Her Story: Ladies In Literature with Sharon Huss Roat

Her Story: Ladies In Literature is a special, month-long series on Pop! Goes The Reader in which we celebrate the literary female role models whose stories have inspired and empowered us since time immemorial. From Harriet M. Welsch to Anne Shirley, Becky Bloomwood to Hermione Granger, Her Story: Ladies In Literature is a series created for women, by women as thirty-nine authors answer the question: “Who’s your heroine?” You can find a complete list of the participants and their scheduled guest post dates Here!

About Sharon Huss Roat

Sharon Huss Roat grew up in Lancaster County, Pa., and now lives in Delaware with her husband and two children. She worked in public relations for 20 years before deciding what she really wanted to be when she grew up. She is the author of Between The Notes (HarperTeen, June 2015) and How To Disappear (Coming Summer 2017).

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramFacebookGoodreads

When I was invited to write for Her Story: Ladies in Literature, the first female character that came to mind was Jane Eyre. I have loved Jane for so long, and read the novel so many times, I look forward to the day when I’ve forgotten just enough to enjoy rediscovering parts of it. I’m a hard core Jane fan.

But the character who really wanted to be featured in this series (and stood there tapping her Mary Janes, refusing to be ignored), was the irrepressible Junie B. Jones.

The beloved series by Barbara Park (illustrated by Denise Brunkus) started in 1992 with Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, but I didn’t discover them until my son started reading in elementary school (2004-ish). I was hooked. Our whole family was hooked. We listened to Junie B. Jones audiobooks on road trips. We asked for Junie B. Jones books for Christmas and birthdays. We checked out all the Junie B. Jones books we didn’t own from the library.

We read the entire series several times over. They were my daughter’s favorite books and at age 12 she still goes back to them as a comfort read.

As I sit here writing this, I’m not even sure why we love her so. She’s a messy, loud, annoying kid — the kind I’d probably avoid in a grocery store. But she’s funny. And honest. She embraces the most hilarious of childhood instincts, curiosities and behaviors — ones parents spend a lot of time trying to get their kids not to do (but they do, anyway).

Wearing new shoes on the first day of school, she says, “See how shiny they are? Before I put them on, I licked them.

Discovering the library, she declares books her “very favorite things in the whole world” and hollers, “HEY! THERE’S A JILLION OF THEM IN HERE! I THINK I LOVE THIS PLACE!”

When a classmate suggests that mothers are “just plain old normal people, Junie B. stamps her foot. “Do not call my mother normal, May! No one in my whole entire family is normal!”

How can you not love her?

She’s always got a sock falling down, which reminds me of my own attempts to keep socks up on my skinny legs as a kid (I used to use rubber bands to hold them up). She’s uninhibited, which I never was as a child. How I wish I’d had Junie B. Jones back then!

She makes mistakes — big, fat ones — but always admits when she’s wrong (in the end). She learns from those mistakes and her readers learn right along with her (without realizing it’s happening, because they’re having so much darn fun).

When Barbara Park passed away in November of 2013, I gently broke the news to my kids who — then ages 9 and 13 — were still holding out hope that a new Junie B. Jones book would be added to the series. Saddened, we gathered up our Junie B. collection and crawled into bed together to read and share some of our favorite quotes, laughing over our the funniest scenes.

Junie B. Jones gave my children a love of reading, and an appreciation of strong, girl characters. She played an important role in my own path toward writing, in learning how to create flawed but likable characters, and in realizing that you’re never too old to read for ANY book.

Thank you Barbara Park and Denise Brunkus for giving us Junie B. Jones, and so many wonderful memories of reading to, and with, my kids.

Title Between The Notes
Author Sharon Huss Roat
Pages 382 Pages
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Genre & Keywords Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance
Published June 16th, 2015 by HarperTeen
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

When Ivy Emerson’s family loses their house—complete with her beloved piano — the fear of what’s to come seizes her like a bad case of stage fright. Only this isn’t one of her single, terrifying performances. It’s her life.

And it isn’t pretty.

Ivy is forced to move with her family out of their affluent neighborhood to Lakeside, also known as “the wrong side of the tracks.” Hiding the truth from her friends—and the cute new guy in school, who may have secrets of his own — seems like a good idea at first. But when a bad boy next door threatens to ruin everything, Ivy’s carefully crafted lies begin to unravel…and there is no way to stop them.

As things get to the breaking point, Ivy turns to her music, some unlikely new friends, and the trusting heart of her disabled little brother. She may be surprised that not everyone is who she thought they were…including herself.

Debut author Sharon Huss Roat crafts a charming and timely story of what happens when life as you know it flips completely upside down.

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Hi! I’m Jen! I’m a thirty-something introvert who loves nothing more than the cozy comfort of home and snuggling my two rescue cats, Pepper and Pancakes. I also enjoy running, jigsaw puzzles, baking and everything Disney. Few things bring me more joy than helping a reader find the right book for them!