Today is the birthday of Beverly Atlee Bunn Cleary, better known as best-selling author Beverly Cleary.
Cleary was born on April 12, 1916, in McMinnville, Oregon, the only child of a teacher and a farmer.
She became a children’s librarian. How could she not? (See picture above.) According to Wikipedia, Cleary empathized with her young patrons who had difficulty finding books with characters they could identify with. So she decided to start writing children’s books about characters to whom young readers could relate. The rest is history.
Cleary’s first book, Henry Huggins (1950) was the first in a series of fictional chapter books about Henry, his dog Ribsy, his neighborhood friend Beezus and her little sister Ramona, whom Nicholas Kristof calls “one of the great characters of children’s literature.” I’m pretty sure I read some of these books, but I do not remember them well. Maybe this one:
And here’s a fun fact: She also published three softcover novels based on the TV series Leave It to Beaver—Leave It to Beaver (1960), Here’s Beaver! (1961), and Beaver and Wally (1961).
Her publisher HarperCollins recognizes her birthday, April 12, as National Drop Everything and Read Day (D.E.A.R.), in promotion of silent reading. I would like to celebrate this day–how about you? I mean aren’t you happy to be reminded of chapter books and silent reading? These were an important part of my elementary years at school.
So a well-deserved toast to Ms. Cleary, who is still kicking it at age 100. Long may she run.
*Ramona the Pest