Is Junie B. Jones appropriate for Kindergarten?

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Cover of "Junie B. Jones and Her Big Fat ...

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My daughter entered Kindergarten and I thought it would be a place she’d be learning to read, write, add, subtract, and whatever they do in Kindergarten. First, she already knew how to write. She was decent with reading, obviously not where she should be, but hey, I’m not a teacher!

Now, for the most part, she’s been doing well in all areas. I feel the teacher has connected with Little Miss, and has a way with her that few people have with my daughter. HOWEVER, I’m not so sure I’m loving the choices being made in the classroom. WHY you ask? Let me tell you……

Over the last few weeks, my daughter has been a bit difficult at home. I’ve taught her right from wrong, how to behave appropriately, what words are “okay” and what words are certainly NOT OKAY. However, for the last month, she’s been coming home and doing all the things I’ve already taught her for five years are not appropriate. I couldn’t understand what was going on with my Little Miss. Calling her brother stupid was unacceptable, and then turning around and doing things I have told her she is not to do, and then hiding it from me…….not something that goes over well in this house.

Well, I found my answers my friends! Apparently, my daughter’s teacher has been reading the Junie B. Jones books in class. Yes, my kindergartener is being read stories with titles like Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus and Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth. Yup. Right there, in her own class, she’s being read books that GLORIFY being bad, not listening to your parents, and saying words no five-year-old should be saying.

Whatever happened to The Babysitter’s Club series? Sure, it’s a little old for the kids, but at least the books weren’t teaching me how to “be a brat”, or in the case of Junie B. Jones, sassy. I have to say, I’m not impressed with this current book selection. Not for a Kindergarten class.



  1. Alexandra says

    As someone with an education degree, I can agree that the Junie B. books do showcase some behavior that is not appropriate for children to emulate. The great things about these books is that you are reading them to a class, and it gives you a leading point to talk about how that kind of behavior is unacceptable. I highly doubt this teacher is reading her impressionable young students this book and then going, “Well! Isn’t that hilarious, Junie B. sure does some awesome stuff!” … Keep in mind that teachers also have to deal with the behavior of your child (and 20 others) for their entire working day. The idea that they would be encouraging things that cause behavior problems is, in itself, a little ridiculous.

    As a source for your daughters new behavior, consider please that she is being exposed to new behaviors of other children around her, and those things are probably having much more of an affect on her behavior than a teacher-led read aloud and discussion about a book with a sassy protagonist. Reading books that showcase unwanted behavior and discussing how students could alternatively act is actually one of the best behavior management techniques that teachers employ within the classroom.

  2. momof3 says

    I read one of the books, for the first time, to my kids today and I am not a fan. My kids thought some of the parts were funny but even complained it had too many words they couldn’t say. I started leaving them out since I got tired of saying them as well! The incorrect grammar drove me crazy, having to stop to tell the kids the correct way to say things. It felt so “dumbed down” to me! (I get it’s from a KDG point of view) And having to keep telling the kids, “please don’t say/do this to each other” just took the fun out of reading it for me. (That’s why I’m on this site, to see if I was alone in my assessment!) There are too many good kids books out there to have to go through this just to get them engaged in reading, in my opinion. I’m not reading another one.

  3. C. Blandino says

    Unfortunately, kids are going to hear the words “stupid” and “dumb” from all kinds of things, even when you think you are doing a great job censoring! My son and I read Junie B. Jones and her big fat mouth last night together and honestly MY first complaint was the grammar lol. I just hope children who are reading these can understand the RIGHT way talk/type vs Junie’s way. The word use of stupid and dumb wasn’t too much of a shocker because frankly if you “listen in” to any children playing or having a conversation…… will hear a lot of that. Sometimes worse, especially when they get to be older. Junie may test boundaries in her books, but what child doesn’t? You also get to read the experience of her understanding what she is doing is wrong, and her getting in trouble. I think if you are worried how your “lil miss” is taking in this new information from these books, you should take control!!! Buy a couple yourself, re-read them with her and talk about them. Laugh with her about them, and then let your daughter tell you what Junie is doing wrong, and what she SHOULD be doing. Being a parent you can’t always eliminate stuff from your child’s life, but you can ease them into it, or help take on that battle! Goodl luck!

  4. Lisa says

    I homeschool my 5 year old daughter who has just started 2nd Grade Reading/Writing. We have read all the JBJ books over the last year and I’ve not seen ANY behavior problems associated with the Junie character. The whole family loves to hear the stories (I read them out loud in the car as we travel); even my husband and 9yo son will laugh out loud at her antics! When Junie does something naughty, my kids are quick to point it out. I’ve found the books to have good morals if you read them from beginning to end. My kids love JBJ so much, they named our new puppy Junie! I’m only sad that there aren’t more out there to read!

