Beloved children's book author, Beverly Cleary was born 96 years ago today. She lovingly crafted the characters familiar to generations of readers - Beezus and Ramona Quimby, Ralph S. Mouse, and Henry Huggins.
She grew up in a town so small that there was no library. Her mother took it upon herself to arrange with the Oregon State Library to have books sent to the tiny town of Yamhill, Oregon and acted as librarian in a lodge room above a bank.
When Beverly was 6, she moved with her family to Portland, where she attended elementary and high school. She struggled with reading as a young child, placing the blame in part on the books she was required to read and in part to her first grade teacher. But second grade was completely different for her. She had a new teacher (who would be her favorite) and by third grade, she loved to read.
She went on to college and would become a librarian with her first position in Yakima, Washington.
Mrs. Cleary published her first book, Henry Huggins, in 1950. She's won many awards for her writing since then, including the prestigious 1984 Newbery Medal for Dear Mr. Henshaw.
Not only is it Beverly Cleary's birthday, but it's also National Drop Everything and Read (D.E.A.R.) Day which promotes sustained silent reading.
When is National D.E.A.R. Day?
The birthday of beloved author Beverly Cleary is the official event date, April 12th. Ramona Quimby, the program’s official spokesperson, is responsible for spreading the word and the love of reading.
Why is National D.E.A.R. Day celebrated on Beverly Cleary’s birthday?
Beverly Cleary receives thousands of letters a year from young readers, many who have participated in D.E.A.R. at school. Their interest in and enthusiasm for this special reading activity inspired Mrs. Cleary to give the same experience to Ramona Quimby, who gets to enjoy D.E.A.R. time with the rest of her class in Ramona Quimby, Age 8.
How can I participate?
Schools, libraries, bookstores and other organizations are being asked to host Drop Everything and Read events on April 12th. You can attend an event in your community or participate right in your own home by reading for 30 minutes!
Here's the DEAR Day website.