Saturday, October 6, 2012

Banned Books Week: Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park


This is the end of Banned Books Week and unfortunately, I haven't had a lot of time to write about banned books this year. But I did want to include at least one post about it, so today I wanted to share one of the book series that it seems most people are surprised to find on the list: Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park.

According to Wikipedia:
The Junie B. Jones series came in at #71 on the American Library Association's list of the Top 100 Banned or Challenged Books from 2000-2009. Reasons cited are poor social values taught by the books and Junie B. Jones not being considered a good role model due to her mouthiness and bad spelling/grammar.
This is an interesting example of a banned book. Many times there are serious, controversial topics featured in books that are challenged. Things like homosexuality, drugs, vulgar language, etc. You can actually understand why people may not want their children to read those books, and why they may challenge their inclusion in school libraries or on required reading lists. But Junie B. Jones has been challenged because the books teach poor social values and because Junie B. Jones is a mouthy brat!

The first book in the series is called Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly School Bus. That title is a good example of the language in the books. Junie is a kindergartner and she says "stupid" and "dumb" a lot. I've actually used it as a learning experience for my own kindergartner who is not allowed to use those words. We talk about the fact that we may read things in books, but just because the words are in books, doesn't mean it's appropriate for us to say them ourselves. She gets it, and so far has not started calling everything and everyone stupid and dumb!

The books are really cute and funny. We've only read a few but I plan to read most of the series to my daughter, at least until she can read them herself. Junie B. is always getting into big trouble, and rarely makes the right choices, but in the end everything works out and there's usually a lesson to learn. In the first book, some kids tell her terrible things about the school bus so at the end of the day, she hides in the school rather than getting on the bus. Obviously, this prompted a discussion about the fact that we should never do things like this!

The Junie B. Jones books are very funny, and as long as children are taught the difference between fiction and the real world, there's no danger in letting them read books like this. But if parents feel their own children shouldn't read them, they should make house rules about this. They shouldn't ban them from libraries so no children can read them.

Giveaway
I have a general Banned Books giveaway going on right now. But I'm also going to do a special giveaway: I'm giving away a copy of the first Junie B. Jones book: Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly School Bus, to get you started on the series! To enter, just leave a comment telling me who you would read this book with. Be sure to leave your email address so I can contact you if you win! Enter by Monday, October 8 at 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Winner will be chosen by random.com.

Check out more Banned Books Week reviews and giveaways at Book Journey. And check out more children's book reviews at Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns.

10 comments:

  1. I had no idea that these books were challenged at all. Goodness! I used to love reading these with my daughter because they were hilarious!

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  2. Thanks you Julie for talking banned books and for talking about this one today. I have never read any of the Junie B books (probably because I would want to use the words stupid and dumb LOL)but I would love to give them a try!

    Probably my first time through I would read it alone - however I am speaking on banned books on October 15th for a group of teachers and I think it would also be a good one to take to read a bit to them :)

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  3. I would read this book with my grandaughter. Thanks for this giveaway. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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  4. My daughter would love this series :)

    Thanks for a great giveaway! :)
    songbird1613 at yahoo dot com

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  5. I am shocked to see that these are on the banned book list! My husband has never been a huge fan of Junie B. Jones, his only experience with the book was listening to an audio version on a family trip, so he was not really surprised when I read him your post. His biggest complaint has always been the lack of proper English that Junie B. uses when talking and what a poor example it is setting for our own children.

    My children, on the other hand, love these books. They think that they are silly and like you I have used them as teachable moments for the proper way to act and behave. My son and daughter would love to read this book. It's one of the few they haven't read or listened to.

    Thank you for hosting this giveaway! aydemeATaolDOTcom

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  6. I would love to read this series with my daughter. Start on the banned books early I think. Great learning tools.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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  7. I'd love to read this book & indeed the series with my daughter. It's amazing to see which books are banned.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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  8. I enjoyed reading your post because I couldn't for the life of me figure out why Junie B. Jones would be banned!!

    I agree - it comes down to understanding the difference between fiction and real life for most of these banned books - and I think even little kids understand that!

    My kids (2 boys!) never read Junie B. Jones but my little girl cousins and niece LOVED the series and read them all.

    Hope you are enjoying the weekend!

    Sue

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  9. It's sad that any books are challenged or banned. I truly believe that it's the parents that should be the ones deciding what is appropriate for their children to read or not read, at least that's how it is in my house. My kids are a little older and loved Harry Potter, Narnia, etc. (both of which have been challened) and they just read another great book that I’d like to recommend if you all are interested, I think it’s a similar concept. It’s called “Dr. Fuddle and the Gold Baton” by Warren L. Woodruff, you can check it out and get it right from the website http://www.drfuddle.com/. Thanks for the great post.

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  10. i loved theses books as a kid why did they banne it

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Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear your thoughts!