• Beverly Cleary (born Beverly Atlee
Bunn; April 12, 1916) is an American
writer of more than 30 books for
young adults and children.
• As one of America's most successful
living authors, she has sold 91 million
copies of her books worldwide.
• Some of her best-known characters
are Henry Huggins, Ribsy, Beatrice
("Beezus") Quimby, her sister
Ramona, and Ralph S. Mouse.
• She has won many literary
awards, including the 1984 Newbery
Medal for Dear Mr. Henshaw and the
1981 National Book Award for
Ramona and Her Mother.
• Cleary was born in McMinnville, Oregon. She
is an only child.
• Until she was old enough to attend
school, Cleary lived on a farm in Yamhill, a
town so small it had no library. Still, Beverly
learned to love books, due largely to her
mother's arrangement with the Oregon State
Library to have books sent to their home.
• When Cleary was six years old, her family left
the farm and moved to
Portland, Oregon, where she attended
elementary and high school.
• The grammar school librarian was largely
responsible for developing her love of
reading. She encouraged Cleary to check out
books about subjects to which she could
relate. The librarian not only encouraged her
to read but also to write her own books, and
instilled in her the belief that she, too, could
write for children some day.
• In 1934, age 18, Cleary moved to
Ontario, California, to attend Chaffey
College, from which she earned an Associate
of Arts degree. After graduating in 1938
from the University of California at
Berkeley, she studied at the School of
Librarianship at the University of Washington
in Seattle, where she earned a degree in
library science in 1939.
• One afternoon, during a break from her
chores at work, she found herself having a
sandwich with a young gentleman named
Clarence Cleary, her future husband.
• In 1940 she married Clarence, and they
moved to Oakland, California. The Clearys
had two children, Marrienne Elizabeth and
Malcolm James, twins, born in 1955.
• The library science degree allowed her to
work with young children and develop
relationships with them. Her first full-time
job as a librarian was in
Yakima, Washington, where she met many
children who were searching for the same
books that she had always hoped to find as a
• Cleary sympathized with children who felt
that there were no books written about
children like themselves. Their pleas
convinced her to help provide children with
stories to which they could relate.
• In response to this experience, she later wrote
her first book, Henry Huggins, which was
published in 1950. It was about a boy, his dog
and their friends, all of whom lived on
Klickitat Street in Portland (a street only a few
blocks from where Cleary grew up as a child).
• According to Cleary, Henry Huggins and his
friends represented all the children she grew
up with, and the ones who sat in front of her
during library story hours.
• As she crafted her first book, she recalled
advice from her mother and incorporated
her beliefs that the best writing was simple
and filled with humor. She also
remembered advice from a college
professor who emphasized writing about
universal human experience.
• Beezus and Ramona, Cleary's first book to
center a story around the Quimby
sisters, was published in 1955, although
Beezus and Ramona made frequent
appearances in the Henry Huggins series as
• She learned to add a little wit and charm to
her writing for children, with the hope that
it would spark an interest in reading among
her students and encourage them to read
more books like it.
• In writing about
normal, everyday boys &
girls, brothers and sisters, pets
and parents, Beverly Cleary
tapped into a universal theme:
• And by using gentle humor, she
revealed her own philosophy of
life – that we can smile and
laugh at everyday things.
• She has written two
autobiographies about her own
life: A Girl From Yamhill and My
Own Two Feet.
• Her final book for children was
Ramona’s World (2009)
A NUTSY THE SQUIRREL PRODUCTION
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