Barbara Park is an American writer. Her specialization was children’s books, and each of them was created taking into account the psychology and knowledge of children. She carefully worked on the language in which she wrote the books to be understandable and interesting for children to read. The characters in Barbara Park’s books are caught up in exciting events and tackle difficult ones. Each of them is distinctive and not like the others. Thanks to this, children can choose a favorite and follow them with interest, although each character deserves significant attention. I chose Barbara Park’s books to study because I find them useful to read at an early age. In the 21st century, people read quite a bit, so it is worth teaching them to do this from childhood. Barbara Park’s books are a great way to get kids to love literature.
The fate of Barbara Park can hardly be called exceptional or unusual. She was born in a family of a merchant and secretaries in Mount Holly, New Jersey, in 1947. When she was 18, she graduated from Rancocas Valley Regional High School. She then attended Rider College and received her Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Alabama. Thus, Park received a serious education, which allowed her to create quality literature. Another crucial factor that influenced her professional development is her children: Park had two sons. Undoubtedly, constant communication with them and upbringing skills allowed her to better understand child psychology. As a result, she was able to write quality books that developed other children.
Barbara Park is the author of the popular Junie B. Jones children’s book series. This series includes about 30 different books. There are approximately 55 million copies sold in North America. The Junie B. Jones books describe the life of six-year-old Junie B. All of these books are linked by a single storyline and tell about the growth and development of Junie. The characters of the books overlap; however, undoubtedly, the author constantly includes new people in the narrative. The first book, Junie B Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, opens the series and gives readers an introduction to the girl. The author describes the first day of kindergarten and how Junie chose not to take the bus home. On the one hand, these are quite ordinary events, but on the other hand, the perspective of a small child reveals the unusualness and importance of what is happening.
Other interesting books include Junie B Jones and That Meanie Jim’s Birthday. This story captures the important issue of bullying and shows how an adult can help a child deal with it. Junie B. Jones and the Mushy Gushy Valentine describes the sensory experiences of a child. This is interesting both from the point of view of a six-year-old and for adults who no longer remember their feelings and emotions in childhood.
At a young age, Barbara was influenced by various factors, which in part led to her choosing a writing career. First, she was influenced by her family, who surrounded her with care and allowed her to live an interesting life. In particular, she had an older brother, which allowed her to interact closely with the other child and understand him. Second, the Junie books were indirectly influenced by gender because there are some similarities between Barbara and her fictional character Junie. In addition, one of the important factors that influenced Barbara is the books that she read as a child. Thanks to this, she wanted to create and develop her character herself.
Here is a sample text from the book Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus: “It wasn’t a regular kind of door, though. It folded in half. And when it closed, it made a wish sound. I don’t like that kind of door. If it closes on you by accident, it will cut you in half, and you will make a squishy sound ”. In my opinion, this passage reflects Barbara’s writing style. She tries to portray the worldview of a child who is not yet accustomed to many of the realities of the surrounding world. No adult would have shown such attention to the door of a bus. However, the child is interested in the mechanism, sounds, and appearance of this object. Her vivid imagination immediately imagines the catastrophes that interaction with this object can cause. This is how, through various images, Junie learns about the world and begins to recognize danger.
Undoubtedly one of the most inspiring themes in Barbara Park’s books is learning about the world. She shows how her characters get to know each other and what surrounds them. Thus, they better understand how to behave and what they can do, what they can achieve. This allows the young reader to also believe in themselves and get to know the world a little better through literature. Even if they never find themselves in the same situations as Junie, they will be able to feel her emotions and experience them with her.
Literary elements include comparisons, hyperboles, and epithets. All these means act as a way of knowing or describing the world for a six-year-old child. Comparison example from Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business: “A crib is a bed with bars on the side of it. It’s kind of like a cage at the zoo.” An example of an epithet from Junie B. Jones and Her Big Fat Mouth: “He had on a blue shirt with a shiny badge. And shiny black boots. And a shiny white motorcycle helmet.” An example of hyperbole from Junie B. Jones and the Yucky Blucky Fruitcake: “THERE’S GONNA BE A CARNIVAL AT MY SCHOOL! AND I CAN WIN A HUNDRED PRIZES AT THAT THING”. All of these examples reflect the emotions and way of knowing the world as a little girl.