NEW YORK: Barbara Park, a former class clown who channeled her irreverence into the million-selling mishaps of grade schooler Junie B. Jones, has died. She was 66.
Park died Friday after a long battle with ovarian cancer, according to a release Sunday by Random House Books for Young Readers. She was a longtime resident of Scottsdale, Ariz., where she lived with her husband, Richard, and raised two sons.
Starting in 1992, Park wrote more than 30 illustrated chapter books about the smart-mouthed girl with an ungrammatical opinion of everybody — her parents, her teachers, her friends and her classmate and enemy for life, May.
The books’ titles alone were windows into Junie’s slangy mind, from Junie B. Jones and Her Big Fat Mouth to Junie B. Jones and That Meanie Jim’s Birthday. Junie was stuck in kindergarten for years before Park advanced her to the next class, starting with Book 18 and Junie B., First Grader (at last!).
Park’s books sold more than 55 million copies just in North America, according to Random House.