Dallas Children's Theater Blog

Astonishing Kids And Families With The Fun of Broadway-Like Plays and A Lot More!

JUNIE B. JONES Provides Bedding for Friends in Need through S. M. Wright Foundation program

In the spirit of making all friends comfortable, Dallas Children’s Theater (DCT) is hosting a collection to support S.M. Wright Foundation’s Beds for Kids program during the six-week run of JUNIE B. JONES IS NOT A CROOK. DCT is asking its young patrons to perform an act of kindness for other children in our community, who need resources that make it possible to get a good night’s rest. Families are asked to bring a NEW blanket, pillow, or set of twin-sized bed sheets for young neighbors in the Beds for Kids program at the S.M. Wright Foundation.

In early 2010, the Foundation established the Beds for Kids program in an effort to reduce the number of North Texas children not experiencing quality sleep. Since its inception, the Beds for Kids program has distributed more than 6,360 bed sets to underprivileged kids. However, demand far exceeds the Foundation’s ability to supply resources.  Sadly, there is a waiting list of more than 4,200 kids.

“We are blessed and humbled by Dallas Children’s Theater’s generosity in naming our Foundation as their beneficiary. It sends a strong message not only to children, but to everyone; and it is our pleasure to be a part of such a generous outpouring and a wonderful production,” said Rev. S.M. Wright II, President & CEO of the S.M. Wright Foundation.

The S.M. Wright Foundation was founded in 1998 to deliver social services to those in need. For nearly 17 years, the organization, based in South Dallas, has provided support and stability to underprivileged children and less fortunate families through hunger relief, economic empowerment, and assistance in the areas of education, health and social services. The Foundation is unique among social services because it carries out its mission on a daily basis in the community – providing  hope, encouragement and assistance to families in need.

In appreciation of our patrons’ generosity, every family that donates an item will receive one ticket per to DCT’s summer show, MUFARO’S BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTERS: AN AFRICAN TALE. Limit two (2) per family.

To learn more about the S. M. Wright Foundation and the Beds for Kids Program, visit smwrightfoundation.org. JUNIE B. JONES IS NOT A CROOK runs now thru February 26. Visit the DCT website to purchase tickets.

For sanitary reasons, only donations of new items will be accepted.


by Allison Gregory

based on the books Junie B. Jones Is Not a Crook and Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren by Barbara Park

January 20 – February 26, 2017

Recommended for ages 5 and up

The Case for Junie B.


My husband teaches elementary school theater – kindergarten through fourth grade. I’ve been privy to some “behind the scenes” conversations about kids, and the one thing I’ve learned from him is that they are ALL so very different. As DCT prepares for JUNIE B. JONES IS NOT A CROOK, I think about all the kindergarteners I know, and she is just like them – very different.

Kindergarten is like the adolescence of childhood in that it’s a big transition from being a baby to being a kid. Your brain is in overdrive as it takes in information from every direction, and Junie B. is smart and confident, and eager to use her new information as soon as possible. She doesn’t always think things through before she acts on them, but that’s part of being a kid that just finished being a preschooler. She’s a work in progress.

In oKA_053ur JUNIE B. play, Junie B. has her favorite pair of black fuzzy mittens taken, and her first reaction is not ideal. How nice have you been when you find your phone or favorite coffee mug suddenly gone? It hurts, and it makes you mad, and kids don’t always know what to do with anger; especially a kid like Junie B. who marches to her own beat. She summons enough big-girl responsibility to check the lost and found, and when she doesn’t find her mittens, she decides to “find” a cool, flashy pen that someone else lost. She sees it as poetic justice. Here begins the journey of the lesson she must learn.

One of the things I hear when my husband and his colleagues are talking about kids is, “She’s got a MOUTH on her!” This could mean many things. Some of the kids just outright cuss like sailors, but more often than not it’s about back-talk. I’ll be frank, Junie B. is sassy sometimes, and her mouth often works faster than her brain. This is when we have to be reminded of how young children KA_116learn vocabulary. I go into a kindergarten classroom and everything is labeled. Chair.Table.Desk.Door. You get the idea.

