Cleary’s experiences as a late budding reader helped her empathize with young readers when she became an author. Young readers supplied Cleary with ideas for characters, characters who would represent regular kids.
In addition to winning over a huge fan base, Cleary is the winner of many honors and awards, including being named a “Library of Congress Living Legend”, and receiving the prestigious Newbery Medal, she even has a K-8th grade school in Portland named after her.
If I had to guess how many of Beverly Cleary’s books I own, I would say, “All of them!” So, like a good librarian I did a quick search and found out that Cleary has written over 40 works. Okay, so I don’t own ALL of her books, (I only own 15), mostly those in her “Ramona” series.
Although the last one was written in 1999, Cleary’s Ramona books have lasting appeal for children. Perhaps that is why they have sold in more than 20 different languages in 20 plus countries. Cleary says, "In 50 years the world has changed, especially for kids, but kids' needs haven't changed. They still need to feel safe, be close to their families, like their teachers and have friends to play with." Well said, and oh so true, as we well know being in the biz of early literacy, children’s programming and early childhood development.
In one of Cleary’s popular books, Ramona Quimby, Age 8, the concept of DEAR (“Drop Everything And Read”), was introduced. In this 1981 book Ramona and her classmates were given class time to stop what they were doing and read silently to themselves. This delighted Ramona, although she thought that “Sustained Silent Reading” sounded more grown-up than DEAR. If you are interested in the concept of DEAR visit the website www.dropeverythingandread.com.
Thanks so much Beverly Cleary for all you have done for the readers, librarians, parents, teachers and citizens of this world! Now, don’t you think it’s DEAR time! So, get on with it and thank Beverly Cleary while you are at it.
Thank you to Linda Annable at Newport for this great post! - CSD
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