Junie B. Jones: the ultimate childhood classic

March 12, 2020 — by Kavita Sundaram

When I was a kid, my parents tried to get me to read books that they deemed “educational” or “helpful.” 

It was a lost cause. As much as my 7-year-old self tried to enjoy authors like Richard Dawkins and enthralling mathematical enterprises like “The Number Devil,” I found myself drifting back to my all-time favorite children’s book series: “Junie B. Jones,” by Barbara Park. 

There was always something electric about Junie B. It might have been her quirky fashion sense (don’t tell me you’ve never been jealous of her flashy, one-of-a-kind headbands or rolled up oversized sweaters), her tendencies toward rebellion or maybe her less than proper grammar. Regardless, I could never put (or putted, as Junie B. would’ve said) those books down. 

From reading about accusing her teacher of theft and throwing rocks at her unsuspecting 2-year-old brother to coining the infamous term, “stewie-pewie-tomatoes,”  Junie B. was always good for surprises. 

Her life was never dull, and neither was the way she told it. Even going back and reading the books now, I still can’t help but laugh when I read that her ring is “a real genuine fake plastic diamond ring,” or the book’s standard opening lines that have been engraved in my memory since the second grade: “My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don’t like Beatrice. I just like B and that’s all.”

Like any other kid, I wanted to have an exciting life with action and adventure, and what better way to do that than by reading a book about an absolute rebel? Junie B. strays from every norm, breaks every rule, says whatever she wants and somehow everything always turns out fine for her.

Throughout my childhood, I had two main companions: my mom and Junie B. Jones. Junie B. and I laughed, cried and grew up together, and I’m confident in saying that I’ve read each of the 33 books in the series at least twice. 

So, for every elementary schoolary out there, I’d advise reading the books and going through the same journey I went through eight years ago. For everyone else, I would recommend re-reading the series, even now, because I promise you nothing is more enjoyable and nostalgic.   

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On March 27, members of the Air National Guard converted the Santa Clara County Convention Center to a temporary federal facility for about 250 coronavirus patients. The center is to house those who have tested positive for the virus, but don't require intensive in-hospital care. More information can be found through the local news. Photo courtesy of Randy Vazquez of the Bay Area News Group.


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