I have not read a single Junie B. Jones book. I know!
But, I am well aware of the dispute about Junie B.; the grammar, the misbehaviour, what kind of role model is she? All I have to say about that is, if every character in kids books were good all the time, it'd be pretty boring.
Anyway, The New York Times examines Junie B. in Is Junie B. Jones Talking Trash? I think the NYT does a pretty good job; because they talked to people on all sides of the issue (pro, con, and librarian), including Elizabeth Bird (sadly, the NYT does not identify her as Fuse) and the brilliant Jill Ratzan, a PhD student at Rutgers SCILS.
The thing about Junie B Jones is that she is funny and kids want to read about her. No one said she had to be a role model for today's youth. But, she gets kids excited about reading (sort of like a certain wizard whom shall remain nameless)
The issue reminds me of something that happened while growing up. We had a very hard time teaching my younger brother to say "I." He always wanted to say "me." ("Me want this." etc.) My mother postulated it was because he always heard Cookie Monster talking this way and figured it was acceptable.
I suppose if Sesame Street can corrupt the speech patterns of our youth, why not Junie B.?
You had a good point that if the characters were perfect they would be boring, being a kid myself, I agree with Mom that she is funny and makes others want to read about her.
Oh Junie B. How I love your unique perspective of those long, tedious school days, your quirky sense of fun, and your tell it like it is mentality. You will be one fun teenager. But oh how I hate when my students use you as a model in their writing. Sometimes, I just wish you were Judy Moody. But then why do I keep looking for you in my students?
My two favorite quotes from the article:
I’ve never heard a kid speak in a Yorkshire accent because they read ‘The Secret Garden’ or say ‘Have you any wool?’ (I desperately wanted a Yorkshire accent after the first time I read The Secret Garden, and settled for writing painful to read poetry).
From a nine year old: “I’m also not allowed to watch R-rated movies, but nobody is these days.”
It's kind of the perennial thing, isn't it. Let's blame the books. The kids I work with move smoothly from Junie B, to Grace, to Judy Moody, to Babymouse, to Dish. I always tell the parents that they are in charge of their child's reading. It should end there, yes?
I have read many Junie B books--first as read-alouds with my daughter and then she'd read them and pass them to me because she knew I liked them too. I consider her a modern-day Pippi Longstocking. Bad grammar, misbehavior, etc--and FUNNY!!!!
I can't stand the grammar. I can't stand the mistakes, though I know they are done on purpose. I just can't do it.
Yeah. This was one of those cases where I forgot to let the library's PR Department know that I was speaking to the press. Whoopsie! So far no one's said anything, but I suppose it's just a matter of time. I'm glad they took such an innocuous quote from me in any case.
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