In JUNIE B.’s ESSENTIAL SURVIVAL GUIDE TO SCHOOL, Junie B. receives her first grade report card, and immediately attempts to bury it in the backyard. We learn that her grades were just fine, but she had several checks in behavior from trying to be the center of attention when it wasn’t her turn. Junie B. is mortified, both that her actions have caught up to her, and that there are — for the first time in her recent memory — areas of her life that need improvement. Only with the help of her mother and Grandpa Miller is Junie B. able to face the parts of herself that she would much rather keep buried underneath the neighbor’s begonias.
Everyone, at all ages, has experienced shame – but not everyone has had help in dealing with it. Ironically, the antidote to shame is exactly what people sitting in shame fear the most: connection. It takes great bravery to admit to a fault or mistake, but it can be one of the most bonding experiences when shared between generations. It is as revealing as it is humorous to see yourself in the generations after you, and the usefulness of a grandparent’s perspective in dealing with these complex feelings cannot be overstated. As Junie B.’s own Grandpa Miller is always ready with a lemon pie and a teasing story about himself or Junie’s mother, we must also be ready to share the parts of ourselves that we were told need improvement too.
Now here’s an exercise you can share with your own brilliant troublemaker. Remember, there is joy in sharing the little embarrassments that have shaped us; they help us grow. Have a grandparent or older loved one fill out the right side, and a child fill out the left. Don’t forget to compare the finished product!
Adapted from the Junie B. Jones series of books by Barbara Park
Directed by Nancy Schaeffer
Recommended for ages 5 and up
By Matt de la Peña, Illustrated by Christian Robinson
Adapted by Gloria Bond Clunie
Directed by vickie washington
Recommended for ages 4 and up
Junie B. photo by Karen Almond.
JUNIE B.’s ESSENTIAL SURVIVAL GUIDE TO SCHOOL produced through special arrangement with Music Theatre International www.MTIshows[dot]com. LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET produced by special arrangement with GURMAN AGENCY, LLC, a theatrical literary agency. www.gurmanagency[dot]com; logo courtesy of Penguin Random House LLC.