015:365 - 05/15/2012 - Junie B. Jones
'Junie B. Jones' Author, Barbara Park, Dies

Barbara Park, the author of the beloved Junie B. Jones series, has died after a long battle with ovarian cancer. Park was 66.

"She died on Friday. She was at home in Scottsdale, Arizona," Nicole Banholzer, an associate publicist for Random House children's books, told Random House.

Park began writing about smart-mouthed Junie B. in the early 90s and wrote more than 30 illustrated books. In North America alone, she sold more than 55 million copies, according to Random House.

"I don't have a problem being six years old in my head," Park once explained during an interview with Barnesandnoble.com. "It's almost embarrassing; if I'm talking to librarians or teachers who know my books and they say, 'How do you do this?' It's not a stretch.

"I find that when I'm struggling to think of how a six-year-old would feel about something, I just have to go right down to the common denominator, find the simplest way that you can look at an object or a problem, and not muck it up with all of the stuff that adults do and over-analyze," she said.

With titles like Junie B. and the Stupid Smelly Bus, Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying, it's obvious Park's books are smart, funny and endearing. How did she come up with so many ideas? "I brainstorm a lot and try to think of a common theme. Most everything that happens to Junie happens to all kids, both boys and girls. They go through all of the same things: not getting invites to a birthday party or getting in trouble in school or having a crush on somebody," said Park.

Park fought her cancer for more than seven years. She and her husband, Richard, founded Sisters in Survival, a non-profit group for women with ovarian cancer.

Park left behind her husband, two sons and grandchildren.

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