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Happy Birthday Beverly Cleary

I was thrilled on Friday morning when I turned on the T.V. and Jenna Bush Hager was on The Today Show interviewing author Beverly Cleary who is getting ready to turn 100 years old on April 12th.   I had no idea! It was so nice to see this type of story on a morning show instead of the usual fluff, and Beverly Cleary is easily my favorite children’s author.

I gobbled her books up as a kid including the Ramona series, Henry Huggins series and The Mouse and the Motorcycle. She also wrote a few pre-teen books including Jean and Johnny and Fifteen {not to be confused with Judy Blume’s Forever, which was contraband in middle schools across the country during the 80’s.}

Happy Birthday Beverly Cleary

Cleary started her love of books in her small town of Yamhill, OR where the population was so sparse there was no library. Her mother worked with the State Library to have books brought to town, and a makeshift library was created in a small room above the bank where her mom served as the librarian. Eventually, her family moved to Portland, and her school librarian suggested she write books since she loved to read them so much.

She recounted a story on The Today Show about reading books to her class when she was a teacher, and a boy asked, “Where are the books about the kids like us?” Those books didn’t exist, so she started writing them with characters that came from her own experiences and the people she met.

Her writing has garnered her many awards, including the 2003 National Medal of Art from the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2000 the Library of Congress named her a “Living Legend” for her contribution to children’s literature.   I love that her legacy is a lasting one and I have passed down my love of her books to my own daughter, who now loves them as well.  I still have many of my own copies {believe me, they are beyond vintage at this point} and have passed them down as well.

Beverly Cleary Books

In Ramona Quimby, Age 8 Cleary wrote about D.E.A.R {Drop Everything and Read.} D.E.A.R programs have been started all across the country and on April 12th in honor of Cleary’s birthday, you are encouraged to drop everything and read! Especially this year, when this beloved lady turns 100!

If you need a little inspiration, here are some of my favorite Beverly Cleary books:

Beezus and Ramona

Ramona the Brave

Ramona Quimby, Age 8

Henry and Beezus

Henry and the Paper Route

The Mouse and the Motorcycle

Runaway Ralph

Ellen Tebbits

Sister of the Bride

Mitch and Amy

Socks

Dear Mr. Henshaw

There are several branch libraries in the East Valley where you can pick up these and more wonderful children’s books. Please check out the Maricopa Country Library District website for the branch nearest you!

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