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News in Youth Services

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Happy 100th Birthday, Beverly Cleary!!

Happy Birthday to You, Happy Birthday to You, Happy 100th Birthday Beverly Cleary, Happy Birthday to You!

April 12th is Beverly Cleary's 100th birthday!  She was one of my favorite author's growing up.  Her character Ramona always got into trouble in her many adventures.  I'm not sure how her sister Beezus handled her!  I wonder if that is where Barbara Park got her inspiration for Junie B. Jones?  I was reading an article about Beverly Cleary where the great author Judy Blume gave her credit for helping her develop the characters Peter and Fudge after she had read Cleary's Henry Huggins series as an adult (see even adults like children's literature!).

Beverly Cleary grew up in a farm in Oregon.  Her town was so small it didn't have a library.  Luckily her mother knew how important books were and arrange with the Oregon State Library to have books sent to her town and her mom acted as the town librarian.  It was then that Beverly learned to love books.

Did you know that Beverly was a struggling reader?  Her family moved to Portland when she began school.  She found herself in the low reading group.  With hard work, Beverly conquered reading by third grade.  She spent so much time at the library, the librarian suggested that she write books when she grew up.  I guess she took her advice, and thankfully so.  Can you imagine a world without Ramona or Ralph S. Mouse?  The Mouse and the Motorcycle was one of my favorite books in elementary school.  I even watched the after school special movie of it (but the book is way better!  Isn't that always the way?)

Mrs. Cleary's books have earned her many prestigious awards:

  • 1984 Newbery Medal, Dear Mr. Henshaw (another of my favs)
  • 1978 Newbery Honor Book, Ramona and Her Father
  • 1982 Newbery Honor Book, Ramona Quimby, Age 8 
So the next time you are looking for a great book to read, especially at bedtime (remember that reading together as a family is one of the best ways to promote literacy with children), check out Ramona or Henry and fall in love with them like I did.

Beverly Cleary books
Beverly Cleary website

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