  5. Dawn says

    I was not a fan of the books when I first read them, and I can’t speak to another child, but for my daughter I think it was the age. She went through the same thing at the end of kindergarten, beginning of 1st and at that point she had not discovered the books. It did pass (thank goodness!!) but it was rough to live through.
    At the end of 1st grade the 1st JBJ book was read in class…since then (about 3 weeks) my daughter has read the first TWELVE JBJ books on her own and can’t get enough of them. That has changed my mind…anything that gets her that interested in reading works for me :D

  6. shannon says

    I currently teach kindergarten and read the June B books to my class. The children love them and they have made them.excited about reading. I do agree that the words stupid and dumb could have been eliminated from the text. I substitute the word silly for each of them while reading. The nice thing about the books is that the children can relate with Junie. They are going through the same situations. Before we began the series we discussed her behavior and talked about the consequences if we were to act like her. I have not seen any negative behaviors arise since I started reading them. If anything the kids are better because they know that we will read the book as a reward for getting our work done. Reading chapter books at this age builds so many skills that are essential for their literacy development. I love reading them and will continue with a lot of explaining and a few verbage substitutions.

  7. says

    The great thing about being a parent to your child is that YOU are the one who gets to make the decision about what they should be reading. If you don’t agree with the content of what is being read to your child outside of your care, you should express this concern with the teacher (or principal if necessary). Don’t assume that just because it is happening outside of your care that you don’t have a choice… you do, and you should be allowed to express your concerns. Thank you for pointing them out to other parents who may not have considered them otherwise =)

    Related article:

    • Mindy Weiner says

      I have personally read and enjoyed many Junie B books. The cool thing is that boys like them even though the main character is a girl.
      Junie is opinionated and forth rite [not to mention hilarious], but not particularly rude.
      If I remember correctly,a bad attitude is more of an age thing-just a charming little pre-view of puberty.
      Let them read ANYTHING, you can always read the books yourself and discuss what you disagree with.
      My oldest was reading Clancy in 6th grade.I just told him that he could skip over the sex stuff if it made him feel uncomfortable, or not. It wouldn’t really affect the plot line.
      Point is,reading is one way to open up the whole world. Even if the Junie B books were not so funny {and dead on the concerns and feelings of this age group],what harm could they possibly do?
      All kinds of books, any book, stories about heroes and villains, bad kids [Huck Finn anyone?] animals, Gods,it’s all good and it’s all great for discussion.
      Reading is a safe way to take part in the whole of human experience.
      What you do and how you live will be the biggest influence on your child, but they may never share your reading tastes. Minna

  8. Geri says

    My daughter is starting preschool in August, so y’all are making me a little worried about what she’ll be acting like when she starts! :-) Anyway, whether the books are the root cause or not, I think you at least have a more than valid concern about the language in the books. I haven’t read them, so I don’t know much about the content, but judging from the titles, I would be really upset if my child was being read these in school. There are plenty of fun, age appropriate books with nice language in them, that would have been a much better choice.

  9. Heather says

    Yourd describing my daughter to a T. However, those books have not been read to her! She’s really been pushing the limits w/me and has become VERY sassy these past few months. My 8 yr old boy also went thru something similar. My 10 yr old daughter did not go thru this, but she was homeschooled for kindergarten and first grade. I believe it’s from being around different personality kids they’re copying behaviors thy are seeing other kids use, and seeing what all they can get away with.

    Good luck! My li’l Miss Sassy is driving me nuts b/c it seems like a game to her! :/

  10. Laura Miller says

    I said the same exact thing about these books last year!!! Everyone seems to think I’m overly dramatic. I don’t think, for us anyway, that it was the books causing Gavin’s behavior issues as much as it was being around children who have horribly inattentive parents. I get to hear about all the things the other kids do in or out of school (OMG!) and how mean I am because I won’t let MY son get away with the same behaviors. Gav has also gotten into trouble at school for being overly energetic (yeah, that’s what I’m calling it!) and yet I just received a letter from his teacher asking if we could donate a bottle of soda for their pizza party. Yeah, she got a nice little letter back on that one, and once again I’m dubbed “overly dramatic”.

  11. says

    I actaully taught Kindergarten for 4 years out of the 6 I taught, and I find it is consistent with the age rather than a book. I think i is a combination of being around others (seeing what they do, etc) and finding her own personality. My oldest is 13, I have a 9, 8 and 2 year old and five/ the first year of school I always had to reiterate I am in charge because they tested. My oldest was in an uber religious private school at that age where they couldn’t read anything but Bible books, and he still did the same behaviors. Good news is with consistency like you are doing, it passes for a few years before you have to do it again.

    • says

      Is it the age? She was in school last year, and she never came home with some of the things she comes home with now. It’s rather upsetting that sending her to school is turning her into a child I don’t even recognize. UGH. Can I hit REWIND?

      The behavior actually did not show up until the books showed up. About three months ago. So I’m still a bit skeptical that it’s the age……I’m sure it’s a combination, but those books. They aren’t helping, that’s for sure.

      But at least you have provided me a sense of hope, that it will start to fade away, at least until she’s a teenager and I want to feed her to the bears……I mean, ground her without TV. Yeah, ground her without TV. HAHA.

  12. Lindsey says

    I love the Junie books! She’s actually really adorable if you read them. I think it is more a case of what she hears from other students than what she is learning from the book.

    • says

      The books promote being mean to each other. I’m not sure, after reading a few of them, that I find them cute. I’m not sure she’s going to be allowed to read them once this year is over. I’m not a fan of the series.

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