Thursday, April 12, 2012

Beverly Cleary, children's author

Beverly Cleary
It is the birthday of children's author Beverly Cleary (1916), whose birthday is known as National Drop Everything and Read (D.E.A.R.) Day to promote sustained silent reading. Its origin is attributed to Ramona Quimby, one of her most popular fictional characters. Cleary's first book was Henry Huggins (1950), about a boy and and the dog he finds on a trip to the drug store and his friends who live on Klickitat Street in Portland, Oregon, near where Cleary grew up. Henry has been called the modern Tom Sawyer. She has written more than 30 books for children and young adults. Cleary's writing for children grew from a frustration as a child in finding books with characters to whom she could relate — ones that didn't become "better girls and boys." Ramona Quimby is a mischievous little girl who interrupts her older sister's life in many ways, including inviting her whole preschool class over to her house without telling her family. The first Ramona book, Beezus and Ramona, appeared in 1955. Cleary's books have won numerous awards, including the Newbery Medal, the Newbery Honor, The Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, the National Medal of Arts and the Library of Congress Living Legends award. Her autobiographies are A Girl from Yamhill (1988) and My Own Two Feet (1995).

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