Children’s author Beverly Cleary, creator of “Ramona Quimby,” dies at 104

Children's author Beverly Cleary, creator of

Cleary published his first book, “Henry Huggins”, in 1950, and more than 40 other books in the following years, according to Harper Collins. Cleary’s books have sold over 85 million copies and have been translated into 29 different languages.

Its protagonists were pests, treats, bullies and dreamers, sometimes all at once. She tapped memories of her youth and the struggles of children she knew to capture children’s perspective on the adult world, where fathers sometimes lost their jobs and sometimes mothers lost their lives alone.

“We are saddened by the passing of Beverly Cleary, one of the most beloved children’s authors of all time,” Suzanne Murphy, president of HarperCollins Children’s Books, said in the company’s press release about the Cleary’s death.

“Looking back, she would often say, ‘I’ve had a lucky life,’ and generations of children consider themselves lucky too – lucky to have the real characters that Beverly Cleary created, including Henry Huggins, Ramona and Beezus Quimby. , and Ralph S. Mouse, as true friends who helped shape their growing years, ”said Murphy.

Cleary was born Beverly Bunn in McMinnville, Oregon on April 12, 1916, and spent her early years on a farm in the nearby town of Yamhill. When the Bunn family moved to Portland, Oregon, a school librarian encouraged young Beverly to write children’s books. The council accompanied her throughout her studies at present-day Chaffey College in California, the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Washington in Seattle, where she studied librarianship.
In Berkeley, she met her husband, Clarence Cleary, and the two were married in 1940.

‘You can curl up with a book’

After college she worked as a children’s librarian until she started writing. According to Harper Collins, Cleary’s dream of writing for children was rekindled when “a little boy faced me pretty fiercely across the traffic desk and said, ‘Where are the books about kids like us?

His books featuring Henry Huggins, his dog, Ribsy, and the street children Klickitat, including Beezus and his younger sister, Ramona, have found a large following with young readers.

She received the National Book Award for Children’s Fiction in 1981 for “Ramona and Her Mother” and in 1975 she won the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award from the American Library Association for “a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children ”.

“Dear Mr. Henshaw” won the 1984 John Newbery Medal for Outstanding Contribution to American Children’s Literature. The book is about a lonely boy who begins a correspondence with an author of children’s books.

In 2000, she was named a living legend by the Library of Congress, and in 2003, she was awarded the National Medal of Art from the National Endowment of the Arts.

“At HarperCollins, we also feel extremely fortunate to have worked with Beverly Cleary and enjoyed her sparkling spirit,” said Murphy. “Her timeless books are an affirmation of her eternal connection to the pleasures, challenges and triumphs that are a part of every childhood,”

Her last book, “Ramona’s World,” was published in 1999, decades after Eternal Little Sister Bratty debuted in “Henry Huggins.” ”

Her husband died in 2004. She is survived by their two children, Malcolm and Marianne, three grandchildren and a great-grandchild.

In her 90s, Cleary said she expected children to still read her books for decades.

“You can curl up with a book, and I don’t think there’s anything like reading,” she told National Public Radio in 2006.


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