Barbara Park was born in Mount Holly, New Jersey on April 21, 1947. She spent her first two years of college at Rider University in New Jersey before receiving a B.S. degree from the University of Alabama. She began writing children's books after she had children of her own. In a career that began in 1982, she published over 50 books including Don't Make Me Smile, Operation: Dump the Chump, Ma! There's Nothing to Do Here!, Skinnybones, and The Kid in the Red Jacket. She was best known for her 28-book Junie B. Jones series which was first published in 1992. She won seven Children's Choice Awards and four Parents' Choice Awards. She helped found a charitable organization, Sisters in Survival, to raise money for women with ovarian cancer. She died from ovarian cancer on November 15, 2013 at the age of 66.