When Beverly Cleary started elementary school, she was assigned to the "low reader" group. She didn't enjoy reading, didn't like the books at school and struggled to read them. Then one rainy day, bored at home, Beverly picked up The Dutch Twins by Lucy Fitch Perkins - and everything changed. Beverly was interested in this story, about the everyday adventures and antics of two siblings, and she really did enjoy reading!
From then on, Beverly went to the library to find books that she wanted to read. After college, Mrs. Cleary became a children's librarian and began to write her own books about the everyday adventures and antics of a group of kids on Klickitat Street. You may know them - Ramona and Beatrice "Beezus" Quimby, or Henry Huggins and his dog Ribsy. Mrs. Cleary wrote dozens of books that engaged children, including The Mouse and the Motorcycle and the Newberry Award-winning Dear Mr. Henshaw.
Beverly Cleary had a gift for capturing the essence of childhood, what it feels like to be a kid, and respectfully representing the inner lives of children. Mrs. Cleary's work has been translated into twenty-eight languages and touched the lives of children around the world. Twenty years ago, the Library of Congress named Beverly Cleary a Living Legend and, though Mrs. Cleary has passed, that legend lives on through her books and their readers.
"Quite often somebody will say, ‘what year do your books take place?’ and the only answer I can give is, ‘in childhood.’" - Beverly Cleary