Happy Birthday Beverly Cleary

Beverly Cleary is 95 years old today. She’s written two memoirs – The Girl from Yamhill and My Own Two Feet, but it’s her award winning children’s books that endear her to readers.

The New York Times Sunday Book Review included a short anecdote about her fan mail being accidentally switched with that of Judy Blume, citing one reader asking Blume for her garbage, and a latch-key girl writing to Cleary to tell her how her books made her feel safe when she was alone in her house, waiting for her mother.  Cleary wrote back Рshe still does.

In her essay, Ramona Forever, Pamela Paul, the New York Times children’s book editor, clearly identifies the reasons for Cleary’s popularity and offers some of Cleary’s advice to prospective children’s book authors:

“Keep it simple…the proper subject of the novel is universal human experience grounded in the minutiae of ordinary life.”

I browsed the stacks for some old favorites to reread…while I have some jelly with my mashed potatoes.


Today is also Drop Everything and Read Day: A Letter from Ramona Q.