Beloved author Beverly Cleary turns 95 years old today. She has been a popular author with children ever since the publication of Henry Huggins in 1950.
I met Beverly Cleary at a children’s literature conference in Fresno in the 1970’s. I don’t really remember the talk she gave, but I do remember having her sign a copy of Beezus and Ramona. I picked that particular book because it made a big impression on me when I first read it. As a girl with a pesky younger sister, I was very surprised to find out from reading this book that sisters can be friends when they grow up. I found that quite encouraging.
Even though some of her books are over 50 years old, they don’t seem dated. Some details of everyday life may have changed, but her characters remain true to the real life of ordinary children. Who can forget Ramona’s disappointment when she finds out that “Sit here for the present” doesn’t mean what she thinks it does, or Henry Huggins’ struggles to get Ribsy home on the bus? Her stories are full of humor and real-life situations, and she has brought the pleasure of reading to thousands of children over the years. Her many fans wish her the happiest of birthdays.
Posted by Nancy, who is a children’s librarian, just like Beverly Cleary.