Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Happy Birthday Beverly Cleary!

It's not every day that one of our literary superstars earns the qualifier of centenarian, and so today we are celebrating the 100th birthday of the inestimable Beverly Cleary!

Has an author ever been more adorable?
The world of Beverly Cleary was a gigantic presence in my childhood. My mom, who loved Beverly's books from her own childhood, started reading them with me when I was around 4, and our favorites were the Ramona Quimby books. As probably half the little girls in America did, I identified with scrappy little Ramona. Charming, imaginative and lovable as she was, she was also rough around the edges, messy, and got things wrong all the time, just like me. Beverly Cleary wrote with this in mind - she wanted to create the books she wished she could have found as a child, and used her own childhood neighborhood and friends as inspiration for the denizens of Klickitat Street (read more about Beverly's life and achievements here).
OK fine, new movie Ramona is pretty adorable too.

I also loved the 1988 TV series starring Sarah Polley, and wish we could all agree that they're the only screen adaptation of Ramona that the world needs.When I was about eight we got a pug puppy and I named her Ramona, because I wanted a friend just like her. This worked out well - pug attitudes aren't that far off from spunky little girl attitudes!  I also loved The Mouse and the Motorcycle - not only the book, but the quirky 1987 TV special, which mixed live action with stop animation, and which I just discovered you can watch on YouTube in its entirety. Guess what I have on in the background? This movie and the Ramona TV shows were definitely my most-checked-out tapes from the library. Between the books and characters that my mom and I shared, the shows that I watched over and over again sprawled on the carpet, and my puppy who romped through our world with Ramona-like joy, my childhood was even more Beverly-ful than I remembered! And I wouldn't have had it any other way.
Ramona the small pug and Darla the small Human

Birthday Roundup!

The internet loves a celebration, and this milestone birthday is proving to be no exception. 

In addition to their March/April edition dedicated to Beverly, The Horn Book has been publishing a series of posts celebrating her life and work

Bookriot has compiled an impressive list of 100 Awesome Things about Beverly Cleary on her 100th Birthday

Watch a delightful interview with and celebration of Beverly on the Today Show:

Bustle brings us a gif-filled listicle of 13 Ways "Ramona Quimby" Prepared Us for Adult Life

Mental Floss also brings us a list of Charming Beverly Cleary Tidbits

Beverly hails from Oregon, and so Oregon Public Broadcasting has put out a series of stories on her life and work, You can even quiz yourself on your Bev Book knowledge!

How are you celebrating Beverly's birthday? What is your favorite Bev Book moment? Let us know in the comments!

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