Happy Birthday, Beverly Cleary!

  On April 12, Beverly Cleary, famous children’s author, turns 100!

Three of her most popular works are Henry Huggins, Ramona Quimby, Age 8, and The Mouse and the Motorcycle.  There are also more than 40 Cleary titles in print. 

  Her most serious book Dear Mr. Henshaw won the Newbery Award in 1984. It tells the story of Leigh, who begins the novel as a school assignment, writing letters to a favorite author. He shares with him about his parent’s divorce, his relationship with his father and being the new kid in school.  

About Beverly Cleary


Beverly Cleary was born in McMinnville, Oregon. She lived on a farm in Yamhill, a small town with no library. Her mother went the extra mile to ensure her children had books to read. She requests books from the state library and became the town librarian, setting up the books in a lodge room upstairs over a bank. Thus started a love affair with books for the young Beverly. When their family moved to Portland, and she attended school, to her dismay, Beverly was put in the lower reading group in her class, an experience she will never forget. She continues to be an advocate for struggling readers. Before long though, she was a fluent reader and was reading her way through all the books in the library. It was her school librarian who took note of Beverly’s voracious appetite for reading and suggested to her that she should write books herself someday!  


 These eight highly amusing and easy-to-read novels for ages 8-12 center on Ramona, a fiesty little girl, her older sister Beezus and her best friend, Henry. The first book Beezus and Ramona is the only book written from the perspective of Beezus, the older sister. Two books in the series were named Newbery Honor books, Ramona and Her Father and Ramona Quimby, Age 8; Ramona and Her Mother received the National Book Award. 

  •  Beezus and Ramona (1955)
  •  Ramona the Pest (1968)
  •  Ramona the Brave (1975)
  •  Ramona and her Father. (1977)
  •  Ramona and her Mother (1979)
  •  Ramona Quimby, age 8 (1981)
  •  Ramona Forever (1984)
  •  Ramona’s World (1999)


Also, be sure to read the exploits of Henry and his dog, Ribsy. Henry is Ramona’s best friend and neighbor. This series, which include Ramona and her family, is great for boys, although my kids (1 boy and 2 girls) enjoyed both series equally.

  •  Henry Huggins (1950)
  •  Henry and Beezus (1952)
  • Henry and Ribsy (1954)
  • Henry and the Paper Route (1957)
  • Henry and the Clubhouse (1962)
  • Ribsy (1964)


Of course, no celebration of Beverly Cleary’s life and works would be complete without The Mouse and the Motorcycle!

On April 12th, to celebrate Beverley Cleary’s, children everywhere are asked to participate in D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything And Read) to commemorate Cleary’s contribution to children’s literature. If you are not familiar with The Read-Aloud Revival (http://amongstlovelythings.com), I would encourage you to check it out. Sarah MacKenzie is a homeschooling mom of 6 who is passionate about reading. There is a blog, reading lists (hot off the press), podcasts and more. She is offering a FREE downloadable D.E.A.R. Whole Family Book Club Kit, offers suggestions for activities and a Beverly Cleary walking tour.  

  Note: I have multiple copies of all of the above books for families living overseas.


2 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Beverly Cleary!

  1. Thank you so much for this, Gail, this was great! I’m reading Mr. Henshaw now. My favorite of hers is Emily’s Runaway Imagination, which I did not realize was autobiographical, until I read what you wrote here about her life. Thank you! Love from Lupeni, Romania!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks, Brandi! Glad you enjoyed the post. Yes, Emily’s Runaway Imagination is another great book by Beverly Cleary. Thanks for sharing about this book. She states that many of the characters and stories from Ramona and Henry books are also inspired by her own neighborhood and friendships as a child.


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