Happy 100th Birthday, Beverly Cleary!

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Photo by Connor Watley

Children’s author Beverly Cleary will turn 100 years old April 12!

She wrote many books, but The Mouse and the Motorcycle, the Ramona books, and the Henry Huggins books, are among her most famous.

I was introduced to her when I was in either kindergarten or first grade. My teacher read a story to us about a girl with boing-boing curls. However, I didn’t know the name of the book or remember the characters’ names.

I went on to become a voracious reader, mostly books by Laura Ingalls Wilder and Louisea May Alcott, the Nancy Drew series, and books about dogs or horses.

Somehow I managed to grow up without coming across the story of the boing-boing curls again.

When I became interested in writing for children, I became a regular patron of our local town’s children’s library and often browsed the shelves.

That’s how I found the Beverly Cleary books. I remembered The Mouse and the Motorcycle from my childhood, but I hadn’t read any of the Ramona books. I had a vague idea this series of books was famous, so I started reading my way through them.

Lo and behold, those boing-boing curls are in Ramona the Pest!

I really like Ramona! She reminds me what it’s like to be a child, and how a child thinks–understanding more than adults realize, but often getting things mixed up.

During the past few weeks, in honor of Cleary’s birthday, I’ve been revisiting the Ramona series. Except this time I’m listening to the audio version, narrated by Stockard Channing. The stories often make me smile!

Have you read any of Cleary’s books? How did her stories affect you?

6 comments

  1. Jane Heitman Healy

    Stockard Channing would be a great voice to read the Ramona books! My favorite of Cleary’s from my childhood was Ribsy. We did not have pets, so I got to own Ribsy vicariously through this book. Happy Birthday, Beverly Cleary!

    • Deb Watley

      Channing does a good Ramona voice! I don’t remember if I’ve read Ribsy, but I’m guessing it’s a fun book. And it’s fun you owned Ribsy vicariously!

  2. Marcia Strykowski

    Wonderful post about one of my favorite authors. Ramona is such a ‘real’ kid, she leaps right off the page. I’m thinking I should revisit Cleary’s books via the audio versions, thanks for the idea!

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