie
B. is a sassy kindergartner/first grader throughout the series who happens to
hate her little brother and gets sent to the principal’s office quite often. The
whole series has been a success all over the world, but with 60 million copies
sold in North America alone, it is pretty popular (www.juniebjones.com). “The
series was consistently a #1 New York Times bestseller, spending over 180 weeks
on the list (www.juniebjones.com).” The first Junie B. Jones book was published
in 1992 and has had over 30 more books added to the series.  Junie B.
Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, Junie B. Jones is not a Crook, Junie B. Jones
loves Handsome Warren, Junie B. First Grader, and Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl are some of the most loved
books in the series.

With all her success, it is hard to
believe that it took months for her to get her first book published. Her first
published book was Operation: Dump the
Chump. The book is about a boy who keeps trying to get rid of his pesky
brother (www.juniebjones.com). “In high school Park was voted, “wittiest,” in
her grade (www.juniebjones.com). She admits it wasn’t as good as being voted,
“most likely to succeed, but it planted a seed that she might be able to write
humor.” The Graduation of Jake Moon
and Mick Harte was Here are
reportedly Park’s favorite books she’s written because of the powerful messages
in them including divorce, new siblings, stepparents, etc., but she agrees that
she most identifies with Junie B (www.juniebjones.com). Park says that her
influences are the people in her life that keep her happy (www.juniebjones.com).
On top of all her success, Park has won over forty children’s book awards for
humorous stories that keep children loving to read. Park also says that she
never has any inspiration for her books because she sees her writing as her job
and she loves her job (www.juniebjones.com). Her books are what start the love
for reading in young children across the world and will for decades to come.

Park has always taken pride in
charity (www.juniebjones.com). Throughout her life, Park supported many causes
with passion and integrity. “She was a “wish” for several children participating
in the Make-A-Wish Foundation and would dedicate her upcoming books to kids
whose dying wish was to meet her (www.juniebjones.com).” Park and her husband,
Richard Park, founded the non-profit organization named, “Sisters in Survival,
which is an organization made to help pay for the medical costs of women
struggling with ovarian cancer (www.juniebjones.com). SIS is dedicated to
offering financial assistance to women all over the globe that struggles with
the same problem that took Park’s life. All donations go directly to women
battling ovarian cancer, and all other types of gynecologic cancers. Even after
Park’s death, her family is dedicated to keeping Sisters in Survival running
and helping all the women in the world who have to deal with cancer threatening
their lives.

In conclusion, Barbara Park was not
just a funny children’s author, but a wonderful and generous woman. From Junie
B. to granting children’s Make-A-Wish to meet her, to Sisters in Survival,
Barbara has left a major impact on today’s world in her sixty-four years of
living. She took children’s interests and turned them into books and introduced
them to the world of imagination and reading. Barbara Park was a writer,
mother, inspiration and founder of a non-profit organization.

 

“Imagining the kind of success, I’ve had would have
been to imagine yourself winning the lottery.” –Barbara Lynne Park.