I have never met Barbara Park. To be honest, before this past weekend I didn’t even really know too much about her. What I did know was that kids are crazy about her Junie B Jones series. Junie B was the first chapter book that my son loved, and I have seen countless kids read and reread Barbara’s timeless series.
When I learned of Ms. Park’s passing over the weekend I felt sick. It really bothered me to think that the creator of such an important series is no longer with us. I decided that I wanted to tell my students about her passing. We had just read The One and Only Ivan, so I figured that they were ready to handle it emotionally.
The kids took hearing the news pretty hard. No tears were shed, but they were visibly shaken. As we sat together in a circle on the carpet, many of my students shared some of their fondest memories about Junie B Jones. We then spent 30 seconds in silence to honor Ms. Park.
After our little memorial, I asked my students if they wanted me to read them a couple of chapters from a Junie B Jones book. They overwhelmingly said yes. While reading Junie B I got a chance to hear my students laugh uncontrollably. They were so darn cute.
They voted 27-1 to take a break from reading Because of Winn Dixie so that we could finish reading Barbara Park’s Junie B Jones and Her Big Fat Mouth.
Yesterday we finished reading Junie B Jones. When we read the last page the class cheered. It was perfect.