"If you don't see the book you want on the shelves, write it."

By Meghan Overdeep
April 12, 2019
Terry Smith/Getty Images

Happy birthday to a true living legend: the one and only Beverly Cleary!

Today, the beloved American author who delighted generations of young adults with the adventures of Ramona Quimby and her pestering little sister Beezus is celebrating an incredible 103 years of life.

Cleary is also known for penning such memorable works as Ralph S. Mouse, Fifteen, The Mouse and the Motorcycle and Dear Mr. Henshaw. To date, more than 91 million copies of her books have been sold in 25 different languages worldwide.

Cleary, who was born in 1916 in McMinnville, Oregon, published her first book, Henry Huggins, in 1950. She would go on to produce more than 40 titles, admired for their honest take on the humor of everyday life and the intricacies of childhood.  Judy Blume is said to count Cleary as her single greatest inspiration.

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In honor of Cleary’s 103rd birthday, please enjoy some of her most unforgettable, inspiring, and heartwarming quotes:

  1. "I don't think children themselves have changed that much. It's the world that has changed."
  2. "If you don't see the book you want on the shelves, write it."
  3. "Children should learn that reading is pleasure, not just something that teachers make you do in school."
  4. "Ramona could not understand why grown-ups always talked about how quickly children grew up. Ramona thought growing up was the slowest thing there was, slower even than waiting for Christmas to come. She had been waiting years just to get to kindergarten, and the last half hour was the slowest part of all." ― Ramona the Pest
  5. "She was not a slowpoke grownup. She was a girl who could not wait. Life was so interesting she had to find out what happened next." — Ramona the Pest
  6. “I guess that’s what growing up is. Saying good-by to a lot of things. Sometimes it is easy and sometimes it isn’t. But it is all right.” ―The Luckiest Girl
  7. I grew up before there were strict leash laws.
  8. "I had a very wise mother. She always kept books that were my grade level in our house."
  9. "I didn't start out writing to give children hope, but I'm glad some of them found it."
  10. "I don't think children's inner feelings have changed. They still want a mother and father in the very same house; they want places to play."