In the world of children’s authors,there are many, but there is only one Barbara Park. Barbara Park is an amazingauthor and inspiring person. She has written numerous children’s books whileraising children and money for several organizations. Her books introduce thelove 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 wasborn in a small town called, Mount Holly, New Jersey. She grew up in MountHolly with her mother, Brooke, her father Doris, and her older brother, BrookeJr. As a small child, she would read comic books, like Archie Comics and annoy her older brother (Barbara Park by MollyKolpin). She and her family spent many days on the beach in New Jersey. Barbarawent to a high school called, Rancocas Valley Regional High School located inher hometown. Later, she went go to college at Rider College for two years,then transfer to the University of Alabama where she majored in secondaryeducation.
Park wanted to teach high schoolhistory and political science classes, but shortly after graduating college,she married Richard Park and realized that teaching was not for her (BarbaraPark 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 theAir 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 whenBarbara realized that she could write humorous books for children(www.librarypoint.org/barbara_park).
Sadly, Barbara died on November 15, 2013, inScottsdale, Arizona, after a long and heroic, seven-and-a-half-year battle withovarian cancer. She was sixty-four years old. Park grew up during the times ofElvis Presley and when gas was only eighteen cents a gallon(www.thepeopleshistory.com). In Mount Holly, New Jersey, it was an, “everyoneknew everyone type of town (www.
mountholly.gov)” When Park was growing up, thetown’s population was only about eight thousand people. The town has grown toabout ten thousand over the past sixty years. Park never ever thought she wouldbe 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 andlittle hats, while men and boys dressed in dapper clothing(www.thepeopleshistory.
com)Gender differences were morepronounced in the baby boomer era than they are today. Women who did notconform to the typical housewife role were criticized and men were the onlyones allowed to bring in money (www.thepeopleshistory.com).
During this periodof time, and even now, women are seemed to only be useful for common skillsthat everyone needs to know in order to survive: sewing, cleaning, cooking, andlooking after children (www.thepeopleshistory.com). Not only were women seen asobjects 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 injust 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 herseries, Junie B. Jones. JunieB. is a sassy kindergartner/first grader throughout the series who happens tohate her little brother and gets sent to the principal’s office quite often.
Thewhole series has been a success all over the world, but with 60 million copiessold in North America alone, it is pretty popular (www.juniebjones.com). “Theseries was consistently a #1 New York Times bestseller, spending over 180 weekson the list (www.juniebjones.com).
” The first Junie B. Jones book was publishedin 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. Jonesloves Handsome Warren, Junie B. First Grader, and Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl are some of the most lovedbooks in the series.
With all her success, it is hard tobelieve that it took months for her to get her first book published. Her firstpublished book was Operation: Dump theChump. The book is about a boy who keeps trying to get rid of his peskybrother (www.juniebjones.com). “In high school Park was voted, “wittiest,” inher 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 writehumor.” The Graduation of Jake Moonand Mick Harte was Here arereportedly Park’s favorite books she’s written because of the powerful messagesin them including divorce, new siblings, stepparents, etc., but she agrees thatshe most identifies with Junie B (www.juniebjones.com).
Park says that herinfluences 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 forhumorous stories that keep children loving to read. Park also says that shenever has any inspiration for her books because she sees her writing as her joband she loves her job (www.juniebjones.com). Her books are what start the lovefor reading in young children across the world and will for decades to come.
Park has always taken pride incharity (www.juniebjones.com). Throughout her life, Park supported many causeswith passion and integrity. “She was a “wish” for several children participatingin the Make-A-Wish Foundation and would dedicate her upcoming books to kidswhose 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 womenstruggling with ovarian cancer (www.juniebjones.com). SIS is dedicated tooffering financial assistance to women all over the globe that struggles withthe same problem that took Park’s life.
All donations go directly to womenbattling ovarian cancer, and all other types of gynecologic cancers. Even afterPark’s death, her family is dedicated to keeping Sisters in Survival runningand helping all the women in the world who have to deal with cancer threateningtheir lives. In conclusion, Barbara Park was notjust a funny children’s author, but a wonderful and generous woman.
From JunieB. 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 ofliving. She took children’s interests and turned them into books and introducedthem 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 havebeen to imagine yourself winning the lottery.” –Barbara Lynne Park.