Happy Birthday, Beverly Cleary!

The prolific, beloved, and super-talented writer of books about real, flesh-and-blood, funny, sad, angry, nervous, clever, struggling, happy, did-I-say-real children—Beverly Cleary—is 94 years old today. Bless you, Mrs. Cleary!

Beverly Cleary is my idea of a superstar. She is responsible for some of the best books ever written for and about children. If you are not familiar with her life and work, I urge you to explore her website. You’ll be doing your kids, and yourself, a big favor.

If you already know about Henry Higgins and Ramona Quimby and Jane Purdy and Otis Spofford, please comment on this post, and tell me the name of your favorite Beverly Cleary book. It’s very, very hard for me to pick just one, but, if I must, I’ll go with Ellen Tebbits. When I read it as a child, I didn’t want to be Ellen; I knew that, in many ways, I was Ellen. That’s the thing about Beverly Cleary: she writes about the world of childhood as it is for a child, and that never goes out of style. Fantasy fads may come and go, but first love is always going to feel the way it does for Jane Purdy in Fifteen and first disappointments are always going to be as stinging, first triumphs always as sweet, as they are for Ramona the Pest.

April 12th is Drop Everything and Read (D.E.A.R.) Day in honor of Ramona and her creator, who was a children’s librarian as well as an author. So please read to a child today, and please tell me about your favorite Beverly Cleary book. In 2000, the Library of Congress declared Mrs. Cleary a “Living Legend.” In 2010, she’s till going strong.

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12 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    heather said,

    Henry & Ribsy – hands down. I even named my first cat Ribsy!!

  2. 4

    Anne said,

    Our whole family adores the whole Ramona series… over and over!

    • 5

      sgaissert said,

      So does our whole family. : ) I have the audio cassette for Ramona the Brave (read by Stockard Channing) in the cassette player right now, for me to listen to while I clean the kitchen.

  3. 6

    cam said,

    🙂 I LOVE Ramona!

  4. 8

    tatiana said,

    How’s this for sappy: Reading the title “Ellen Tebbits” actually made me a wee bit weepy just now! I love love love love love that book! Thanks for sharing – I wouldn’t have known it’s her birthday. I’m going to check her website now.

    • 9

      sgaissert said,

      Wow, another Ellen Tebbits fan! Remember her long underwear? And riding the horse? And the biennial beet? And “the substitute rat”? God, Beverly Cleary is funny! Enjoy the site . . . Susan

  5. 10

    […] in our house LOVES Ramona Quimby, and has for years and so I was grateful to be reminded by Susan @ The Expanding Life. Today is also Beverly Cleary’s 94th birthday! Some of the Mr.’s favorite childhood […]

  6. 11

    Brytta said,

    I named my stuffed mouse Ralph, after The Mouse & The Motorcycle.


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