I'd like to wish all my fellow book lovers out there a happy Beverly Cleary's birthday! This prolific writer, creator of Ramona Quimby, Henry Huggins, Ellen Tebbits, and more, is one hundred years old today! You can read a fantastic interview with her in last week's Publishers Weekly.
I loooooved Beverly Cleary's books. I remember checking them out from the public library, but I also ended up with my own copies of many of them. Some of these are in storage in my basement, waiting for my kids to be old enough to enjoy them.
My book-loving four-year-old and I recently started reading Ramona the Pest. Our copy is the same one I read as a child, and it belonged to my older sister first, which I know because her name is written in it. The book is pretty fragile by now, and the pages fall out if we're not careful.
A few years ago I was in Portland, Oregon, to see friends. We visited Cleary's/Ramona's neighborhood and I saw the the street where many of those fictional characters lived, as well as the elementary school they attended. Around that time, I read both of Cleary's memoirs, A Girl from Yamhill and On My Own Two Feet. I didn't know it when I was a child, but Cleary worked as a children's librarian for a while. And I didn't know in my youth or even when I was in Portland, taking pictures with the statues of Ramona, Henry Huggins, and the rest of the gang, that I'd end up working in the world of school library publishing. But here we are.
I've not been fortunate enough to cross paths with Beverly Cleary in real life, but her work has certainly influenced mine, and I'm delighted that she continues to be such a robust person and an inspiration after all these years. Happy birthday, Beverly Cleary!