Happy birthday to the author who brought Ramona and Beezus Quimby to generations of young adults.
Beverly Cleary, the author who treated generations of young adults to the misadventures of Ramona Quimby and her little sister Beezus, celebrates her 102nd birthday today.
Cleary is also known for producing such notable works as Ralph S. Mouse, Fifteen, The Mouse and the Motorcycle and Dear Mr. Henshaw. Since 1950, 91 million copies of her books have been sold in 25 different languages worldwide.
Cleary, who was born in 1916 in McMinnville, Oregon, worked as a librarian until becoming a full-time children’s book writer in 1942. Her first book, Henry Huggins, was published in 1950. She would go on to pen more than 40 titles, beloved for their honest take on the humor of everyday life. Judy Blume counts Cleary as her single greatest inspiration.
“When you’re the right age to read Cleary’s books you’re likely at your most impressionable time in life as a reader,” Leonard Marcus, a children’s book historian, told The New York Times. “Cleary’s books both entertain children and give them courage and insight into what to expect from their lives.”
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Cleary was declared a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress in 2000, and received the National Medal of Arts in 2003, but she's proudest, she told Today, simply of "the fact that children love my books."
Happy birthday, Beverly!