My Real Life Friends

Meet my bestest real-life friends, Barbara Park and Denise Brunkus! You will L-O-V-E them, I tell you!

Denise Brunkus is a children's book illustrator. She has illustrated more than 60 books, including the Junie B. Jones series and Read All About It! by Laura and Jenna Bush. Here Denise gives us a behind-the-scenes glimpse of her work, including art from her childhood and early Junie B. Jones sketches.

Denise Brunkus in first grade
This is me in first grade (toothless wonder). My hair STILL does that whoopy thing on the left side. Attractive.
1st Grade Art
I always liked to draw. This is some art I did in first grade.
Puppet and doll and Barbie clothes
Puppet and doll AND Barbie clothes that I made as a kid. (P.S. Barbie and I share the same birthday—March 9.)
When I had to do the sketch for pages 22–23 in Junie B. Jones Has a Peep in Her Pocket, I needed to show Junie B. and her classmates with their farm drawings. I had no idea how a kindergartner would draw a flamingo, let alone a rooster trapped under a fallen tree. So I hired my five-year-old niece to help me. Her drawings provided the perfect inspiration I needed to get the illustration done.
Flamingo Rooster
Junie and Her Classmates
Here’s the series of sketches that I did as we worked our way to getting a cover for Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed.
Junie and Monster Illustration