An international favorite, Beverly Clearly's books have appeared in over twenty countries and been translated into fourteen languages. Her numerous beloved characters, including Henry Huggins, Ellen Tebbits, Otis Spofford, and Beezus and Ramona Quimby, as well as Ribsy, Socks, and Ralph S. Mouse, have delighted children for generations.
She was born in McMinnville, Oregon, and, until she was old enough to attend school, lived on a farm in Yamhill, a town so small it had no library. Her mother arranged with the state library to have books sent to Yamhill, acting as librarian in a lodge room upstairs over a bank. It was there that the young Beverly learned to love books. By the third grade she spent much of her time either with books or on her way to and from the public library. Before long her school librarian was suggesting that she should write for boys and girls when she grew up. The idea appealed to her, and she decided that someday she would write the books she longed to read: funny stories about her neighborhood and the sort of children she knew.
Following graduation from junior college in Ontario, California, and the University of California at Berkeley, Mrs. Cleary entered the School of Librarianship at the University of Washington, Seattle. There she specialized in library work with children. She served as Children's Librarian in Yakima, Washington, until she married Clarence Cleary and moved to California. The Clearys are the parents of twins, now grown. On March 25, 2021, Cleary died at her retirement home in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, at the age of 104.
Her books have earned her many prestigious awards, including the 1984 Newbery Medal for Dear Mr. Henshaw. Ramona and Her Father and Ramona Quimby, Age 8 were named 1978 and 1982 Newbery Honor Books, respectively. Among Mrs. Cleary's other awards are the American Library Association's 1975 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, the Catholic Library Association's 1980 Regina Medal, and the University of Southern Mississippi's 1982 Silver Medallion, all presented in recognition of her lasting contribution to children's literature. In addition, Mrs. Cleary was the 1984 United States author nominee for the Hans Christian Andersen Award. Equally important are the more than thirty-five statewide awards Mrs. Cleary's books have garnered based on the direct votes of her young readers.
Did you find this review helpful?