Thank you, Frank Bruni, for reminding me of Beverly Cleary’s birthday on Tuesday, April 12th, in today’s New York Times Sunday Review article.
When librarian Cleary introduced Ramona in her first book,Henry Huggins, in 1950, she created a fan base now extending to well-known artists today, including Kate DiCamillo, Judy Blume, and Amy Poehler, who wrote introductions to recent re-releases of three of Cleary’s books – Ramona Quimby, Age 8; The Mouse and the Motorcycle, and Henry Huggins.
I’ve always identified with the feisty, irreverent Ramona who always has a question, because as Cleary noted in the interview: “I was a well-behaved girl, but I often thought like Ramona.”
In her interview, Beverly Cleary’s wise note hit a chord with me:
“As a child, I very much objected to books that tried to teach me something. I just wanted to read for pleasure, and I did. But if a book tried to teach me, I returned it to the library.”
When we read books or discuss them, is it always necessary to dissect them? As Robert Frost said, “Poetry is what gets lost in translation.”
Children’s books offer a welcome relief in reading, and you don’t have to be a child to enjoy them. If you are fan of Beverly Cleary books, now is a good time to get reacquainted. Ramona the Pest is my favorite – what’s yours?
If you somehow missed meeting Ramona in Cleary’s books, it’s not too late.
I have more to say about Beverly Cleary: