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Top-Secret, Personal Beeswax: A Journal by Junie B. (and Me!) Hardcover – February 25, 2003


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Top-Secret, Personal Beeswax: A Journal by Junie B. (and Me!) + Junie B.'s These Puzzles Hurt My Brain! Book (Junie B. Jones) (A Stepping Stone Book(TM)) + Junie B.'s Essential Survival Guide to School (Junie B. Jones) (A Stepping Stone Book(TM))
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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Wowie, wow, wow! It?s Junie B. Jones?s top-secret, personal beeswax! This hilarious companion to the best-selling series features Junie?s own original writings along with drawings, stickers, and lots of blank pages with creative prompts designed to get kids drawing and writing about their own top-secret, personal beeswax. Kids will love getting to know Junie up close in this fun, interactive writing format.

About the Author

BARBARA PARK is best known as the author of the wildly popular New York Times bestselling Junie B. Jones series, which has kept kids (and their grown-ups) laughing—and reading—for over two decades. Beloved by millions, the Junie B. Jones books have been translated into multiple languages and are a time-honored staple in elementary school classrooms around the world. Barbara once said, “I’ve never been sure whether Junie B.’s fans love her in spite of her imperfections…or because of them. But either way, she’s gone out into the world and made more friends than I ever dreamed possible.”

Barbara Park is also the author of award-winning middle grade novels and bestselling picture books, including Skinnybones, Mick Harte Was Here, and Ma! There’s Nothing to Do Here!

Barbara Park was born in New Jersey in 1947 and spent most of her adult life in Arizona, where she and her husband, Richard, raised two sons. Barbara died in 2013, but her legacy lives on in the laughter her books give to readers all over the world.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 4
  • Series: A Stepping Stone Book(TM)
  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (February 25, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375823751
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375823756
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,665 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I grew up in Mt. Holly, New Jersey. It was a small town surrounded by farmland . . . the kind of town where you greet people by name on Main Street. It was only an hour's drive to the ocean. So every summer we spent family vacations on Long Beach Island. My brother and I would ride the waves during the day and play miniature golf at night. It's the kind of idyllic memory that stays in your head long after you've grown up and moved away.
After graduating from high school and spending two years at Rider University, I transferred to the University of Alabama where I met my husband, Richard. Eventually his job brought him to Arizona. We both fell in love with the desert and wanted to stay here forever. Still, during the heat of the Arizona summers, those ocean memories would come rushing back. So-after years of sweaty summers-my husband and I finally built a house on Long Beach Island, the same island where my brother and I rode the waves as kids. In the story business, that's called "coming full circle." These days, Richard and I divide our time between the desert and the ocean. In the words of Junie B. Jones, I'm a lucky duck.

Q. What inspired you to start writing?

In my case, it was sort of "reverse" inspiration. I got a degree in secondary education. My plan was to teach high school history and political science. But, because of a scheduling problem my senior year, I ended up doing my student teaching in the seventh grade. The word disaster doesn't really cover this one. I'll spare you the details. But as I ran screaming from the school building every day, I knew that I would never be a teacher. My husband and I married after graduation, and started a family. A few years later, when I was ready to go to work, I was still haunted by the memories of student teaching. So I was "inspired" to try my hand at writing instead.

Q. How did you go about getting published?

The first children's novel I wrote was Operation: Dump the Chump. As soon as it was finished, I bought a copy of Writer's Market, found some addresses, and started sending it off to publishers who were accepting unsolicited manuscripts. It was rejected three times. All three rejections managed to work in the classic industry one-liner, "It isn't right for our list."

The fourth time I sent it to Alfred Knopf, Inc. A few weeks later, they called and said it was exactly right for their list. I felt like I'd hit the lottery.

Q: You've written middle-grade novels, early chapter books, and picture books. Which do you like writing best?

I can't really say which I like best. But after all the Junie B. books I've written, those certainly come the easiest. The middle-grade novels are more of a challenge. But in some ways, that makes them more rewarding. The last two I've written (Mick Harte Was Here and The Graduation of Jake Moon) were both about very sensitive topics, so it took a long time to get them exactly right. But I think those two books have made me the most proud.

Q. Tell us about your most recent picture book.

It's called, MA! There's Nothing to Do Here! It's about a baby in utero who is bored out of his mind. The idea for it was born (so to speak) when my daughter-in-law, Renee, invited me to my first grandson's ultrasound. Although I had never had an ultrasound myself, I'd seen pictures of other babies in utero. But I wasn't prepared for how amazing it would be to see my own little grandbaby on that screen. I felt like I was watching the Discovery Channel.

Q. How much did you continue to think about the baby after seeing the ultrasound? How did this develop into the idea for the book?

A. On the way out of the doctor's office, I remember thinking, Okay, so now we're all going back to our busy lives. But the baby is still in there just floating around. Except for an occasional kick or hiccup, he's got absolutely nothing to do.

A few months later-when I was getting ready to give Renee a baby shower-I wrote this poem, framed it, and gave it to her as a shower gift.

Q. Of the characters you've created, who is your favorite?

A. This would be a bit like picking a favorite child. I don't have a single favorite character, but again, I lived with the characters Mick and Phoebe Harte and Jake and Skelly Moon for a very long time. So those four are the most dear to me.

The characters I've had the most fun with have been the little ones. Little kids are so free to say whatever is on their minds. They aren't silenced by peer pressure and the notion that they have to sound cool. Molly Vera Thompson in The Kid in the Red Jacket is six, and Thomas Russo in My Mother Got Married and Other Disasters is five. They both were such fun to write about that they led to the creation of Junie B. Jones.

