Moms Must Read:
Beverly Cleary is 100!
If you have a little one in your house or know a little one or even used to be a little one then you are familiar with Beverly Cleary. Cleary celebrates her 100th birthday this month which I think is absolutely amazing. Beverly Cleary is the author of numerous books for children and tweens. After moving on from picture books, early readers need books that will encourage them to love reading on their own and Cleary knows how to foster that independence. Long before cheeky Junie B Jones or curly haired Clementine became popular there was Ramona. Cleary’s books include the fun loving and lovable characters Ramona, Ralph Mouse, and Henry. Cleary’s books (my faves happen to be Ramona) appeal to everyone and I’m sure there’s at least one of her books in your book stash. In this birthday tribute I thought it might be fun to look back at Cleary’s legacy to see why she is one of the most loved and award winning children’s author around.
1. BEEZUS AND RAMONA
Poor Beezus (short for Beatrice) is nine years old and has the most exasperating little sister named Ramona. When Beezus gets tired of reading the same book over and over to her little sister, she tries to get Ramona to like a new book. You can imagine that a four year old who fingerpaints and then wipes her blue paint colored hands on the cat might cause a bit of mischief even if sitting still for a story. I found this quote that sums up Beezus’ feelings exactly: “A little sister goes a long way.” If you’ve had a younger sibling, you’ll understand Beezus’ dilemma. If you are the little sibling then you might laugh at Ramona’s antics.
Hang around a kid long enough and you’ll discover that most of them love books about animals. Animals acting like humans are often the funniest things to kids. If you’re unsure take a look at Humphrey, Despereaux, or Poppy and Rye. Remind me to tell you about the time I nearly wept all over Avi, the author of Poppy and Rye. Ralph lives in a knothole in a hotel. And when he gets a chance to borrow a toy bicycle he jumps at the chance for adventure and to leave the hotel. A tiny mouse on a tiny motorcycle? What’s not to love? This is the beginning of the Ralph S. Mouse series.
3. Henry Huggins
When Henry befriends a stray dog his life becomes adventurous thanks to the dog’s nose for mischief. Henry can’t even get the dog home before they run into trouble! The two become inseparable as dogs and boys often do. Another fun bit about this series is that you might come across friends we already know, namely, Beezus and Ramona. Readers will be thrilled to see their old friends occur in this series as well as see what trouble Ribsy gets Henry into.
Read More: Ask Rene: Deserted Doggie
4. Dear Mr. Henshaw
As your young reader matures, they will naturally want to stay with Cleary whose books grow with them. Reacting to more modern situations, Dear Mr. Henshaw is the tale of a boy named Leigh who is struggling with the effects of his parents’ separation and moving to a new town. He writes to his favorite author in response to a class assignment. I love turning to a book and a favorite author when I’m stressed and this book shows readers there indeed is solace in a book. Cleary won the Newbery for this book. This is not the last time we’ll see Leigh Botts, though…
I could go on and on listing Beverly Cleary’s books for kids. She also has written books for tweens and young teens. I love that kids don’t have to stop reading her because they’ve outgrown her early readers. Cleary’s endearing characters, humor, and good stories make these books classics. In fact, just the other day I snagged a dusty copy of Ramona from a friend’s box of books. Score! In fact my youngest was so much like Ramona at that age that I can’t help but think Cleary must have been in my head when my littles were growing up.
Happy 100th birthday Beverly Cleary!
Do you have a favorite Beverly Cleary Book? Leave it here in the comments!