Beverly Cleary’s 102nd Birthday

Beverly Cleary, 1955
Beezus and Ramona, first edition cover

Happy Birthday to Beverly Cleary! Author of the beloved Quimby sister stories, Cleary, born on April 12th, 1916, celebrates her 102nd birthday today! Inspired by her own experiences in the world around her, Cleary first started writing to create the books that she longed to read but could never find on library shelves. Most of her stories take place in the Grant Park neighborhood of northeast Portland, Oregon, where she was raised. Today she is a celebrated author of children’s and young adult fiction, with more than 90 million books sold worldwide since her first book, Henry Huggins, was published in 1950. Perhaps her most popular books revolve around the sisters Beezus and Ramona Quimby—the first, entitled Beezus and Ramona, published in 1955. Since then, the books have even inspired a movie adaption, Ramona and Beezus, released in 2010. More than half a century since the publication of Beverly Cleary’s first book, her stories remain popular with readers of all ages, passed down from generation to generation. Childhood favorites of my own experience were Carolyn Keene’s Nancy Drew Mystery Stories. First published in 1930, this too became a series to span generations. My own mother shared them with me, and from these books I learned to love reading. At age 102, I am sure that Beverly Cleary has provided that same experience for girls and boys alike whose parents became enchanted by Cleary’s charming humor and memorable characters.