Q. Is Junie B. modeled after you as a child? Did you ever do any of the things that Junie B. does?

A. I was sent to "Principal" in first grade for talking. There were lots of notes sent home that year, as well. My father was on the Board of Education. Not good.

Q. There's been some criticism of the Junie-speak in the series. How do you answer concerns that Junie's grammar is not good for young readers?

A. Honestly, most of the grown-ups I hear from are writing to tell me that Junie B. Jones got their reluctant readers to read. I have drawers full of letters from parents and teachers that are so meaningful to me, I can't bear to part with them. These are adults who understand that fictional literature plays a whole different role in children's lives than a book of grammar or a basic reader.

That having been said, there are always going to be a handful of people who denigrate books that speak in a voice other than their own. I've stopped trying to explain the concept of literature to people like that. Wasted time better spent.

8. What makes you laugh?

My sense of humor is a little bit off-center, I think. In the movies, I usually laugh at parts that no one else seems to think are funny. Then there are movies like Young Frankenstein where I laugh from the opening scene straight through to the end.

Lots of other things make me laugh, as well. My husband and sons make me laugh. My dog. My grandsons. Friends. The absurdities of life. My lopsided cakes. The list goes on . . .

What advice do you have for teachers that are aspiring writers? For kids?

There's nothing revolutionary in my advice, I'm afraid. It's the same old stuff. Write as much and as often as you can. Try different genres to find your niche. Then rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. And-above all-be your own worst critic.

Customer Reviews

My 8 year old daughter loves this book.
Jennifer Dintaman
She has read most of the books and was thrilled to be able to write in this one, along with Junie B .
erd
I think it would be a great tool to get kids writing.
Brenda M. Perry

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By "anadon" on May 31, 2003
Format: Hardcover
My daughter received this book from her brother for her 7th birthday and was thrilled. The format introduces a young child to the concept of a personal journal, using Junie's entries to illustrate how you can form and write down your thoughts. It develops both reading and writing skills. My daughter loved it so much, she started writing in it as soon as she opened it and wouldn't stop until she was bleary-eyed. She was thrilled to learn that Junie's birthday is just one day after hers and they are the same age. The interactive nature of the book forges a wonderful bond between Junie fans and their favorite 1st grader. The book is also very sturdy -- hardbound with a padded cover and gloss coating to stand up to lots of use.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 24, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I just got this for my 8 1/2 year old niece. She already loves Junie B. so I knew this book would be a hit. I think it probably works best for girls, but if you know a boy who loves Junie B., he'll like it. If she (or he) doesn't already know who Junie B. is, it's probably best to read a few of books before getting this diary.
My niece loves reading, but writing is still a struggle for her. With this book she's having fun writing, instead of it being a chore. She has done about half the book in just three days. She loves that it's her own personal book and that no one else can look at it (although we are sometimes allowed a peek). I've promised that when she finishes this, we can go and buy another diary, with a lock and everything.
I think this is a great introduction to creative writing. There's enough structure so that the process isn't intimidating. The book's format shows that there's a lot of freedom in writing your own diary. You can draw, make lists, and there's even a few times where Junie B. changes the writing suggestion to something she wants to write about.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 5, 2004
Format: Hardcover
3/6/04 A young kin(who happens to be a girl) was given this book . The book brings out the creativity in children (more so since it is patterned like a diary and they do not have to worry about correct spelling .The sample by the character before the reader does similar is also done well(e.g.:the last chapter "Time To Say Goodbye"" Asks the reader to 1. rate journal experience 2. tell how it feels to be a real live author 3.sign the book and give a sign off message). It has no lock & key on and to the book so it did not put her in the position of hiding it somewhere as "confidential" where she wouldn't pick it up again to proceed nor did it put her under pressure to have to finish it (she's had it since last year's holidays and picks it up to work on when she feels like it....the author puts her character(Junie B. Jones) in 1st grade ,however the language and style of the book definitely would appeal more to adolescents of 3rd grade to about 5th or 6th grade .
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By T. L. Moldoch on September 23, 2005
Format: Hardcover
My daughter absolutely loves this book - not only because of it's "secret" nature, but because Junie B. fills out her side of the page and then she can fill out her side "just like Junie B. did". It's a great addition to the books.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By thx1140 on May 4, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I would LOVE to give this the full five stars. My daughter has been very balky about handwriting, and this journal has been exactly what she needed to help her speed and concentration. It's great to have such a wonderful motivator! HOWEVER - this really ought to be a spiral-bound book, so that the pages can lie flat. That would make it far easier to write in. I'm going to have to have this precious thing re-bound somewhere because it's falling apart.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By ~~~~~~Jenna~~~~~~~~~ on November 22, 2003
Format: Hardcover
AWESOME!!!!!
I think this book is soo awesome because it lets you put what you think and you can make stories. It is sooo creative cause you can draw and it is fun to see what Junie B. said. I think all girls and i guess boys too should get this book and it is a great way for parents to relax while your kids read and write and draw.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kathryn on March 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My daughter, age 7-1/2, loves Junie B., and so do I. The Personal Beeswax Journal is awesome!!! It is set up as a journal for two people to use. Junies B. has filled in the first person's journal, and there are the same pages left blank for the owner of the book to fill in. Junie B.'s entries are hilarious as well as touching. My daughter has already composed a Haiku poem to write on her Haiku page of the journal. If you have a child who loves Junie B., she is sure to love this book! And if your child is a reluctant writer, this just might motivate her to do a little writing.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By T. Niles on July 8, 2006
Format: Hardcover
For fans of JBJ this book is a wonderful companion. Your kids can follow along with JBJ as she writes her journal and they can fill in their own versions on the next pages. My 7 year old devours the JBJ books in about 30 minutes, but she has spent hours and hours on this. It was especially great for the summer because it gave her a chance to practice her writing skills.
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