I want to talk today about Beverly Cleary and wish the beloved children’s author a HAPPY 100th BIRTHDAY. As an avid lifetime reader and a former school teacher, I’ve been reading Cleary’s books and following her career for as long as I can remember. Who can possibly forget the antics of Ramona Quimby, the Mouse on the Motorcycle and most boys loved Henry and Ribsy. Cleary says her childhood gave her the drive to become the librarian and eventually successful author that she is today at 100, in the first grade Cleary had a very difficult time learning to read, but with the help of her school’s librarian and the librarian helping her to find books she was interested in Cleary learned and caught up to her classmates in the Third grade.
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Cleary always took on topics that at the time were rarely discussed such as divorce, one professor of Children’s Literature says, “Cleary’s books have lasted because she understands her audience. She knows they’re sometimes confused or frightened by the world around them, and that they feel deeply about things that adults can dismiss.” Cleary’s first book was Henry Huggins in 1950, it was accepted for immediate publication after she submitted the manuscript and introduced us to not only Henry but his dog Ribsy, his friend Beezus and her little sister Ramona, laying the groundwork for many years of wonderful children’s literature. From a design perspective I’ve always loved the illustrations for Beverly Cleary’s books and covers, they’ve always been very timely and updated as the years march on. Here’s to Beverly Cleary, Happy Birthday!!!