Probably every American is familiar with the quirky Ramona Quimby, her sister Beezus, Henry Huggins, their neighbor, and his dog Ribsy. B
Beverly Cleary’s stories and characters truly got into the minds of children, and her characters and stories have been beloved for generations.
Believe it or not, Beverly Cleary turned 103 on April 12, 2019, which is truly impressive, considering that even herself once said that she never planned to live past the age of 80.
She told Jenna Bush Hager in an interview with Today on her 100th birthday that she didn’t live this long “on purpose”, but her age doesn’t seem to stop her from being absolutely awesome!
Cleary became a reader only when her family moved to Portland, as she spent her early childhood in a small town that didn’t have library, and it was her school librarian that suggested she become a writer. So, her path was set, and she decided to write about kids similar to the ones in her own neighborhood.
She says that she has always gotten her ideas for stories and characters from the people around her, including the names.
According to her, children love Ramona because “she doesn’t learn to be a better girl”. She said in an interview with Reading Rockets that she was annoyed with the books in her childhood because children always “learned to be better children”. In her experience, however, they didn’t… they just grew. So, Ramona never reformed! Even though her intentions are good, Ramona has a lot of imagination, so things often don’t turn out the way she had expected.
Cleary added that she modeled Ramona after a little girl who lived nearby and was considered “rather impossible”. The author said that she has a vivid memory of her coming home from the grocery store, she had a pound of butter, which she had opened, and she would just be eating the pound of butter. So, the little girl became Ramona, even when Ramona never ate a pound of butter.
The author has sold over 91 million books so far, which makes her one of the most successful authors of all time, and she has been decorated with numerous literary awards.
When asked what she was most proud of, Cleary simply answered: “Children love my books.”
And indeed they do!