It’s Beverly Cleary’s 100th birthday today!
The creator of Henry Huggins, Ramona Quimby, Beezus, Ribsy and a host of other characters, Cleary ushered many of us through childhood. Her books were so compelling that she made avid readers out of millions of kids. She somehow tapped into what it was like to be a kid. We identified with those characters. Someone understood us!
I have a particular fondness for her book, Fifteen. It’s a simple story of a girl, Jane, who isn’t as popular as other girls, in that time of life when popularity seems to mean everything. She dreams of having a boyfriend. She eventually does, of course. It’s a sweet coming-of-age book. I found it on the shelves of my school library when I was 11 or 12 and I must have read it at least 10 times. I’d check it out, read it, return it, wait an appropriate amount of time, and then check it out again. I remember this book cover vividly.
I think I have to find a copy for my home library, don’t you?
This interview with Cleary is well worth the read. It’s written by Nicholas Kristoff, well known Op-Ed columnist for the paper, who happens to come from Yamhill, Oregon, the same small town that Cleary hails from. He says that Cleary is Yamhill’s home town hero.
What Beverly Cleary books appealed to you? Did you have a favorite? Please share.
How lucky we are to have had her books to guide us through childhood. She understood.
Thank you, Beverly Cleary!