Beverly Cleary never forgot what it feels like to be a kid—and kids all over the world love her for it! Beverly Cleary is the author of many books, including Ramona the Pest and Henry Higgins, and her books have sold more than 91 million copies around the world! This year, Beverly Cleary turned 100 years old, and kids everywhere are still reading her books.
When Beverly Cleary was in first grade, she didn’t like reading class. She wasn’t a very good reader, and she was put in the lowest reading group. But then, a librarian at the school showed Cleary some new books—books she really liked to read. By third grade, Cleary had caught up with her class in reading. When she grew up, she went on to get a job as a librarian, and there she met a boy who inspired her to create Henry Higgins.
The boy came into the library where Beverly Cleary was working, and complained that he could not find any books about kids like him. Cleary remembered how she felt, back in school, when she could not find any books she liked to read. So she sat down and wrote a story about a boy named Henry Higgins, his dog, and his friend Beezus. And of course, with Beezus came her famous little sister, Ramona.
Beverly Cleary’s stories came from real things that happened in her childhood. She remembers her cousin catching a fish with bare hands, and that ended up in a Henry Higgins book. Cleary likes for her stories to be enjoyable, and not always have to teach a lesson. She says she liked to read for fun as a child, “I just wanted to read for pleasure, and I did. But if a book tried to teach me, I returned it to the library.”
Beverly Cleary is one of the most important writers in children’s literature. Children have grown up reading her books, and adults still think of her with a smile. And all because she wanted to write books about kids like you!
Check out more about Beverly Cleary here!