The elements that aren’t labeled are feelings, concepts, ideas; the things that are inside that we can’t see. These things are more difficult to communicate, especially when our vocabulary is new and limited. This is when an eager, outspoken kid like Junie B. reaches for the newly-acquired vocabulary words she knows. They don’t always fit, but again, Junie B. is a bit of a square peg.

The cool thing about Junie B. is she doesn’t mind a bit. She’s fine with being different, and that’s one of the best lessons we can learn from her. She surrounds herself with colorful, multi-faceted friends who are as different as she is, and they remind us how balanced our Junie B. really is. If we could all have non-judging friends like Junie B.!KA_099

She has a lot to learn, as all five and six-year-olds do, and our kids will have so much fun watching her make mistakes. My kids will sneak a peek at me while they’re laughing to see if I just noticed what she said and if it’s okay that they laughed. I’ll smile at them. Then we’ll have a great conversation about how she fixed her mistakes, and how we have to think before we act and even think before we speak, because words and attitudes are important. I think Junie B. can teach this to our kids much more powerfully than a lecture on behavior.

JUNIE B. JONEjuniebS IS NOT A CROOK. I believe that. I believe she isn’t a crook. She’s a young kid on the road to discovering the recipe that is her life and who she is.  As parents and onlookers, let’s remember to do what we can to give them the freedom they need to ultimately get it right.  Oh yeah, JUNIE B. JONES IS NOT A CROOK is also the name of our show, running January 20 – February 26. You’ll have to see the show to find out what happens with the mittens and the pen. Get your tickets today at dct.org.

Written by Sherry Ward.

A Great Resolution for 2017:  Helping Children Learn to Get Along

shery-and-sonsA holiday break is always a good time to do some reading, so I got some books from the DCT Store to read with my boys. As parents, we can always grow from seeing things from a child’s perspective, especially when it is they that we ultimately want to have benefit from whatever life lesson we are trying to advance.  I was surprised and thrilled by how several of the books available for sale in the DCT Store helped me communicate with my child about a recent situation.

My eleven-year-old red-head had a really hard time last year with a boy who insisted on calling him “Ginger.” My red-head has autism, so he wasn’t totally equipped for how to deal with that, and it turns out they wouldn’t let me just come to school with him every day to make sure no one bothered him.enemy-pie

We tried to refrain from using the word “bully” like it was a bad word, and as it turns out, that fifth-grader that was giving my son such a hard time was having his own issues of acceptance and was quite withdrawn when he wasn’t with his small circle of friends. It’s hard to communicate all the complexities of acceptance to any kid, but these books helped me, and I think there were some golden nuggets that permeated as we read together.


Of course they loved the book Enemy Pie, because it was all about a boy who became friends with a new neighbor (his one and only enemy) by spending the whole day with him, culminating in a feast of “enemy pie.” We then read We All Sing with the Same Voice. It explored all of our differences, whether cultural, regarding the makeup of our family, or the color or our hair and skin, with the resounding message that we all sing with the same voice. Both of these books showed that we are so much more than our differences, and that (just like my son and his “enemy,”) there are always more things in common.

DCT has two shows this season that bring to life in a child-friendly way how we can best deal with differences. JUNIE B. JONES IS NOT A CROOK is about Junie B.’s journey of conscience when she tries to right a wrong by taking something that didn’t belong to her. She thought this would make her feel maxresdefaultbetter after having a pair of her favorite mittens go missing.  You’ll have to make plans to see the play or pick up the book to see how the story ends.

