Avid readers getting together to discuss the latest book is a regular event among book clubs across the greater Hancock Park area. But this gathering, with pigtails askew and dirt on their knees, is hardly your average LA book club. It is the Junie B. Jones Book Club at the Memorial Library where girls and boys from ages 6 – 13 orally review the Random House series with a clarity beholden of the NYT Book Section.
Jada explains that per Junie B’s Essential Guide to School the answer to surviving school is “not buying boring supplies– only fun supplies.” Jada recommends the book to the other Club members. According to Chris, who “has a bunch of books at his house,” Junie was able to ultimately surmount her clown fear in the volume Junie B., First Grader: Boo…and I Mean It. Chris and two readers heartily recommend this story. Nine-year old Susan, who has finished all 30 JBJ books, remarks on how the author has never lost her touch for humor and detail over the series’ 20 year span.Despite some jockeying about who was actually the first to read the latest Junie B. Jones chapter book, there’s one thing the kids can all agree on – the funniest thing JBJ does is “ruin stuff.”
A 21st century Dennis-the-Menace of a girl, first grader Junie B. Jones says it like it is. With 55 million volumes sold, author Barbara Park’s fictional Junie taps into the collective conscientiousness of early elementary school with astute observations ranging from: roosters “can peck your head into a nub,” to only boyfriends and girlfriends should chase each other on the playground. Memorial Children’s Librarian Frances Mendelsohn scheduled four August reading club meetings when Random House released various aides and handouts to facilitate JBJ Summer Reading Clubs, like an official reading log, membership cards, and activity book. The enthusiastic Mendelsohn is always on the watch for special activities promoting reading, with some of ‘her kids’ recently winning a city-wide contest for 100 guests at a film premiere.
At the August 12th Book Club, a little suspense was injected into the meeting when Alek – who read Junie B. Jones, Toothless Wonder – announced that his own wiggly tooth could fall out at any minute. As six-year old Agatha rattles off the plotline to Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus (trying to avoid the stinky bus, JBJ gets locked in the principal’s office after-hours, calling 411 when she can’t hold her bladder any longer), mother Linda Gamero-Hanson from Oxford Square recalls walking to the Memorial Library as a child for a summer book club. ‘Wowie Wow Wow’ summer nostalgia.
Kids can develop reading and presentation skills in a fun and supportive environment by catching the last two sessions of the free JBJ Book Club.Memorial Library 4625 W. Olympic Blvd. Mondays August 19th and 26th 4:30-5:30 pm at With crafts and snacks. (323) 938-2732