Junie B. Jones: An Undiscovered Joy of Childhood

The plus side of working with kids is that I get to read children’s books again.  There are some truly wonderful works that fall under the category of children’s fiction.  One such piece would be the Junie B. Jones series by Barbra Parks.  I didn’t read these books growing up but I’m enjoying them now, especially when the author throws in some detail that goes over the kids’ heads (often an adult’s reaction to one of Junie B.’s escapades).  It’s funny and can hold my kindergarteners’ attention.

I will add this as a downside, the grammar is terrible in the book (it’s written as though a kindergartner is speaking) and Junie B.’s behavior isn’t exactly exemplary.  If she was an actual child I had to work with, I would be incredibly frustrated.  On the other hand, when I have kids telling me about watching Chucky movies, singing things like “California Girls,” and telling me how their parents are having “sleepovers” with their boyfriend/girlfriend,  I find Junie B. a less harmful bad example.  Plus, it’s important to teach children that sometimes things are funny when they are in a book or movie but it’s not funny in real life.

While Barbra Parks may not become one of the all time literary greats, she still writes a wonderfully funny character that children throughly enjoy.  Next up on my classroom reading:  Tales of the Fourth Grade Nothing.   

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