As I reflect on Junie B.’s style and her own circle of friends as revealed in both the book and the play, I’ve come to the conclusion that one of the reasons she is so misunderstood is because she dares to be different in the search for her own identity.  Junie B. likes to thoroughly exercise her newly-acquired vocabulary, which sometimes makes adults and friends question her use of proper English. Like we all do with a new pair of shoes, seems we all ought to be willing to just let her give these new words a trial run however strange they may sound.  each-kindnessAs the author says, “let’s remember…she’s five.”  By the same token, we could be a little more patient with the differences of others in general.  Take a moment to offer the benefit of the doubt with regard to why something was said or done before we react. Even at her young age, what I love about Junie is her melting pot of friends. I think Junie B. could teach us all a lesson in acceptance when you look at her entourage of friends who are all very different from her.  I am impressed by how she celebrates what is unique in each of these friends without ever belittling them. I think it makes her a better person, too.

the_hundred_dressesThe other books we (well, that I read) were a little more intense. Each Kindness and The Hundred Dresses were both about girls who received outright ridicule at school for the way they dressed. Their clothes were old, used or out of season, and they were not accepted by their classmates. In the end, there was an important lesson, which I don’t want to fully give away.  Let’s just say they both reminded me of the importance of not underestimating peers.  One never knows what someone else’s life circumstances might be. The key message is that you don’t always get a second chance to be kind to someone. As a teacher wisely shared, the drop of a pebble of kindness ripples into the world infinitely.

It’s never too early to learn lessons of acceptance and difference. This spring, DCT brings the play BLUE to the preschool audience.  The play has the simple lesson of accepting something new and different and finding the beauty in it. Pale Blue and Inky Blue have to deal with the unexpected entrance of Red Sock! Of course this is a fun, simple way to teach one of the most important lessons of diversity and acceptance to the smallest audience members.blue

From the shows that go on our stages to the resources that are provided to support families, DCT wants to do its part to help parents and children value the unique and precious differences in each other. JUNIE B. JONES IS NOT A CROOK by Allison Gregory runs from January 20 – February 26, 2017 for ages 5 and up. BLUE by Annie Cusick Wood runs from April 21 – May 7, 2017 for toddlers and their families.

I believe we will extend an invitation to my son’s “enemy number one” to join us at the theater and spend the day with us. I can’t think of a better way for both of them to get a new best friend. I hope you’ll join us.

Written by Sherry Ward.


The following is a list of books that are available for sale in the DCT Store.  These support materials are provided as a service to our patrons and as part of our commitment to promoting kindness.

Books about living in the world with others.

each-kindnessEach Kindness
By Jacqueline Woodson

A young girl learns the cost of bullying when she loses the opportunity to make a new friend.


the_giving_tree The Giving Tree
By Shel Silverstein

A tale of a tree that gives everything for a boy, and the spiritual peace brought to both through its generosity.


filled-a-bucketHave You Filled a Bucket Today?
By Carol McCloud

A book encouraging positive behavior via the metaphor of filling buckets.

the_hundred_dressesThe Hundred Dresses

By Eleanor Estes

A young girl is bullied because of her clothes.  Her classmates learn the repercussions of their bullying when she suddenly switches schools.


invisible-stringThe Invisible String

By Patrice Karst

A mother’s lesson to her children about the invisible string of love connecting us all together.


missingpiece-big-oThe Missing Piece
Meets the Big O

By Shel Silverstein

A simple story about a character who wants to become something different.


one-loveOne Love

By Cedella Marley

Based on the Bob Marley classic, a young girl brings her community together to create a better neighborhood.

peaceThe Peace Book

By Todd Parr

A book about the importance of tolerance, designed for children just learning to read.


enemy-pieEnemy Pie

By Derek Munson

How do you get rid of your worst enemy?  Become best friends!  An endearing story about a boy learning to like someone once he gets to know him.


book_thethreequestionsThe Three Questions

By Jon J. Muth

A boy is resolved to be the best person he can be, but is not sure how.


smileThe Smile That Went Around the World

By Patrice Karst

A fun story about how one act of kindness can spark a chain reaction of smiles.


way-i-feelThe Way I Feel

By Janan Cain

A fun, colorful book of expressive illustrations that help developing kids describe their emotions.